Lately, someone has been attempting to pull me back into a dynamic that I do not wish to be pulled back into. It’s difficult to resist, and there is no reward in resistance or compliance.

…and navigating my emotions is like trying to find splashes of color in weedy undergrowth. It’s there. The color is there. But I can get trapped beneath layer upon layer of prickle, and upon emerging must set about removing the burrs.

This has all happened before. Many times over. Recurring themes are recurring. Difficult people are difficult. And it seems the most difficult people are the most persistent. But I refuse to allow the one major mistake I’ve made in my life to cause me to veer from a path of joy and appreciation for life, and especially not the joy and appreciation for the lives that were the fruit of that one major mistake.

This is all very difficult for me, though. When there is someone in my life insisting emphatically that I am very much the kind of person that I wish not to be. That I am unfair, untrustworthy, mean, a bad parent…regardless of evidence to the contrary, it’s difficult not to listen. Particularly because all I’ve ever wanted in life is to be fair, trustworthy, and nice (which hopefully leads to being a good parent.) Warding off statements to the contrary by my own will is contrary to my nature, as part of being fair, trustworthy, and nice includes listening to others when they tell you your behavior is causing pain or anger.

When confronted with this, I’m forced to remember what makes the person providing this feedback untrustworthy…which is almost more painful than just accepting the criticisms being levied.

I’m also forced to narrow my expectations of appreciation for life. When generally I feel pretty joyful most of the time, and ridiculously simple things inspire long-lasting happiness, in these times I look for small moments. I’m neither an adherent of the principles of AA, nor a religious person, but “one day at a time” can become “one hour at a time” or even “one moment at a time.”

So it is that I am here, carefully picking out stepping stones to support me as I cross this river of familiar frustration and pain. Helicopter arms fully deployed. Trying not to be blinded by the flashes of sunlight reflecting off of the water.

I’ll be alright. I’m already alright. I know I’ll reach the other side eventually. And I’ll try not to think about the next river I will no doubt need to ford once I get there.