Bee Stings & Diaries

The world of transition continues, as I find myself completing the move into a new space. With every move seems to come this wild opportunity to crack open some yearbooks, or maybe a photo album or two. Although I have moved some 12 times in the last 10 years, I have resisted the urge to embark on the trip down memory lane, but this time my bright blue and purple diary emerged. I found myself a chair (the closest one actually) and immediately was taken on a wild ride, of pain, struggle, tears, distraction, and chaos.

It was clear there were some big emotions on the pages of. Some may ask who or why or what was such a big deal to be so upset about? I will not get into the details because the reality is what “it” was, is not important, what I was feeling was. I know I am not the only child in the world who thought their world was crumbling and no one was around to notice. In fact, I believe this happens more than we think. That somehow because we are “just kids” life is supposed to roll of our back and we brush it off and move on. This often isn’t the case, in fact children are more prone to feel the emotional effects of their experience than adults are. Our adulthood allows us to master more strategies to avoid and deflect what we are feeling due to the intelligence of our cognitive brain.

As I sat reading my diary I was thrown back into the turbulence of my childhood. Something triggered my brain and all of a sudden every emotion that I felt then was right there, swarming my entire body and being. As I read the words on the pages I noticed the inability at the time it was written to ride with these tides of intense feelings. I had little to no skill to undertake my experience, leaving me a 4th grader who felt hopeless, scared, and overwhelmed.

I would like to share an excerpt from my diary, but due to the intense nature will just say there are many suggestions of ending my life, and emotional overwhelm. It is clear I was overtaken by my feelings, to such an extreme that I perceived the only option would be to end my life.

This week I have been stung by three bees. Most bee stings consecutively in my entire life. The first one I screamed, cried, and iced it for a whole evening. The second, screamed, got angry, and iced it for an hour. The third, used a few swear words, iced it for 10 minutes, and moved on with my life. I use this not to deflect from the intensity of the content before, but rather an analogy for how we process emotional experiences, pain, and suffering.

I think of this time of my life like a bee sting. I was stung and no one showed me what to do. Rather, I was being stung, over and over and over again and I cried, screamed, and was told “it’s just a bee sting.” Not for any wrong doing on my caretakers or those around me, but they were on their 4th, 5th or 6th sting and it was “just a bee sting” to them.

I say this as a message to the relativity of our experience and as a message to my 4th grade self. When you are stung for the first time it hurts…let it hurt, feel what you need to feel, allow the wave to run through you. The second time will be easier than the first (I promise) if you allow the same to take place and so on and so forth with the third, fourth, and fifth. Regardless of age, there are many of us who are on our first sting. It is not your responsibility to give them what they need, to make it stop or to go away, but rather allow them to let it sting. Allow them to prove to themselves they can handle it and that you will be there regardless of their expression.

I have grown and changed a lot from that 4th grader and am proud of myself for making it through. She is certainly still in there and I am here for her, letting her ride her waves of bee stings. Letting her have her experience and telling her she can handle it. I know there will be many more experiences like this ahead and I am honoring them as they allow me to be stronger, more emotionally tolerant, and grateful for the opportunity in these moments to learn and grow. It’s not “just” a bee sting after all, it’s an opportunity to support ourselves in the pain, the suffering and the magic of it all.

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