“You made your bed, now lay in it.”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that growing up and then as an adult from family. Whenever I made a mistake and I just needed to talk about it that was the response, “You made your bed, now lay in it”. I was being told I was on my own, at least in my mind. Especially when it came to my ex partner.

I was married for 10, unhappy years. When brain trauma from her childhood began to take its toll on her, and our marriage, I needed help and didn’t know necessarily how to ask for it. That was a serious problem I had to straighten out in prison because it was a major factor in my crime, having emotional turmoil and not knowing what to do about it or how to ask for help. Instead, all that went through my head is “You made your bed, now lay in it.”

I’ve repeated that phrase like a mantra for over 20 years. It’s never once helped. In fact, it does the opposite, it hurts. It makes me feel caged, alone and not worth helping or beyond anyone’s help- even though that may not be what is actually being implied every time. Sometimes it’s being said to remind one of taking responsibility for ones actions.

A big part of my change has been trusting my body more, my decisions. Thinking things through and really taking stock of what’s going on inside of me. Because I know that I am actively making my “bed”. Still, hearing that phrase is like losing a soccer game because I missed the goal and as I walk off the field, a little ashamed, someone I love says “You lost the game for everyone because you missed the goal”. It hurts way more than it could ever help.

But here I am nearly 40 and learning that I need to trust my decisions and my mistakes. My mistakes are the reason I improve, the reason I have such a comfortable “bed” and nearly everyone close to me does too. Because instead of me making my “bed” alone, I ask for help. It turns out much neater that way.

I’ve always known “how” to ask for help. But *when*, that was the issue. Now I know better and I know that perhaps even more important, *who*. I’ve learned to ask for help from the folks who encourage and point out how to improve, not just that I didn’t perform. That’s the person I’ve become too.

With Love
Ruth