Farewell to The Heavy Life

It is difficult to write these words… to know how to say this…to be sure this is the right thing.  But it seems to be the next step in this healing journey for me.  I have come so far.  I truly have.  I can say that with confidence and conviction.  The last six months in particular have propelled me forward in ways I could never have imagined.

And lately I have struggled with this blog, with what to do with it, whether to continue on or to shut it down.  As I have changed, my writing has begun to change and sometimes doesn’t feel fitting for this space.  As I grow, this space has started to feel small and confining and perhaps defining, simply by what I chose to name it.

“The Heavy Life”  I thought I was being so clever when I came up with that name, playing off of both the weight of all of my suffering and my actual struggles with my own body’s weight. And perhaps, at the time, I was.  But I find this title no longer fitting.  And it is time to let it go as one more thing that requires my releasing in order to continue this path of saving my very own life.

And it isn’t that weight is no longer an issue.  It isn’t that my life’s story isn’t full of heaviness or that the things that are important to me from this point don’t hold weight. But what I have found, the things I have found have held me back the most were all of the things that were not me and all of the things that separated me from my own self, all of the things that were placed on me by others.  And I have let those things go, now. I have emptied myself of the expectations of others, of the narratives that others told about me and about my life, of the belief that I must always perform and hide my true self. I am sure this will continue to be a process, but the deep work has been done and I feel lighter.

And the end of this blog only marks the beginning of something new.  I will still write. In fact, poetry has become my newest form of expression.  So, if you want to find my writings, I’ll still be around, just not in this space, one that has served me, but now holds me back with it’s very name.  I am excited, perhaps for the first time in my 44 years, to see where my life, and in that my writing, takes me.

The following is a poem that came to me yesterday.  It is emblematic of where i am, in a place of emptiness and expectancy.

 

The emptiness.

As though i have not yet gathered to myself
all that is me.
The floating.
As though i have released
all that is not me.
The weight of which held me here.
Now gone.
That which has anchored me:
masks,
illusion,
performance,
are chains to which i hold the key.
That which was spoken over my life
from my birth is a prison cell
with the door left open.
I have only to choose to escape.

The weightless feeling
reminiscent of childhood.
When i thought i would disappear.
Cease to exist.
Wondered if i ever had.
Would anyone notice if i am gone?
How can anyone find me if i was never here?

This emptiness
is different
Though i know it feels frightening
and much the same.
it isn’t.
I can choose what now holds me here.
To excavate and restore
that which is me
with respect
and curiosity
and compassion
And allow what is true
and real
and trustworthy
to be my anchor.
No more prison.
No more chains.

The Void

A profound sort of grief has quietly settled itself over my being as of late. A different kind of grief. More vast, less defined than the anguish I have navigated pertaining to specific incidents of abuse, rape and exploitation, to the things that happened and that have been; what trauma added to my life in the way of traumatic memories, symptoms and injuries, both physical and psychic. Rather, this sorrow and despair concern what isn’t, what hasn’t, what has never been and may never be. This grief is about what has always been missing.

And that makes it difficult to describe. It makes the task of relaying what it feels like to experience an overwhelming sense of emptiness where all of the things a life typically contains is almost impossible.  The trauma, the things that did happen, the things I was taught, the acting out of patterns and all of the things I did to cover that up and to try to “pass” for normal took up all of the space. There was nothing left. No space for what should have been, what I would have learned and been taught, what I would have chosen had my very own life not been hijacked. Those who chose to continue generational patterns of abuse and neglect and act them out on me, robbed me of any awareness of owning a life at all.

It is a different thing to grieve for what is not. There is nothing concrete, nothing real. The possibilities are endless and every one of those possibilities, made aware of through observing others with awareness of their own lives, through imagining, everyone of them stings and burns with longing and want and envy.

As I allow myself to settle into this space. This in between place, where the trauma has been lanced and exposed and relieved of it’s power and life is being made aware of and reimagined is, in it’s own way, more painful than the examination of the trauma itself. There is exposure and being unsure and more light to adjust to. Hiding behind shame and embarrassment would be easy. But somehow, that isn’t a choice. While the pain of awkwardly moving forward is excruciating at times, numbness has cost me more than I am willing to continue to pay. Numbness might as well be death. And so I continue doing the work of finding my very own self, of knowing my very own self, of loving my very own self, of digging deep into compassion for my very own forming, developing, fledgling self.

The poem below describes much of what I am trying to say in much fewer words.

 

The Void
There is a void where my life should be.
a wound
A gaping hole
that I’ve kept hidden
covered
under wraps
where life
and love
and substance should be
there is nothing.

There is a void where my life should be.
once filled with trauma
emptying
like putrid drainage
pouring out of
once festering wounds
now hollowing
vacuous
unfilled.

There is a void where my life should be.
a life once spent
surviving
not healed
but healing.

Dear Beloved Body

Dear Beloved Body,

You and I both know I don’t mean that. The beloved part. Not yet, anyway, maybe never. But I thought I’d try it out. Just this once. It sounds strange and awkward. Beloved is not something I have ever known any part of myself to be. It is not a word I use. Other than in the name of a book or the singing of a song, that word has never crossed my lips.

And yet, I feel you deserve it. For all you have endured. You deserve all of the tenderness and familiarity that word implies. I want to give that to you, to begin to heal your many scars with soothing words and loving kindness. I want to release all that is toxic that remains contained within you. I want to free us both from this estrangement, this antagonistic relationship.

I have avoided writing this because I know it’s me. It’s all me. It is me who has created this divide. Maybe not initially. I had a great deal of help with the fragmenting of my entire self. But I perpetuate it. I deepen it. I continue the abuse, the neglect, the harm, the most reliable of our family traditions. And you took it. You took all of it. And still you take it. And still you are here. And I don’t understand how you are still here, how you haven’t abandoned me along with everyone else. In my mind I have murdered you a thousand times. If it were up to me, we’d all have left this life, this poor excuse for living decades ago.

If it were possible, I would have permanently severed our attachment the first time. The first time someone violated us. The first shameful touch, the first rape, the first time some man made us suck his dick. I would have left at the unbearable pain of being unseen, ignored, never soothed or touched in a loving way. I tried. I tried so hard to leave and never, ever come back. And I have been trying leave you ever since. Treating you like a liability, a millstone around my neck. Virtually pretending you weren’t there by avoiding cameras and mirrors and other ways of being seen. Panicking at any inkling of awareness of you and numbing you into oblivion.

Despite all of this, despite what they did to us. Despite my efforts to vacate your premises entirely for as long as I must endure, you remain. Not without damage and scars, both of their’s and my own making. Not without the weight I once believed would protect us. But you remain. You contain it all.

I am not up to making pledges or promises I know I can’t keep. I can’t say where we’ll go from here. This progress has to be enough for now. No pressure. No commitments or specific expectations. Only a willingness to enter into this conversation and to entertain the idea that there is hope for us to be reconciled. I can only promise that I will continue to leave for now, that I will fuck it all up, that I will be cruel and exacting and fucking stubborn. I will still numb you out. I will continue to be neglectful and cringe at the sight of you. I will. I know i will. It’s going to take time.

And I am sorry. I know none of this is your fault. You had no say in any of it. Rationally, I know that you aren’t the enemy. But to some parts of me you have been the enemy for so long. It will take time to convince all of us and break patterns and shift our core beliefs about you. I am sorry I can’t offer you some complete miraculous change of heart. I’m sorry I cannot embrace you yet.

But I can promise the best of my trying. I can promise to show up, as much as I can, for this work. I can promise that I see you now and am beginning to see you differently. I can promise that I deeply desire for this relationship to be different and that I long for the day when we can both know ourselves to be beloved, if only to our same selves.

Until then…
Me

Dear White Friends

Dear White Friends,
Over the past almost three years, there have been two kinds of work going on in my life. One I have been very aware of and intentional about and one that has occupied a huge amount of space in my life and has been equally transformational, but did not, for a long time, carry the same level of awareness and intention. As anyone who reads this blog or knows me at all knows, I have been dedicated to the work of recovering from my childhood complex trauma. For almost three years now, a slow and steady, never wavering, unflinching deconstruction of all of it and of all of it’s affects reverberating across all of my 44 years. Once the wake up call came in the form of my children, after so many years of numbness and denial and barely existing, I have been all in on this healing and recovery thing. It became my job, my purpose, for a time, to recover from the horrific things I suffered, to abandon all hope of saviors or sudden miraculous transformation and to save myself as the only one who really can.

But, at the same time, there has been another kind of work going on within me, and the beginning of that work was also prompted by my parenting (because three of my children are biracial). Something I wasn’t so aware of. Something that parallels the work of trauma recovery in so many ways, but for some reason, I did not view it as work, as recovery in the same way, though now I am very clear that it is. And this work is social justice related. The work of recovering from what it means to be white in this country and in the world. The work of exploring privilege and oppression in all of it’s forms. The work of facing my own privilege (that’s right, privilege) and of listening to the voices of the oppressed and the realities and truths that they live on a daily basis. The work of examining how I have contributed to the oppression of others and still do today and of figuring out how to not do that as much as possible and how to fight for the dismantling of the systems we are surrounded by that perpetuate it.

As a former social worker and as someone who has suffered horrific personal trauma, social justice causes have been on my radar for some time. But boy have I fucked that all up in one way or another my entire adult life. And I realize now that my approach to social justice work,up until recent years, has been rooted in saviorism and the individualism that is so much a part of white culture in the US. It has also been deeply rooted in my own self interest and need to be saved and rescued from my own pain and trauma. It has been a reenactment of sorts, of all of the ways i wished i had been saved from the den of predators and otherwise total neglect I grew up around without any awareness of the complexity and nuance involved in what it means to have such power over other people’s lives. Without any awareness that taking that power and using it in ways that seem helpful and healing to me, are not always, if ever, experienced as such by the people I assumed were in need of my saving. I have been on the receiving end of well-intentioned help and have spent a great deal of time in my own trauma recovery recounting the ways in which those things were, in fact, harmful to me. I have experienced the harm that comes from those, believed to be acting from altruism, who saw me suffering and assumed they knew better than I did what I needed. And yet I acted that same, however well-intentioned, violence out on others.

Talking about this stuff is unpopular. It’s hard. It hurts. And we defend against it at all costs. We use the shields of our own traumas and struggles and oppressions to exempt ourselves from the kind of honest self-examination it takes to admit that we’ve been wrong, that though we never intentionally set out to hurt anyone, we did and we do, simply by living within this society and accepting the indoctrination into white supremacy, misogyny, classism and more that run through every single aspect of our existence here. We have blindly accepted a hierarchy of worthiness and of to whom we give the benefit of the doubt and we seldom question it.

This next part of what i have to say is most likely not going to win me any friends or fans. And while that’s not my point, nor why i write, I want to be clear that I fight the very same battles of needing love and acceptance and to be approved of as anyone else. I have, in fact, faced some pretty intense knock down drag out fights with those parts of myself that felt so unloved and unlovable growing up and are desperately still searching for that love and belonging at any cost. And so, I don’t say any of this lightly. I am acutely aware of the cost of telling the truth in our society, it’s just that i am also acutely aware of what it costs me and what it costs our society to continue to live in denial of what we are doing to each other.

And so what i have to say is this: we are all victims. All of us. The best of us and the worst of us. The most giving and forgiving and the most selfish and narcissistic and abusive. AND we are all perpetrators. We all cause harm. We all wound and perpetuate abusive patterns, even in our best, most virtuous intentions. AND to take it all just one step further, it is our willingness to cling to the former and unwillingness to own and examine the latter that is the very reason that abuse, and racism and misongyny and all forms of oppression continue to not only exist but to thrive as threads that are woven into the very fabric of our civilization. It is our US vs THEM mentality, our need to see ourselves as “good people” and to place the crimes of others onto a hierarchy of depravity that feeds it. The reality is that there is no us vs them. There are no good people vs bad people. There is just us. We ARE them and they ARE us. We are racists, misogynists, ablests, narcissists and dare i say it, abusers. We can’t live here, on this planet, be indoctrinated by this culture and not be. And our refusal to see that, to be be called on it and to allow for self-examination and course correction, is getting people hurt, it is getting people killed and it is perpetuating the cycles of crime and abuse against others we claim to want to put a stop to.

As I have gone about the process of my own personal recovery from the crimes committed against me, it has also coincided with an examination of my own conscience and my own crimes, my own perpetuating of beliefs and systems that oppress. And my offenses are legion. Our culture’s aversion to shame has thwarted my attempts many times to call myself and my own wrongdoings out. Because while we don’t want to examine our own consciences, we also don’t want those around us who we need to see us as “good people” doing that either. And so while I have sat, ready to confess many times, I get so much pushback from those around me, the same people who don’t want to know the reality of what I suffered at the hands of others, also don’t want to know what I have done to cause suffering to others. It might make them uncomfortable, it might cause them to be aware of their own complicity. But the truth is, WE ARE ALL COMPLICIT. And nothing is really going to change until we admit that.

You might ask why I am writing this now, why I feel the need to say this at this point in time, when things are so tumultuous and hope seems in short supply in this country. And I’d say that is precisely why. Our newest president is not some sort of outlier or fluke. He is us and we are him. We allowed this to happen because of our own unwillingness to examine our consciences, We looked the other way. We denied the oppressed their truths. We failed to act in so many ways. Like it or not, we are complicit, whether you voted for him or not, this is our failure. And it’s on us to fix it. This is not about being “good people.” We are way past that now. We are all just people and the only thing that separates us are our choices. And making choices that prevent harm requires a willingness to go within, to examine, to see ourselves for who we really are: both/and. We are all both good and bad, victim and perpetrator. We must be able to see ourselves as holding the very same capabilities to act in ways that help and ways that harm, all of it is contained within all of us. As long as we continue to deny that this is true, as long as we place the responsibility for evil and abuse and violence on those who are other, things will never change. They will never get better. And they must get better. They must.

Love,

Megan

Body Breakthroughs

Somewhere along the way, I picked up a lot of messages. We all do. It’s inevitable. Our culture is relentless in it’s indoctrination process in and of itself. Add to that my childhood full of sexual exploitation and abuse, abandonment and neglect, then add to that my active involvement in a conservative evangelical Christian church during some of my most vulnerable and formative years and the messages are multiplied exponentially.

In and among the intense traumatic memory recovery work I have been doing, I have recently been exploring many of these messages. This began as a deep desire of mine to understand and improve my seeming estrangement from my own body, something that has existed for longer than I can remember, a once uncrossable chasm. Many, many of these messages I have been inundated with involve my body: what I do with my body, what other people feel entitled to say about or do to my body, how I and everyone else feels about my body, what my body is good for or worth, and so much more. One of the most difficult aspects of doing this recovery work for me has been reconciling with my body, the relationship seeming so impossibly damaged and inhabiting my body feeling so inherently dangerous that I have avoided it at all cost, both actively and passively.

In recent weeks and months, though, it became clear to me that healing this relationship is essential to my recovery. Not only that but, for some,as yet unrevealed to me, reason, it seems critical to my ability to continue existing in this life. With each day that passes, with each step I make forward in my emotional healing, I become less and less tolerant of my almost constant need to exist solely in my own head or in the ether out there somewhere, floating above it all and watching myself as though a spectator to my own life. I know that dissociation means I miss out on a lot of the most beautiful things about life. I am viscerally aware of that fact, perhaps never more so than in my relationship with my children .

Dissociation means that I miss out on bonding with them through playfulness and spontaneity. It means that even when I am holding them close, I am not always present there, in that space with them where I want and they need me to be. It means that I tune out what they say and operate much like I am on automatic pilot, awakening only when I am forced back into presence by a crisis, and let me tell you, being forced into presence in this way never brings out my most adult, empathetic and compassionate self. The self I most want to manifest for my children. It is not rare for me to regret what is said and done in the space of these crises which only furthers my need to dissociate to avoid the shame of that reality. And so the cycle continues.

It’s important to me to acknowledge and to honor the truth that dissociation, the actual leaving of my body for the safer space of my head or of the air out there was, for so many years a necessary defense and survival mechanism. It was paramount to my survival. It is likely the number one reason I am still here. It has saved my life and it has served it’s purpose well. And so while I struggle with it and I wish with my entire being that it were easier to just flip a switch and be able to stay in, inhabit and trust my body, acknowledge it’s right and necessary place in my arsenal of weapons with which and I fought and sometimes still, when the pain becomes too much, fight for my very life.

It’s also time to acknowledge that the continued use of dissociation and disconnection from my body in my adult life has cost me dearly. That it is still costing me and that it is no longer essential to my survival. My body, rationally and logically, is safe now. I am no longer actively being harmed by others. But it is still a minefield of triggers for me. The sensory experience of being in my body most often still overwhelming. And it will take time. It is a relationship that will have to be built, slowly, carefully, intentionally. Perhaps some improvement will come organically, the smallest of organic shifts being that I am even willing to acknowledge or discuss my body. It is all too easy to continue to ignore this piece of the work. Well, it is and it isn’t.

Choosing to be here, present in this life is, in some ways, still a precarious proposition for me. That intention and willingness are always at risk and fragile. Triggers, memories, feelings of powerlessness over the only space that was ever mine to occupy, many many dances with suicidal thoughts and preoccupations with death are still far too close to make this anything other than a harrowing willingness to explore and consider the alternatives.

I have very often longed for the day when the proverbial lightening bolt would strike and I would suddenly experience a near miraculous desire to live and not only that, but to lay claim to all that is my life and all of the many different parts of myself in all of their beautiful complexity and messiness. So far, that is not my reality. Though that is the stuff of fairy tales and perhaps even the much discussed hero’s journey, it isn’t how things have gone for me so far and I don’t anticipate that they ever necessarily will. And so it has to be enough, these little shifts in desire. These slight changes that might otherwise be missed. It has to be enough that recovery comes in small, irritating, gnawing promptings to consider the possibilities and in the slightest bit of curiosity where there was none before. Were it not for those things and the reality that I am now able to pay attention to those promptings, at least in part, I am not sure recovery would be possible.

A Love Letter

Most of the letters I write to and from my parts, I keep to myself. But this one needed sharing. In recent months, after having a memory flesh itself out or new information come from one of my younger parts, I have had moments of the deepest, most authentic compassion for myself. None like today, though. This is a breakthrough of truly epic proportions for me. There is still the work to do. The information that’s come is overwhelming and the grief will hit soon. But for now, I am in awe of the child I once was and her capacity for survival.

 

Dear Little Me,

You are the bravest, strongest person I have ever known. I am devastated and heartbroken at what you’ve endured. I hesitate to say that everytime you bring me something new because I worry you won’t share with me if you think i can’t handle it. But, I realized today that you deserve someone to be heartbroken for you. What happened to you is beyond anything I ever could have imagined before we started this work. It is heartbreaking. It is still beyond what I can fathom and I am sure there’s more. You deserve my grief and my outrage. You deserve the absolute desolation I feel when I remember what it was like for you, how there was nowhere to turn, no safe person or place, no refuge.

I look at those pictures of you back then, at how beautiful and precious and innocent you were. I will never understand the kind of sickness it takes to hurt such a small, innocent child. Your beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. You never, not for one second, asked for or deserved that. I look at you and I think “how could they call you those names? How could they say such vile things? How could they hurt you and destroy your innocence like that?”

I look at my sons and I cannot fathom it. I stroke their hair and tickle their backs and I wonder if anyone ever, even as a baby, smelled your head or marveled at your fingers and toes, traced your jawline with their fingers and familiarized themselves with each line of the palms of your hands the way I do with my beautiful boys. Did anyone, if only for a little while, marvel at the entirety of you? Of all you were and all you contained that was yet to be revealed? Did anyone feel about you the way I do about my sons when I try to imagine who they’ll be at age 8 or 10 or 16 or 35 and get excited at the thought of knowing you then? I don’t think so. And I ache for that loss. Each time I curl around them in the night to comfort them in their fear or their sickness, I weep with the loss of that for you.

I want you to understand something. I need you to hear this most of all; you were at the complete and total mercy of some sick and depraved people. You had no choice and no control. You didn’t choose them. They chose to have you. But, no one actually saw YOU. If they had, they couldn’t have done those things. They weren’t capable of seeing your humanity. I am not sure they saw their own. No one protected you. It was their job to keep you safe and they failed at every turn. Not only that but they actively harmed you over and over and over again in soul shattering ways. They used their power and authority, their size, their sickness over you. That is the worst kind of betrayal. It could never have been a fair fight. It’s still not a fair fight.

I know you thought you would die. A thousand times over you thought you would die and as many times wished you would. I am sorry for every time I wished you would have as well. I’m sorry I haven’t been strong enough or wise enough understand why we made it through. But you got us through. You woke up everyday of your life in that hell. And you lived to tell about it. I can’t even pretend to know why now. I haven’t figured that out yet. We may never know. But you are inspiring me more and more, the more you reveal. Your strength, your ability to survive that life means something. It has to. I deeply respect your ability to endure and survive so much that I vow to stop wishing we had died. I know it hurts you. And you don’t deserve any more hurt.

I wish I could take back all of the things I have said and all of the ways I have shamed you for doing what had to be done. And for all of the incredibly creative ways you found to survive such a wasteland, I am in awe. I don’t blame you. I won’t hide in shame anymore but rather I am proud of your tenacity, your perseverance, your determination and grit. I will find way to celebrate those things instead. Those things, those are the truth about who you are. You ARE creative and strong and incredibly brave and smart and kind and all of the many things they convinced you you’d never be. You are good. You are a safe, responsible person. You are different than them. You are YOU and you are beautiful to me.

I am still here. I am still listening. I want to know anything you have to share when you are ready. There is nothing you can tell me that I can’t handle.

I love you,

Me

Observing Patterns

There has been a pattern emerging in my writing, particular in my writing here on the blog. And it’s more likely than not that it’s been around for a while and I am just now recognizing it. And unless you’re me, it might be hard to understand this pattern, but I am going to attempt to explain it anyway.

I do several different kinds of writing right now. I write here. And what I write here is usually some sort of summarization of different points of enlightenment I am coming to along my path towards recovery. To some, they are likely not new concepts but they are more a chronology of how Ihave found my way to some of the greater truths about recovery through my story and my experiences. I also do some general journaling of thoughts and feelings and things that need to be said that don’t necessarily need an audience. But one of the most powerful forms of writing I am doing now is from my inner parts. Sometimes it’s a conversation between, most often, my adult self and a younger inner child or defender. Sometimes it’s a letter or just one part speaking to another or to the whole of us. Sometimes it’s a part speaking to another person in my life entirely, so far, namely, my parents. This writing has been so incredibly healing for me. It is changing me. It is making me stronger, more confident and in a way I could never have imagined and though I am differentiating each part when I write and know it seems completely contradictory, it is making me more whole.

The last three or so weeks have held tremendous challenges for me. Tremendous events have occurred, tremendous changes in my world, tremendous progress on my part, but also tremendous and profoundly disruptive memory recovery work. Three members of my family have died in quick succession. And in response I have acted in ways I never have before to set boundaries and to keep myself emotionally safe from further harm by my family. I am beginning to release the sense of obligation to my family that they have never felt for me. what I find I am now regularly receiving as a reward for the hard work I am doing is that my parts then trust me more and release more and more memories and connections about the past into my conscious awareness. And while most days I am not sure how I feel about this newfound trust, I also know that it is a good thing.

These last weeks I have wrestled with the image of myself as the ungrateful, uncaring, detached, cold-hearted, cruel, crazy, lying daughter, niece, granddaughter, cousin… In reality, I am none of those things except detached. And I must be, for my own emotional safety. To save my life, I must be detached. In my estimation, any chance of attachment towards my family was hopelessly lost when they chose to continue the cycles of abuse, neglect and violence that have haunted our family tree for generations. And yet all of these years I have been seen as the defective one. The reality that I somehow fall on the spectrum of attachment disorders and difficulties for no reason other than I want to deliberately hurt them.

And so this pattern… This pattern I am noticing is that when I am beginning to face some particularly difficult new information coming from my inner parts, I also seem to make some pretty huge leaps in my understanding of myself, of recovery, of some of the greater truths about abusive families, people in general or the world. And it has occurred to me today that it is almost a bolstering that happens just before the hardest stuff hits. It is a kind of message from my higher self, just when I am doubting my own strength the most. Just when this one particularly loud, but small, traumatized part of me is repeating over and over again “I can’t handle this, I can’t handle this…” and just as the feeling of impending doom and darkness sets in so deeply that I am convinced i’ll never surface again, that I’ll never again draw a deep breath and the message is that I am, in fact, an adult now and no longer living in that past and that I CAN surrender and CAN handle whatever comes and that what lies on the other side is often clarity and self-compassion. It is a grounding I cannot explain. It keeps part of me, the strongest part, my adult self, here, in the present, while the parts of me who must do the work, who must delve into the past and excavate the truth in all of it’s terror and ugliness and pain, go deep into the darkness. And so I am able to keep watch, holding the light and the rope, promising I won’t ever let them go.

The memories I have recovered in the last two weeks and the ones that are still coming as we speak are, at once, devastating and validating. And it usually works that way. They explain a lot about why I have always been scapegoated and demonized by my family. They explain a lot about my mother’s inability to be in any sort of relationship with me as a child and to behave as though she could barely stand in the same room with me. They explain a lot about why coming to terms with my sexuality has been one of my biggest struggles. The memories coming up for me now are of a kind of betrayal that most likely can never be fully explained to someone who hasn’t experienced such a phenomenon. But in that same inability to explain also lies the kind of validation i have always needed and never been able to find.

I, literally, right now am standing on the precipice about to surrender to the excavation of new information from my parts. I have some vague idea of what is going on but have also been resisting and allowing those refrains of “ I can’t handle this,” to repeat themselves a few too many times. Those same parts are insisting that this time the darkness is too great, that if I go there, I will never make it out alive and I’ll be honest, it’s extremely tempting to believe them. But just as soon as I was tempted to relent and let them have their way, my higher self showed up with some wisdom, some new information of her own, some understanding that will be required if I am to be expected to hold the light and the rope this time.

And that understanding is this: that it is okay for me to let my family of origin go now, completely; to accept that what they have given me is all they have to give. But even more than that, that letting them go might be the most compassionate thing I can do for them and for myself. It is that it is okay for me to stop trying to convince them that the way they see me is wrong and to stop fighting that un winnable war once and for all. That what they believe about me has, truly, nothing to do with me. and is not a reflection of my worth nor my love-ability. It is that what they believe about me is a narrative they have needed to create in order to live with themselves and what they have done and that giving up that narrative now would cost them more than any of them will likely ever be willing to pay. The most painful part of that will always be that I am not worth that price to them and never have been. This is the nature of denial, that, at once, most protective and most destructive of forces. The truth is that no one can be forced to give up their own denial. It is something we must willingly choose. I have chosen it and I am paying the price and it is steep. I can certainly admit that given slight variations in my life or circumstance, it could very well be that I could still be in the same sort of denial, continuing the same abusive patterns.

But since I have given up denial in favor of active recovery, these new memories require that I hold no more illusions about who my family is and about what they’ve done. My inner parts need me to keep them safe now just as I would my own children. And cutting ties with my family for good is no longer something I see as requiring me to hate them or wish them ill will. It will never be that black and white for me. That is a very child like understanding of estrangement and boundaries and something that has never felt genuine for me. It is possible for me to understand them, to feel compassion for them, even, AND to also say “no more.” It is possible for me to wish them well and to hope that someday they will give up their denial AND not hang around any longer waiting for it. Accepting that they cannot be who I need and have always needed them to be does not preclude the possibility that someday they will see the light, it just means i will no longer put my life and my healing on hold or at risk waiting for them to do the highly unlikely. If someday they do see the error of their ways, that will be an unexpected gift, but it is time to move on now and to let go of a weight that has held me back for so long and has kept me from fully living and engaging in life. And along with them must go the negative beliefs I have had about my own worth, worthiness and love-ability based on who they believe me to be.

In so doing all of these things on my own behalf, I am giving myself the things I always needed and never got. And that is a powerful exercise in self parenting and trust. It is the bolstering, the shoring up, the fortification I need to weather this next round. It is a demonstration of strength and courage and the ability to put myself first that my inner parts need in order to trust me and allow me, my adult self with guidance from my higher self, to compassionately continue to direct us all towards healing, wholeness and integration.