Time’s loudly ringing up another year to stack against my name – with a whole lot of internal ‘house-cleaning’ happening in the lead up. All of which is good though not exactly easy. In the words of Van Morrison: ‘well my momma told me: there’d be days like this…’
Most of the stuff is of a highly emotional ilk, sh*t I’ve managed to keep buried in black holes of desperate forgetting for almost 20 years. Certain events I dug graves in my memory for, 6 feet deep and ‘em old bones are starting to rattle and dance. My body remembers in flashes – anxiety suddenly hijacks my senses, my heart races, my lungs cave in, skin literally crawls. I feel trapped, incarcerated and powerless as though something (someone) is clamping me down. I know it’s a ghost I’ve tried so long to run from. The psyche is a strange thing: I’ve spent years trying to unlock a lost night, terrified of the truth but desperate to see it, know it. I’ve haven’t been ready so my mind and body conspired to keep me blind, to keep me safe until I was in a place that would support the horror and ensuing sadness. In the long years of therapy I’ve stated my desire, nay my need to know what happened and the wise, gentle woman before me promised when I was ready to handle the truth, I’d remember.
I’m remembering. Not so much in my mind as a visceral, body memory – a sensory flashback. In jagged shards and broken pieces, like glass. But I know what I’ve needed to know. I know why I’ve battled to trust those closest to me, I know where I learnt to lie. The overwhelming feeling is one of sadness – I was so ‘little’ and so utterly alone. There was no one to turn to, no one to tell. And I had to go on pretending for years that everything was ok. To protect the very person who had not protected me. I’ve cried so much this week. Cried for that younger me who was lost, hurt and alone. Who felt it was ‘her fault’, who blamed and punished herself, who kept feeling like she deserved cruelty and pain, who couldn’t allow herself to be loved because she couldn’t love herself.
Decades of unshed tears spill out in wracking sobs or leak a silent stream. My eyes shine with redness and so much moisture. But I’m doing ok. I’m centred enough to see these memories as part of my past, separate from where I at the moment. Here I am loved, safe enough within myself to look back. But my heart aches for me-then. I wish I’d had a gentleman/boy as an older brother beside me then. I didn’t. I was exposed to scared, broken and bullied men who only knew how to do the same. But that’s ok, it’s made me who I am today: it’s made me strong. It’s made me gentle and compassionate. For a long time, it made me distrustful, brittle, angry, scared and defensive – a human porcupine with bristling quills warning everyone to “keep back! keep away! leave me alone!” desperate to protect a scarlet heart with a massive wound. Like any animal in pain, I chased away many good people who were genuinely trying to help me heal – just it hurt so bad I didn’t see it was safe to let them close enough to help. Time and experience have taught me there’s a difference between then and now – I’m seeing more clearly now (the rains are going…)
There’s no real point to today’s post other than this: we’re all broken creatures struggling to get our sh*t together and mend our broken hearts. And that’s ok. We keep doing what we need to do until we learn to do something different. The people who hurt us (as we, in our brokenness, inevitably hurt others) are just as scared and sore as we are. They’re aren’t bad, just broken. Like the rest of us. Yup, Gary Jules, ‘it’s a mad world’. We will all make mistakes while we learn (my own behaviour, at times, has been reprehensible). But each day we learn. And our actions change: slowly they become more loving, gentle and compassionate. As we become patient and accepting of ourselves, we treat other people with greater care and respect. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s love…