Ok, I may be beating this analogy to death…
In my ongoing work about re-entry, I am wondering exactly what Navy would show up in my life? If I can say any thing with confidence, I am not a person who engenders the aide of others. I am not needy. And I do not often ask for help. So the Navy is a concept that has been and continues to be fairly absent in my life.
Today, my “Navy” is my mom, my sponsor and Maria. They are the people who assist me, help me and probably far too often rescue me. I have just splashed down, and they are there steering the ship in my direction, circling me, ready to hoist me into the life boat. And I am immensely grateful.
It would be and is a stretch to call three people an entire Navy…They tend to feel more like a close-by fishing vessel whose job it is to do something other than fish my newly re-entered ass out of the water. But, being fantastic citizens of life, they are always ready and willing to be of service to those about them, which would include me on occasion.
I am sure there are others that I could place on the small “Navy” vessel that comes to my aide but not really. There are people, friends, that I call for support, emotional support. But there are few, if any, that I call for actual physical-showup and save me rescuing. And I am not sure I have a good reason why…
In person often feels too intimate. It feels too close. It feels like too much of an ask to me. I prefer to handle the heavy shit myself and rarely put myself in a place where I need rescuing. And I think that I have to own that the concept of aide from another is a concept that I battle, not just struggle with. I do not need help, or at least that is my party line. I am not even sure how accurate it is for me…Perhaps I need quite a lot of help but just have no actual mechanism to request said help.
My splash down would never be aired on TV and I would insist that the Navy be used for more important purposes than pulling me from the water after my hard re-entry. This is just my truth. It would be more in line with how I live my life to have arranged a small, safe, reliable fishing vessel to pull me from the water and take me to shore. No fanfare. No press. No bylines in newspapers. I am just returned, and for the most part, I doubt anyone much even noticed I was gone.
I am sure to some this sounds like self pity and I will admit perhaps there is some of that there. But more to my point, I am trying to figure out how and why I cannot and would not ever allow the Navy to show up. How did I get to be 51 years old and still have this idea that I have to handle everything myself? Insufferable self reliance is the answer. It is the call that will always and forever block any S.O.S call I might think of placing.
I write all of this not to engender pity or calls from friends insisting that they are there for me, it is, instead, me holding me accountable for my lack of more of a Navy in my life. My hardship with joining organizations, becoming a member in good stead is an issue that highly contributes to my lack of feeling like I have any Navy that would show up to fish me from my icy waters after a hard re-entry…
Instead I am owning here that regardless of the vessel that picks me up, I seem content, or at least resigned, to the fact, the simple acceptance, that I appear hell bent on thanking the “Navy” whoever they might be, getting a cup of coffee and blanket and returning to the deck alone. To sit and marvel at how very much I appreciate the assistance. And at the same time, feel completely inept to access the grace that surrounds me.
For a long time in my life, I felt like there was no one that cared enough. It was a hard day when I realized that more than I lacked people who cared, I lacked a real, honest willingness to let anyone close enough to feel helped. To really appreciate those brave enough to come close to my fiery edges. And that feeling remains.
So to move this analogy to its end, I have been plucked from the waters after my splash down. My tiny but well intentioned and loving Navy, circling me and steering me back to safety and dry land. And I can own, that despite my honest and true deep feeling of appreciation, all I really want to do, is to stand on the deck alone and contemplate my aloneness. Shrouded in my blanket, drinking coffee and searching the sky for meaning, substance and a path forward that is alterable. Perhaps finally able to admit that more than I have lacked a Navy, I have lacked a willingness to accept help. And at 51, I think I am finally ok with that. If I am forever this person who feels alone despite being surrounded by good people who care, that is just going to have to be ok. It seems to matter not to those about me, so why, why should I continue to use this default setting, this perhaps trauma response, as another avenue with which to beat myself about myself.
Perhaps this whole analogy has been to show me that despite things not being perfect, ok is good. Ok, is actually better than good. I can be grateful that I am no longer the person that splashed down and now has to swim to shore all by herself. Today, I can and will celebrate that I have the concept of a Navy in my life at all. And even when I stand alone on the deck of my rescue vessel, that is light years away from how and who I used to be because I have learned to be both my own Navy and a part of something that is closer to belonging. And while the deck may be small on that fishing vessel, I am warmed knowing that those who cared enough to show up as well as those I was too unneedy to even let know I was landing, I, today, can and do feel the love. I feel the support even while I stand alone. I feel it from the steadfast three and I feel it from the many, many loving friends that I often keep at arm’s length. Today, I do feel and that is different. I am not full of self pity and loathing. Today, I can accept my entire situation in a way and manner that I have previously been unable. And that is what I am going to claim as progress. Sometimes, progress is having any Navy at all. And sometimes, progress looks like me standing on the deck, shrouded in blanket and coffee aroma, eyes closed, being grateful to have all the very many people to call, even when I don’t actually call. Sometimes, progress is just getting closer to who you really are without feeling like it needs to be changed or altered. And acceptance can leave you standing on the cold deck of life alone, while not feeling lonely at all.