Today I've woken up to find I'm a stranger to myself. I have the same body - the same arms, the same legs, the same face - but I'm a stranger inside. I'm a different person from the Mel I knew yesterday - today I simply don't know who I am, but that's no bad thing. You see, it's been another of those life-changing weeks... well, actually, the past few weeks have all had something pretty big happening to be fair. This one, though, well it heralds the end of another chapter and the beginning of a new route. Two major events have prompted me to reconsider where I'm at and where I'm going.
The first was earlier on in the week in Scotland. Because I saw him. Yes, him, my estranged husband. The person who prompted me to start this blog in the first place. He didn't see me, but I saw him. From a distance, but it was him. The last time I saw him was in April last year when I dropped him off at the airport. At that time I had no idea what I was dealing with, and we had parted with an embrace, a wave and a "See you at the end of the week!" Just three days later I discovered the truth, and I have neither seen or spoken with him since.
So, whilst in the town where he is still living, I was a tad nervous about bumping in to him. But I had no need to worry. Chance had decided that our paths wouldn't cross - and so I plucked up the courage to make my own luck and seek him out for myself. I knew it was just something I had to do. Something that would help to heal one more part of the pain. I had no idea how I might feel, or what reaction I might have to seeing him - so I made certain to keep my distance from the place I knew I'd find him. And there he was. I saw him.
The intensity of my response took me quite by surprise. The white flame of passion roared loudly as it coursed through my body. Starting at my solar plexus, and shooting skyward with such an extreme force it nearly knocked me off my feet. So what was this passion that so quickly overtook me from nowhere? Love? Pain? Fear? No. It was something I've never quite felt on that level before. It was fury - pure, white fury that burned right through me with the intensity and speed of a magnesium flame. The shock of it made me stand up straight and tall, catching my breath as the heat of it burned away more of the old scars that I've been holding on to. I was both rooted to the spot and also shooting up to the sky. Quite extraordinary. And that was it. That was all I had needed to do. Nothing more, nothing less. So I walked away. And, as with many other deeply emotional experiences this year, Simon was right by my side.
Which leads me nicely on to the second major event of the week - much more recent, and much more raw, this one also came from nowhere and has rocked my world with more intensity than I had expected.
Simon and I have broken off our relationship and returned to being friends - deeply connected friends, but just friends. We knew from the start that our relationship was based on a long-term friendship, and have always only committed to total honesty with each other - nothing more, nothing less. And through this honest and loving relationship, we have both grown. But the realisation came that we were not ready to continue the way we have been heading - a case of too much too soon, with far too much healing still needed. A good thing. A wise decision. The best way forward. So that, in itself, is no surprise - not really.
No, the surprise this time is the roar of conscious awakening that is coursing through my soul. It's ferocity is really quite overwhelming - and once again I can feel myself being released from yet another burden. And yet I'm sad. Very sad. But the tears I'm crying are not for the breakup of a relationship. No, they're to do with something much deeper than that - although I can't quite put my finger on it. Then again, it doesn't matter. I've learned this lesson over the past 18 months or so. Emotions are not logical - and it rarely makes any difference to trace back to their origin. In fact often that approach can be damaging. So instead I'm just letting them come and I'm breathing through them, knowing this is just another stepping stone along the pathway of my wonderfully colourful life.
I have learned this week about keeping my boundaries. About standing up for myself. About speaking up when something isn't right. And I've also learned that, despite myself, I have been pretty lax about keeping my boundaries clear. Too focused on healing the world rather than looking after myself. Too swift to brush aside small things that have upset me, rather than stand strong and face them. Too willing to believe I'm strong enough to take on the world. Because you see I'm not - and why on earth should I be? Who said I had to be super-human? Nobody else but me. And today I've realised that I don't need to be super-human, and nor do I want to be any more.
No. I am little old me. Mel Carnegie. A 45 year old mother who's already experienced a pretty extraordinary life, and who intends to continue living with passion and authenticity - whatever happens. And so that's why today I am a stranger. I'm waking up to a new identity. Reaching within myself with honesty and kindness to discover a wealth of quiet areas I can explore. Being gentle on myself, and looking after myself - because if I don't, then how in the world can I expect anybody else to do the same?