The Return of Saturn: A Reflection on my 28th year.

I’m 29.
I’m letting that sink in for a moment.
I’m 29.
I made it a year longer than I thought I would.

It’s said that every 28 years, the planet Saturn completes its journey around the sun, and comes home to begin a new.  And in this time, certain phases in life come to completion, regardless of what you’re in the middle of.  

I was in the middle of loving a man.  I was in the middle of destroying myself.  I was in the middle of accepting that I wasn’t meant to be great, that starting a family was meaningless, and that I should just accept the fact that no matter what I did to feel successful, something was going to tear it down.

Everything I spent my time building in the last 10 years, is gone.  All I’m left with is the foundation of a house destroyed by the fires of truth.

In all honesty, I could feel it coming.  Like a shift in the wind, or a faint smell of smoke, my inner guide stirred restlessly for months.  I had an idea of what was going to be asked of me, and what I had to do to prepare, yet was still naive as to how much desolation the winds of change would bring, like a silent, scentless poison creeping in as a thick fog to suffocate all in its wake.

I was prepared for what I needed to do, action wise.  I made sure the rations of self love were stocked and that my support system was stable enough to catch me as I fell, should I lose my grip.  I focused on staying busy through projects, and reading, and core development.  But it wasn’t enough to soften the emotional blow of being stripped to the core.

I had to leave him.  I had to leave someone I loved and wanted.  I had to leave because even though I know he meant it when he said he loved me, his actions screamed the truth of how little value he placed on that love.  I had to leave because I had completed the lessons he had to teach me.  I had to leave because facing the unknown with the intention of receiving and building something better, is better than placing the cards of my future on a man who was throwing them in the fire to cover up the traces I left in his life.  I had to leave, because I had to choose myself.

That love had entwined itself in my flesh, and had wrapped itself around the core of what I believed gave me value.  The vines of it were filled with razor sharp thorns that dug into my bones and slowly dripped venom into the arteries that supplied my desire to live.  His love wasn’t meant to withstand the challenges I asked of it, yet it consumed me.  My will to survive was dependent on how much of it I had, and sometimes I had nothing.

Leaving meant pushing through the agonizing pain of emotionally tearing my body away, hearing the sound of my own screaming echoing into the stillness his absence created.  I attempted to stop the bleeding to delay the onset of death, just long enough so I could begin healing.  I held the sterile white bandages against myself while wordlessly staring at the carnage left hanging, its ominous swaying an invitation to come back.

The journey of healing is gruesome.  Between bouts of drowsy, shallow conversation would come violent fevers of grief, and I would excuse myself from duties to collapse into the damp, dark pain of my existence.  Reading to improve my mindset and well being proved too much, and I dwelled in the waves of inadequacy, begging for some relief from the sting of their strength lapping against me.

The welcome reprieve of escapism held out its arms in a loving embrace, and I flung myself face first into the soft warmth of imagination.  I found that dreaming of a better future, a better me, a better man, and a better life, and dancing through hallucinations of a future that I’ll never have, to be the best self consolation.  While I changed my emotional bandages and monitored the wounds for infection, I held the hand of a dream and begged it to look at me.

I begged it to breathe life into the lungs of my self esteem, and gripped onto it to keep from being pulled into the void that softly called my name.  The soft calls sang promises of peace, and of an end to all the suffering, and I began to learn the lyrics.

The ties that I built in both friendships and family have been what have kept me from slipping under the surface.  When I woke from dreaming, it was like looking at myself in the mirror, and seeing the damage for the first time, from a different angle.  Now, it’s more of a point of figuring out how to create a new beauty on top of the scars, and believing that what had existed before is still there.  It’s figuring out how to build new tissue from love instead of rigid perfection, and being able to fill the void with the richness of living, instead of the sweet escape of trading my mortality for inescapable quiet.

Healing and rebuilding means discovering the inherent value hidden within the depths of what is “me”, and what has been beneath the surface of the world’s lies.  It’s discovering the depths of my gift of loving others, and my capacity to provide their lives with value, by merely being.  It’s uncovering the love buried by years of loneliness and the guilted self flagellation of imperfection, to reveal that only those who are in pain, inflict pain onto others.

I’ve had to accept that I wasn’t put on this earth to be the prettiest, or have the nicest body, or be the smartest, the richest, or the most successful.  I had to let go of the belief that there’s no power to be had in raising children, and that success in career was more important than success in relationships.  I had to give up the idea that I can accomplish everything on my own, and that I didn’t need anyone.  And most of all, I had to accept that I am worthy of love, even though I’m not where I want to be, and that I have to love myself through the journey, and not just at the end.

So I’ve begun rebuilding from stronger, healthier materials, and with a prettier, more whimsical floor plan.  I’ve embraced my own inherent femininity in place of the toxic masculine rejection of softness, and have let go of control to embrace the good that’s been softly standing outside my door, listening to my shrieks and wails rattling from within.  I’ve embraced the maybe, which vibrates with excitement at all the possibilities it can bring, and have laid out a welcome mat to the dreams I sought comfort in.

So when I’m asked how I’m doing, the answer is, “I’m healing.”
Because 28 took a chunk out of me, and I consistently have to make adjustments and find things to fill the aching void.  I have to provide myself with enough love to fill, so that any more that comes my way becomes my garden of flowers, and not a handful of sand tossed in bereavement.

I’m ok with enjoying life and simply existing for the pleasures of it, instead of drilling every day to the ground in “accomplishment”.  It’s ok to add pictures, color, and feeling back into my life.  It’s ok to put down profit margins, and to do lists, and pick up a new game or take the time to curl my hair.  It’s ok to exist without accomplishing anything other than that existence, and find happiness for the pure satisfaction of the feeling it brings.  

Nothing is more important than the relationships we are a part of, and I can find my value in what I bring to those relationships.  

The biggest lesson I took from 28 was that I am valuable because I am loved, by myself and by others, and that I’m needed by them, more than I am by the void still whispering lies to me.