A funny thing has happened to me.
For years–my whole life, really–I kept all of my secrets. I rarely talked about what my childhood was like, or how hard it felt. When I did, I framed it in terms of my resilience…as in, Hey! All these things happened to me, but I turned out okay.
It wasn’t until almost two years ago (in three months I will have been in therapy for TWO YEARS…wow.), that I started to acknowledge things. The panic attacks had started. I had no idea how to cope with them. Here I was, a huge mental health advocate…for other people…suddenly realizing that I needed to seek out some help, too.
I started the long, hard, painful journey of looking into my past. Magnifying the things that have happened to me.
I also started floundering in the present–I felt more and more unlovable by the day. I started to overthink and overanalyze each of my behaviors.
I felt like the biggest mess…ever.
Shit…I don’t know why I’m talking in the past tense…I should rephrase: I feel like the biggest mess ever.
To be fair, many things have gotten better.
My anxiety is still present, but I manage it with medication and with self-coping strategies. My self care is better. My boundaries with my mother and my family are better.
My support systems are safer and I trust them.
I do things now that I never thought I’d be brave enough to do.
But some things have also gotten worse.
With my newfound ability to acknowledge the neglect, the abuse… the pain and loneliness that came with my childhood and followed me into adulthood? With that came a revisiting of all of the pain.
All of the emotions that I had buried deep inside of myself.
Those feelings have to be felt. But I resist them, because I’ve never wanted them. They, however, refuse to go away. They are stuck, shouting at me, requiring to be felt.
So I feel…but then I, too, get stuck.
I get stuck in the pain. In the unfairness. The injustice.
For the last almost two years?
My pain…my pain has been my identity.
Here I am. This woman. This struggling soul. But, my mind says, I am struggling for a reason.
I was a victim. But I’ve also allowed myself to be a victim.
I’ve been utterly and completely incapable of letting any of it go.
Why is that?
Part of me wonders, Who will I be without the pain? Who will I be? How will I be enough for me, or for anyone else?
Hurting, you see? Hurting is the easy part of the journey.
Don’t get me wrong…NO part of this journey is easy. But feeling and hurting? That happened without permission. That came with a retelling, a revisiting.
It came with acknowledgement.
Healing, though? Healing is hard.
Healing requires acceptance. It requires letting go of the resistance and allowing myself to not only feel, but to also accept.
It requires me to move past what happened to me. To be okay with feeling what I feel.
Letting go is hard…it feels like it means that someone, somewhere, is getting a pass for what they did to me.
The 40 year old man who molested me as a young girl? He will never face the consequences and the pain that I faced. The 24 year old who raped me when I was 18? Neither will he.
The dad that left me as a toddler–the one who called me a little bitch and made fun of my developing body when he did manage to see me once every year? He does not feel what I feel.
The lady who I so desperately have wanted to just love ME….just for me…yet, who never could? She does not think of my feelings. She either can’t, or she just doesn’t want to. She has not spent the last two years stuck in a cycle of pain and hurting. And she most likely never will.
And all the other things and all the other people. They don’t feel my pain.
They might feel theirs. Or they might feel nothing.
I…however…I feel my pain.
I feel my sadness.
I see what I want. I think about what I deserve.
I grieve. I mourn.
I hurt. And I hurt.
And, I hurt.
….But, you guys….I want to HEAL.
I want to move past the hurt. I want to move into the healing.
I want to learn to give up the pain. I want to be okay with being okay.
I want to love myself. I want to be enough.
…I want to heal.