I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.
I have always been a pwecious pwincess about my birthday. I hated it. I was uncomfortable with anyone giving me positive attention, I was angry about everything. My parents nearly always forgot it was happening so I was always sad on that day and even when my mom remembered she’d call and slur drunkenly at me and make me feel sick and miserable.
For years I have spent the day bicycling all over for hours and hours to be away from phones and human contact. I have gritted my teeth and sat through a birthday dinner and cake trying to be as pleasant as possible because people went through all this trouble and because I have kids and it is a birthday and they want cake, but it was torture.
This year, I am having a GREAT birthday. It started out with a hummingbird at our window box, but contained many boring errands to get medication and my license renewed, and I had to back out of one social thing I’d been looking forward to, and my partner has to work tonight — but I have been peaceful and happy all day. What has happened today doesn’t matter. I’m just letting myself enjoy my me-ness.
Friends have been telling me how awesome I am, and I believe that they actually mean it. I am looking forward to seeing more friends and family this evening.
I went on a nice long bike ride with my youngest instead of alone. My legs are humming happily and I am sitting on the porch chilling out and smelling cake baking and I am HAPPY.
My spouse has never seen me happy on my birthday. Not for 24 years. This is literally the first time.
I’m going to give the credit to EMDR. I really am. Okay maybe also Lexapro. But still. I am just astounded!
SOMETHING IN MY LIFE GOT BETTER! FUCK YES.
You know what’s totally fucking stupid? Every time another shithead relative unfriends me on FB after some stupid political fight I’m right back to when the whole goddamned family turned their backs on me for speaking out about my uncle who molested me.
THEY ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE. They are not INTERESTING people. I would never choose them for friends. Why the fuck do I still feel upset?
We already worked through this target, Moxie. We already went through the angry phone calls and the betrayal and the punch in the gut when you realized all those stories about family coming first were just lies.
Reading Brenee Brown’s book while also applying for full-time jobs, none of which I actually want.
Abandoning my freelance career and taking a crappy job I hate is hardly daring greatly, but my kids gotta eat.
I’ve had people tell me this blog has given them hope, and that it’s helpful. I think this fact has been stifling me, a little. I don’t what to be a downer, so I don’t talk about the times I feel like utter shit.
But you know what? Today EMDR, and therapy in general, feels like a hopeless slog for no good goddamned reason. During the session my mind kept wandering to all of the meetings I have this week (two of which are OTHER fucking therapy sessions: one about parenting with the huge mess of us coparents and one couple’s counseling session, and now THEY feel useless and hopeless as well). To how fat I’m getting. To how itchy my right ear was. To whether or not I stunk. To how long it’s been since I shaved my legs. I was so remote that afterward, my therapist asked me if I were feeling suicidal. (I’m not, for the record. Not remotely.)
But DAMN am I feeling negative about this whole process. I am sure Robin Williams is part of it. That bastard Depression and his evil assistant Addiction got him — even at the age of 63, when I’d have thought it would have been a little easier. He would have been better armed, maybe. I am sure that my continuing cash flow problems are part of it. I’m sure I’m also just in one of those places where the slog is a slog and I’ll soon post some glorious wonder about the blah blahness of the blah. The blickety-blah of it all how transformative.
But today, the struggle seems futile and overwhelming. A ton of work with dubious results. Uselessly chewing on cardboard for sustenance. Oh goddamnit the image I found of chewing cardboard is adorable and hilarious.
This one tore me up. I see so much of myself in him. Odd. A little much for people.
It kills me that he had those same dark horrible moments of the soul. It kills me.
And I am now bracing myself for the hateful comments about how he was a coward or something.
There but for the grace of whateverthehell go I.
I’ve written before about how some EMDR sessions are deeply cathartic and effortlessly flowing flights of the subconscious and others are like chipping away at something that won’t yield.
Today was in between those things.
I was iffy on the target memory, but instead of looking at our list to go through I instead talked about some difficulties I’ve been having in getting too involved in other people’s problems, and it led us to a particular memory.
The memory doesn’t matter, really. It was just something I remembered very vividly but imperfectly, and it was something linked to other memories in terms of feelings: feeling vulnerable. Feeling afraid. Feeling helpless and weak. Angry and pitiful and ineffectual. Unable to protect my sisters.
I didn’t really understand why the damn memory was the one I thought of when she asked me to focus on my feeling and then talk about the first memory that came up for me. I didn’t understand how it linked to my current problems.
But we went forward with it. I sat down. I picked up the paddles. I got started. It felt awkward and rough and I had to keep re-directing my brain back to that target memory.
And then: click. I am anxious about my friends and family in difficult circumstances because I never felt that I was able to protect anyone as a child. I am afraid that a friend’s problems with her soon-to-be ex will explode into violence because in my experience, so many problems HAVE. I couldn’t protect my sisters back then. And I can’t protect them or my friends now. And these things are linked.
No weeping; no catharsis. Not flight of fancy or trippy weird dreamlike state. Just digging, sorting, and discovering. The everyday work. It matters, too. It is also making a difference.