I filed for divorce this month. I was about to add “finally,” but the truth is that these things take time, as I’m sure many of you know. There are papers to fill out, photos to tear, and drawers to empty. I’m starting to feel ready to talk about it.
Some of it.
The past few years have been both extraordinarily painful and extremely empowering; my heart has broken just as much as it’s come back together—stronger each time, another layer of Queen Shit slathered across the organ, a glimmer of goddess with every wound healed.
I’ve learned so much about myself and how I want to show up in the world. I’m still figuring out what that looks like for me, but I know it’s a space bigger than that which I’ve been accustomed. There have been so many opportunities for expansion through this process, so many chances to learn how to be in my power, protect my energy, and practice gratitude when I felt anything but grateful.
Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons I learned is that all of the pain that was inflicted upon me wasn’t actually about me. I was in the blast radius, simply by default. I held space for those blasts. I processed them. I’ve (mostly) moved through them.
As a result, I’m more empathetic now than I’d ever imagined possible.
What I’ve ultimately learned is that we will love and trust at least a handful of people throughout our lives, stand naked before them—body and soul—and eventually, some of them are going to disappoint the shit out of us. I hope that this happens to you with limited frequency, but it will happen nonetheless.
They’ll hurt you because they’re hurt. They’ll break you because they’re broken.
They’ll lie to you because they’re not honest with themselves.
They’ll manipulate you because it’s the only way they know how to get what they think they need.
The human condition is deeply flawed, and, out of pure desperation, a malnourished soul will steal sustenance from yours because it knows of no other way to survive.
DARLING, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
Most often, those who inflict pain on others are experiencing a mountain of their own—their perspective and actions are rooted in suffering that has nothing to do with you. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re immune to their blast, especially if we’re within the radius. Suffering is still suffering, whether or not it’s earned.
But it does mean we have to learn to simultaneously practice compassion AND extreme energetic boundaries. We can honor and validate our own pain while recognizing that it has nothing to do with us. We can be in that blast radius and choose to reject the debris that comes our way. Not our blast. Not our poison.
There’s an understandable fear and hesitation in practicing empathy towards those who hurt us: are we excusing their behavior? Are we saying it’s okay for hurt people to hurt people because they’re hurt people? Are we invalidating our own pain if we choose this perspective? I get that. It makes sense, on the surface.
But ultimately, this kind of empathy will only serve us, as it allows us the space to move past shame, blame, and attachment—and into healing and expansion. Acknowledging that it’s not about you isn’t letting them off the hook—it let’s you off the hook. It keeps you from attaching to a narrative that steals your ability to move forward and exist in the present.
By affirming that it’s not about us, we set ourselves free.
The truth is that everyone is living according to their own narrative, and some of those narratives cause harm. Unpack and unravel those narratives in order to grant yourself freedom. Protect your energy. Practice empathy. Lead with compassion.
AND IF THE SITUATION CALLS FOR IT, HAVE THE COURAGE TO CUT THE MOTHERFUCKERS OUT.
Because sometimes the most compassionate thing we can do is throw up some deuces and walk out the damn door.