Fen Druadìn's Blog
Healing Is Fucking Hard

Healing Is Fucking Hard

Look, I don’t know how to say this in a way that hasn’t already been said a thousand times, but I need to say it anyway.

Healing is fucking hard.

I wish, for your sake and mine, that it were all about showing up and letting someone else pull oracle cards and shake rattles and move her hands in hypnotizing motions until all the fear and grief and resentment and jealousy and anger and every little bit of shadow self just falls gracefully away from you, leaving you pure and healed and whole.

But it fucking doesn’t work like that.

Deep healing is fucking hard.

And it’s participatory–it doesn’t happen TO you. You have to DO it.

There’s a lot of tears and snot involved. Screaming sometimes. Shaking. Giving things up you thought were important. Saying things you never thought you’d say to people you love. Opening up old wounds and letting the pus boil to the surface. Re-breaking old breaks and feeling the pain you refused to feel the first time it broke.

Feeling like it will never end.

Sitting alone and feeling alone and letting yourself fucking feel alone. Saying prayers over and over a thousand times over while the shit keeps boiling to the surface.

Burying your cat, knowing her death was your fault. Having your dog put down, knowing that is your fault, too. Owning it. Feeling it. Because you can’t forgive yourself until you own the shit that needs forgiving.

Saying goodbye to your parents’ pride in you. Saying goodbye to your need for it, but not before you have cried and cried and cried and screamed and cried out your need for it.

Sitting on a hot porch watching the shadows through the sheer curtains and knowing you will spend eternity alone and alone and alone and alone for your sins. Knowing it is true, even though it is not true. Walking through that particular abyss alone and alone and alone.

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death sounds so romantic, doesn’t it? But it’s mostly shuddering alone in a bed wishing someone would put their hands in your hair and kiss your forehead and knowing they won’t because you won’t ask them to because you are too deep in your shit to poke your nose up and ask for what you need. And even if they did, you wouldn’t feel it because you are adrift, alone, endlessly alone in the void.

Then, recognizing, again, your own bullshit. Owning it. Again. Rooting it out, getting it to the surface, feeling like absolute shit at your own shittiness. Owning it aloud to people you love.

Feeling, again, like you’ve taken a thousand steps backward because it all looks like the same dark and terrible and lonely territory. Again.

Knowing that the only way out is through, and the only way through is by the force of your own Will and the grace of whatever gods you believe in enough to ask them to help you.

Most people never do this kind of healing. Most people will find something that soothes the raging beast and allows them to ignore the deep wounds they carry. They will hold themselves together for the world and privately suffer… or, more likely, privately ignore their suffering, distracting themselves with television or alcohol or sleep or endlessly scrolling social media.

They will show up in a healer’s space asking for healing, accepting the love and warmth and the fuzzy feelings they get, the easy answers to assuage their anxiety and grief. But when they’re asked to look at their bullshit, to go in and root out what’s hurting them–which is mostly themselves, after all–they get scared and decide it’s not worth it. Healing shouldn’t make you feel WORSE, should it?

But, alas, it MUST. We cannot heal what we have not looked at. We cannot heal until first we feel. And the things we must feel, often, are the wounds that inform the unconscious beliefs and behaviors that cause us to re-wound ourselves repeatedly by placing ourselves in the circumstances and head spaces that hurt us.

A couple weekends ago, I met someone I hadn’t seen in a year, since the first time we’d met.

“You look different,” he said.

“Yes,” I said.

“Not just physically… you look like a different person.”

“Yes,” I said.

Later, the same person: “You’ve lost weight since last year, too.”

“Yes,” I said.

And I don’t mean physically, though that has also happened. I put down SO. MUCH. SHIT. this summer. So much shit.

Said a Sangoma healer to me: “It’s as easy as setting down unwanted luggage at the airport. How do you do that?”

“You just set it down,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.

“But what if I need it again?” I said.

“Why do you make it so difficult?”

Why indeed.

You can’t find a stock photo to represent what I’m talking about here. Every photo available is a lie. A romanticized representation that fails to yield the truth.

Why do we make it so difficult? Fear, grief, shame, resentment, anger, jealousy, neediness, all these difficult things… we resist bringing them to the surface because they fucking hurt and it’s fucking hard to admit we have them, let alone to let ourselves feel what they feel like.

You don’t need the shit. You don’t. It’s not part of you. It’s just bullshit you picked up, or your ancestors picked up and handed to you, things other people put on you, toxic gifts you accepted without meaning to.

You can put it all down. It really is that simple.

But also that fucking hard. They’re not kidding, the poets and dreamers, when they talk about the valley of the shadow of death, the void, the darkness.

Do I look transformed to you? Do I look a thousand pounds lighter? Do I look like I’m free?

I am.

You can be too. But don’t expect the journey to look pretty.

Healing is fucking hard.

(UPDATE: I posted an update to this post here, about finding the right companions and healers to help you on your journey through the darkness.)