Fortune Out of Unfortunate Events
I've known about my empathy since I was twelve. I may not have known the term, but I was very much aware of my abilities. I would dream of disasters as they were happening. I could sense when those I loved were about to go through something rough. I would see demons/negative spirits basically anywhere I went. Most of my experiences were very negative or frightening, but I was cool as a cucumber throughout my adolescence. I was a wonderful listener, a shoulder to lean on, someone who always tried to make people smile. I would show off some of my abilities throughout middle school and high school, becoming known as the high school "mystic." I was innocent, kind, and very in-tune with the emotions and thoughts of everyone around me.
The big thing here is that I kept it all secret from my family and home-community.
I was raised in a more radical Christian community. I am Romanian and was born in America a day after my parents arrived in Arizona -- escaping communism in Romania. I say radical now, but my whole life, I never thought of it that way.
I did what the other girls my age were doing, when it came to church. I was at church twice every Sunday, once on Wednesday, Thursday, and sometimes Tuesday. My uncle is head of the Romanian Pentecostals of America, so he's basically the big kahuna. Everything I did seemed to have extra eyes watching because I had a reputation to keep up for my family.
When I was twelve, my dreams of demons and hell that started when I was somewhere younger than 7 entered reality. I was seeing things everywhere I went. I was "talking" to spirits. I was having premonitions. It came to a point where I was really seeking support so I told my parents that I was seeing things. They told my uncle who made a prayer request in my name, and I spent the next couple years being ridiculed by my fellow churchgoers. I felt like it was the biggest mistake of my life. I drew deeper into myself. I would get home from school and lock myself in my room and spend hours in my own mind as I watched the flame of a candle flicker, or the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling go in and out of focus. I wasn't just spacing out -- I was getting to know myself. I was listening to and feeling the presence of the spirits around me and really tuning into the universe. I would have conversations with God/the Universe, and more often than not, I would go to sleep completely at peace, regardless of all the dark I was experiencing.
Since church wasn't helping, I turned to the one thing that had immediate answers -- the occult. I was reading oracle cards, though I avoided tarot cards because I felt they pulled from negative "forces" rather than positive. I was reading books on Celtic magic because for some reason, I was always especially drawn to the Celtic heritage -- though I'm Romanian. Hiraeth is one sense I am most familiar with and it always comes when I see or hear anything having to do with the Celts. I sometimes wonder if I was a Celtic priestess in a past life or something.
Throughout all of my self-discovery and years of enlightenment, I was inundated with severe guilt. There I was, a Christian, related to the big guy in America, and I was doing what they would deem witchcraft. How could I call myself a Christian while doing this?
When I was 17, I met a Romanian man who showed interest in me. I was 17...at the age that most in the church were expecting me to get married soon. Most girls in the church are getting married between the ages of 18 and 20, and if they are single longer than that, parents start worrying (Think "My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding).
All of my guilt, mixed with the expectations of marriage, was the beginning of the end of my "supernatural" experiences. I was married a year and a week after meeting this man and took up the life of a Romanian stay at home mom. Though experiences didn't come to a screeching halt, they did stop for the most part. I stopped seeing faces every time I closed my eyes. Premonitions were extremely rare.
The marriage turned sour almost immediately, but I made a vow and would hold my end of it. I worked really hard to keep my husband happy. I sacrificed my friendships, my writing(my one thing I would do for my own self-release and comfort), I tried to be the Romanian wife and mother I was expected to be. Husband was very difficult to keep happy, though. He was a narcissist and that's basically the worst companion for an empath and, unfortunately, the type of person empaths are most drawn to.
I sacrificed so much of myself that I lost most of myself. I was so drained all the time...drained, and then had negativity thrust on me almost every day. This drainage manifested into physical illnesses.
Stomach and intestinal ulcers turned into bleeding ulcers.
Heart palpitations and chest pain.
And so much more...
My blood eventually had the consistency of molasses and I was warned on two different occasions, 6 years apart, of the likelihood of a stroke. I had a "warning stroke" when I was around 21 or 22. Two doctors pressed me to leave my husband, but I resisted. I couldn't do that. My actions would be judged most harshly because of my family. I wouldn't be able to support myself...I never finished college because I had no support and was raising kids and running a house essentially by myself...and I still wasn't doing it "good enough."
I was literally killing myself by staying in a relationship where the man couldn't change, but demanded I give up even more of myself for him. But there was nothing left to give up. He had my material possessions, control over my emotions, control over my actions. I had nothing else to give and through that emptiness and consistent attacks on my psyche, my body created an auto immune disease, which I just now have finally been diagnosed with.
I told myself for years that it was my own fault. I wasn't doing my job well enough. I was trying to make "me time" when I wasn't supposed to have "me time." I was trying to hold onto my identity when my community told me, "you're a wife and mother now. Your identity is your family." I had times when I tried to start writing again, against my husband's wishes.
I spent a massive amount of time in my life stripping away what I could, giving it to someone who could never have enough -- right down to the point of stripping away my own body. My hair and skin flaked away -- psoriasis. My eyes were glazed with exhaustion and defeat. Adrenal exhaustion. Blood was leaving my body through any exit it could find. Ulcers.
Almost eleven years of psychological abuse and neglect later, I had enough. I left.
Since then, I have found someone else. Someone I didn't think could possibly exist. We had an entire continent between us and only the internet and phone to stay outwardly connected. But the connection we had inwardly was incredible. He would have visions of what I was doing and how I felt. Typically at times when I was lonely or scared. We could sense when the other was holding our tongue on a topic we didn't think we could handle talking about, and we'd be able to push and support each other as we opened up about it. It was a connection I had fantasized of having with someone since I was a kid, but assumed it was only in stories.
He is in almost every way the male version of me. We think the same, have had several almost identical experiences, the same goals and values in life, even the same parenting style. He does not drain me in any sense of the word, but instead, he fills me with positivity and hope. I enjoy every day, night, and the time in between. He's helped me rebuild myself from what I thought I lost through my marriage. I'm me again and I love life again.
What I lost in my physical body, I have slowly regained as this man has supported me and loved me. What hair I lost, grew back. What palpitations ruled the hours of my day have disappeared. I sleep and I dream good things. I laugh every day and feel completely energized on a spiritual level -- more than I ever have.
It's amazing what life throws at people for them to grow. I spent most of my life resisting the question of "why?" I didn't feel I had the right to question God/the Universe, but the past 2 years are now laid out in front of my mind's eye, and I can see just how things in life led up to this phase in my life. The Universe was thrown into the air and settled around me like morning dew on grass and everything is just sparkling with life and potential now. With purpose.
I'm a good mom. I was a good wife, and will be one day again, I'm sure. I have no grudges against anyone. Not my church who stopped supporting me when I left. Not my family who only now is starting to show vague flitters of thought toward me and my health and happiness. Not my ex husband who I hope will find someone who he can fulfill and be fulfilled with. I know who I am and I know the Universe is with me as it always has been.
Life is a journey, and mine has only just begun.