I'm sitting at my kitchen table. It is pretty dark in the condo since I've got no lights on and the sun has just begun its walk from the porch to the wall of windows. I have the door open even though the hum of construction, trucks idling, and cars driving by is adding to my exhaustion and overwhelm. The cat likes to come in and out as he pleases, though he's lounging on a table for now, his white whiskers and blonde fir rippling in the breeze. Awww see, I've looked at him for long enough that he sensed my presence. He turns to stare at me with those sweet golden green eyes and comes in with a meow to say hello, weaving between the computer and my face, which kisses him as he passes.
I tried to write about trauma again.
The headache I've had for over a week thickened, numbed. I took a moment to feel into it, its location, if it were a color or a texture. It felt thick and sludgy, like black tar. I imagined a viscous metallic liquid pouring in and swirling with that tar, then flowing out my ear, back to the ground, where it pooled and sunk in. It felt good to have a meditative moment, to just sit with my pain for a little. But that type of trick doesn't work anymore. I've used them all up. My system sees through the magic to the sleight of hand. It is not what I need.
If something was wrong growing up, my mother focused on fixing it, making it better, getting it to go away. I quickly adopted this strategy within myself, so nothing wrong could emerge. It can become like a deep wound that joins again at the skin, but festers beneath, like using comfrey instead of plantain. Hmmm...In my sacred plant medicine relationship with plantain, a little song came through, "You love me from the inside out, oh sweet plantain..." I was definitely loved from the outside in. Taken at face value.
Layers and layers on top of festering feelings, that I can't get to, can't identify. Going digging for them only drives them deeper. I'm still not sure what to do, when I can feel that something is not right, but can't put my finger on it. It is excruciating because I'm really hurting, and I don't know how to hold myself.
One time recently, weeping, I wrote a love letter to the protector that distances me from how I feel. That seemed to move things, open things up again. I'm going to read that now (below). It is beautiful, heart-wrenching. Made me cry again.
I think what I wanted more than anything as a little one was to be followed to my room. I wanted my mother to be attuned to me. To sense and know something was awry, and draw me out, find a way in through the side door. Now that is my responsibility, and my opportunity. Fuck it is humbling.
I haven't felt how I wanted to this last week or so. I've been scattered, groggy, and hurting physically and emotionally. I haven't been sharp and productive as I hoped. I tried to push through, but yielded. I took the foot off the gas and had some fun. I sought support from a mentor. I kept my head above water. It's enough.
Dear Inner Protector,
Shielder of my emotions, soldier of my privacy. You saw time and again when i was in touch with my feelings and shared them, I was met with anxiety, fix it attitudes, judgement, contempt or betrayal. You saw how deeply unsafe it was for me to feel, to express, to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to be needy. And you were there for me. You stepped in valiantly between my feelings and my knowing so I wouldn't even be tempted to bear myself and risk all that. I'm weeping now in gratitude for you, for saving me from the wrath of my parents, their misattunement.
Your protection saved me and shielded me, but it also shielded me from myself and made it hard for me to live from my needs and desires because I wasn't in touch with them. And I had to adapt to not being seen as myself and put on shows to get attention, but it was never and is never enough because what really needs to be seen is my deepest and authentic feelings and self. I really want to reveal that now. I need to.
And I know that must sound terrifying to you, since preventing that is your whole reason for being and I'm so grateful you came along to help me, because there was truly no room for my true self in my family. You kept my true self safe all these years and this right now is what you kept me safe for. Because it is safe now to reveal myself.
Well, it is safe enough. It's safe enough because I have a stunning network of friends and supporters that believe in me, love me unconditionally, and are begging to meet my true expressive authentic artist of a self. And Earth, my ultimate place of belonging is begging for me, wet and ready for me, horny. And it is safe enough because if I don't get the attention and validation and encouragement I need from my fellow humans, I have nurturing unconditional regard and support for myself. No matter if others act like my parents did (and I don't live with them or need them anymore) I've got me and I've got the little one who you've protected all these years. I'm here to love her and hold her, draw her our and celebrate her feelings, which are sacred to me.
Oh sweet one, my loyal guard, my holy shield. This is the moment you worked so hard to make possible. This is the time of peace. You don't have to right anymore. The war is over. I survived my childhood. And now I can't survive without access to how I really feel, who I really am, to listen, to love, to hold, to share.
It was always painful to be disconnected from my true self, but it has been worth it, necessary. Now the pain is too great and in vain. What will help you trust this is true? That now is the time to step down and with honor? You are precious to me, an esteemed member of my team. I know how much you love and care for me, that you'd do anything to protect me. I need your protection not from myself, but from the pain of being disconnected from myself. Protect me not from how I feel but from denial. My privacy has turned sour into loneliness.
It is safe enough now. It is safe enough.
(This is a text book example of a love letter to a loyal soldier. See Bill Plotkin's Wild Mind p. 142)