We are all experiencing the enemy of this pandemic. That word, enemy, ignited a deep conversation during our women’s GROUP. How do I know if I have an ENEMY? These women gave me permission to share their stories:
A woman in her 60’s shared that she hasn’t thought about having an enemy in her circle since she got married to a man that another woman pined to catch. Forty years ago, that enemy gave her sleepless nights and binging. She added, “I still have nights of sleeplessness and binging but now it is from Covid-19. I need some daily practices for my ANXIETY and loneliness. This is the first time in years that I have been so slowed down due to Covid-19. I had no idea how much time I spend in my HEAD, and not feeling. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t pause to learn more about my needs. Now I am.”
Another woman said for sure she knows she has an enemy. A man, who wanted his way, didn’t get it, bad mouthed her to the one person whose respect she chased since age 9, her father. “Your daughter is not a candidate for hiring. She is unskilled.” My father believed HIM over me. The pain from that enemy, over time, and therapy, helped me let go of chasing my dad’s approval. Of course, I still want him to say that he is PROUD of me, but at least that want is not CRIPPLING my life.”
Adding to the conversation, a woman around 49 said, “I am the enemy. My sister hates me. I can’t tell you how many conversations she and I have had and still a new path is not possible. Her perception of me, does not match mine. I know she talks about me back home with dark stories that for sure are untrue. I am done listening, explaining myself, saying sorry, writing her letters, sending gifts. I will probably stay the enemy. The PRICE to pay is too high to not be the enemy. Me, the enemy, discovered, I too wanted to be right. I wanted her to acknowledge what I put up with. More than all that, I just wanted her to let it go, see we have different PERCEPTIONS, and get to know me for who I am today.”
A mother’s share: I can’t seem to comprehend why my kids forget about me. Forget about me, meaning not thinking what I would like. Enemy, this sounds terrible, but the way they treat me I feel like they are the enemy. They cause me such sadness. I feel TRAPPED. I want them in my life. When I think about some choices I could have, I come back to it is not worth the sound of their ANGER on me when I do speak up. It is not worth them shutting the door on me forever. They have their partners and kids. The enemy, oh my, I just got it… is my fear of loss. Pause, long pause. She adds, the enemy is I don’t have a SHIELD to protect me from what they might say to me. I have never had a shield from deep disappointment. I shut down as a shield. Who wants to go shopping with me for a shield? Oh, we can’t shop. Shelter at home. Ok guys, there it is again. Even in my humor. I don’t know how to SHELTER myself.
Covid-19, the enemy, takes lives and leaves families and friends weeping, financially devastated, lonely, frightened, and grieving. Pleading for it not to be true, happens. Pain punches the heart, leaving bruises and longings for an OINTMENT that will speed the end of suffering. It is still INCOMPREHENSIBLE what people have lost and are still losing. My middle name is HOPE. I live that and lose it, even with this enemy of heartbreak.
Enemies. I don’t think I have any and yet, just as the other women and I chatted about, maybe we don’t know if someone can’t stand us, or feels hurt by us, or annoyed with us in unsolvable ways. How am I an ENEMY towards myself? Mostly from UNRELAISTIC expectations. That’s a conversation for our next time together. How am I an enemy towards myself? You could use that for a writing prompt today or for PONDERING on your walk.
Our time at home, sheltered, has given hallways of QUESTIONS never asked and now being paced with night-lights plugged in for fear of falling. May we each have COMFORT in knowing that no matter what, we are here for each other. You only need one or two people of LOYALTY to comfort you when the night-light breaks.
Be gentle with yourself,
Natalie Caine, M.A. email@example.com