By Kim Pevia, Women Advance Board Member
“If you break down, I’ll drive out and find you.
If you forget our love, I’ll try to remind you.
Stay by you, when it don’t come easy.
When it don’t come easy.”
Sitting on a beach in Ft Lauderdale, this song bubbled up from my soul. It is a song my best friend Bill and I have sung to each other for the more than a decade since we heard it sung by Melissa Etheridge along with its writer Patty Griffin. But this time, I wasn’t singing it to Bill, I was singing it to my Self, the one that I had left behind, the one that I had lost; sacrificed to become the woman I am.
Who is the woman I left behind? I would probably offer something like…
She lived in sunny south Florida and loved it.
Not as confident, not as skilled.
She took greater self –care.
Not engaged in community work or the greater world.
Enjoyed her life but not soul fulfilled.
Who have I become?
She lives in Robeson County NC, home of her people –The Lumbee and is home.
Much more confident.
More authentic and vulnerable in many ways.
Immersed in community work.
Work is fulfilling, life is lonely.
Perhaps a martyr.
I have felt torn for some time now and was feeling resigned, stuck. Somehow having to choose. It was like watching two children locked in disagreement, arms crossed and backs towards each other in defiance. And then they turned towards each other. The part of me that used to take care of her Self whispered to the part of me that has become a martyr that I, too, matter. The part of that is more confident waved a grateful goodbye to the one who lacked it. The wounded me being healed by the part of me that found healing in coming home.
Basking in the sun, watching its reflection on the water in that very familiar place, I felt some shackles that I had placed on myself fall away, as I allowed myself to be nourished by stillness, nature, alone-ness, the Creator, my wholeness. Tears pooled and ran down my face, cooling it as I breathed in more deeply to welcome home the part of me that not only cares for everyone else, but who also cares for herself.
From that wholeness, the messiness and sometimes paradox of it all, I could see new possibility. A chance to reinvent myself, in a way that honors and gives from my wholeness.
For me, that looks like more time in Florida to feed my soul, to make money in an environment that can support it and to make NC where I do my heart work and also take respite.
It is beautiful to watch the reunion with the part of me that I left behind. I am more whole when I engage both. Each bring parts to my life that are absent in the other and I need both to be whole. No longer either/or but now both/and. “Stay by you, when it don’t come easy”.
K.A.P. Inner Prizes
Developing internal awareness for improved external outcomes.