Assets, liabilities, strengths, wounds, superpowers, and gifts — choose balance over self-destruction
Warm tears silently rolled down my icy cheeks as I counted out the thirteen hundred dollars. I knew I shouldn’t be doing it. I knew I was harming myself, allowing myself to be taken advantage of.
I felt like a fool as the officer on duty had me sign the yellow bond slip. She eyed me from the side as if I wouldn’t notice. I could only imagine what she was thinking. She knew, I thought. I could feel my cheeks flush. How embarrassing.
I gritted my teeth, though, and I did it anyway. You see, I had yet to harness control over my own innate desire for loyalty and love. Instead of me controlling it, it controlled me.
In hindsight, I didn’t even know what was driving me. At the time, I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought this desire was bad and dark and ugly — just brewing inside of me for no good reason whatsoever.
I passed three months of rent money and the sloppy yellow slip over to the officer, and I obediently obeyed her orders to have a seat. When you are bonding out criminals, law enforcement tends to treat you like a criminal. They thought I was an automatic accomplice. Really, they were right. I was. Even if I didn’t know it.
As I sat there waiting, impending doom rose from my stomach to my throat, making me queasy. It was thick, almost gagging me, but not quite. You know that feeling — right there on the edge, where you wish you could just puke to make it go away.
I swallowed hard. No puking here, unless I wanted to make a scene. And this wasn’t the place for a scene.
It was a small, frigid, empty room. There was no bathroom, not even a trash can. Nothing but a bulletproof window and a money machine. The concrete floors were as hard and cold as the faces of the others, likely awaiting the same fate as I. We would be waiting for hours.
The consequences of my unmanaged and misdirected loyalty coupled with my endless love had been destroying my life for years. But this was the first time I knew my regret before and as I did it. It was the first time I saw my fate coming. Yes, I did it anyway, this time. But there was something about going in eyes wide open that woke me up — changed me.
Sitting there for hours in morbid reflection, I came to one conclusion. I had to stop doing this. I had no name for the force behind my decisions, all I knew was that I was manufacturing my own misery and it had to stop. So, stop I would.
This was it. He would prove me right, and I would be done. Never again, I said to myself. Never, ever, again.
He did prove me right and that was the end of that. Self-defeated, I set off on my quest to squelch the flame of whatever was causing this destructive pattern. I was somewhat brokenhearted. It did hurt my feelings to be over-used, lied to, taken advantage of, fooled. But there was some liberation in my new knowing.
Little me, so naive. I was well on my way. But I did that thing I do, where I go from one extreme to the other before coming back to find the solution in the middle. I threw the baby out with the bathwater, convinced that this innate desire of mine was a ravenous demon whose only aim was to suck my spirit dry. I imagined my spirit, dry as a bone, crackling under the heat of my poor choices. I couldn’t have that. So I banished the entire entity.
It would take me years to realize that it wasn’t my innate, spiritual and instinctual desires that were so insidious and catastrophic. The problem wasn’t my reverence for loyalty and unconditional love, those were actually gifts. The problem was who I was giving those gifts to.
I was born with an innate loyalty that stretches across oceans and traverses mountains. Frankly, it is so powerful that I wouldn’t be surprised if it could part a sea. But we won’t try that, me not being Jesus and all.
My unmitigated desire for unconditional love and loyalty caused me great pain through my younger years, especially in matters of romance and intimacy. And, hey, maybe it took me a while to see the full picture, but I did see it — eventually.
I attempted to tear down many things inside of me, though, before I saw the error in my ways. I did this in the pursuit of wholeness, fulfillment and happiness. Oh, the irony of chopping ourselves up into rough-edged fragments, thinking somehow that will make us whole. Eventually, I found out that I was destroying myself in the process. Even more, it is in the most broken parts of myself — the parts I had tried to cut away — that I found my most valuable assets and my most magnificent gifts.
My desire for loyalty and unconditional love was not bad, and the fire inside of me that fueled my resolve was not what continued to burn me. In fact, that fire would prove to be my greatest asset, as soon as I figured out where its light belonged.
Pieces of us don’t seem to spend the same in the world as our whole selves.
You were not built with parts that don’t matter.
You can try to chop yourself up, force a square peg into a round hole. But it will be messy and clunky. You can clench your fists and pretend you’re a circle, if you wish, scraping your edges round and raw. For me, however, living this way was miserable and excruciatingly painful.
When we try to dismantle, silence or remove parts of ourselves to fit with the world, we risk destroying the very parts that make us who we are and throwing away our most powerful assets. We risk continued violation of our own soul, and that is a seething unbearable type of pain.
If you are trying to make yourself a circle, I invite you to consider that you are not too anything and all your edges matter, even those pointy corners. Consider that maybe, just maybe, you don’t need to remove any parts of yourself.
It is in balancing the full spectrum of our human nature that we can let all of ourselves shine through, use all of our gifts, and be the strongest, most fulfilled, and most powerful versions of ourselves.
You are not too loyal, you are just putting your loyalty in the wrong places. You are not too controlling, you just haven’t figured out the best place and time for such an earnest and tenacious characteristic. You are not too angry, you just don’t know how to hone and balance the passion inside of you, yet. You are not too emotional or too detached, you just need balance and conscious self-government — we all need that. You are not too loud or too soft or too weak or too strong. You are not too much or too little and you were not built with parts that don’t matter. It all matters, everything about you and everything in you. Don’t demolish any of it. Instead, treat it as the greatest romance of your lifetime, because that is exactly what it is.
Be curious about your superpowers, knowing that they will be found in your deepest wounds.
I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.
I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.
I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Make friends with the parts of yourself that feel tender to the touch, the parts the world doesn’t understand. Shine light on them, nurture them, and let them live alongside your fears and worries. Your fears have no chance against the whole and well-balanced version of exactly who you are.
Written by Holly Kellums