Yesterday was difficult. I had to work hard to concentrate on finishing work and projects for the week while my mind swirled with memories and feelings.
Today was difficult because I talked with my cousin about future plans. Plans that recalled memories and experiences that were hidden for a long time. Memories and experiences I would have thought were hallucinations or nightmares or deja vu before I started therapy with a trauma specialist.
Now, I’m trying to reconcile that secret life with my other life, the one I lived in broad daylight, and my current life. The nerd, the warrior, the woman who is both. The “good girl”, the “rebel”, the woman who defies labels. The fighter/the runner. The raging monster who hurts people/the defender who can’t stand to see herself or others crushed under the pain of being put down all the time.
A good girl doesn’t do drugs, smoke, drink while underage, have sex without a commitment, listen to certain kinds of music, steal, etc. I don’t and never have stolen anything. As for the rest, it wasn’t voluntary. But I did all of those things before I hit puberty. Does that make me a bad girl? Or a rebel? And does choosing not to smoke or use drugs or have sex anymore once I could make my own choices make me a born-again virgin or good girl? Does being able to fight make me tough? Does being a pacifist make me a coward? Does having a temper make me a monster? Does not having control over my body make me weak? Am I crazy because I feel so conflicted?
I want my body back. My body wants me back. All parts of me want to be physically active again. We want to be able to fight in the daylight and use our nerd skills in the shadows. And combine everything to combat the darkness threatening to pull us under. I want to stop using food to hurt myself. I want to stop using people to hurt myself. I want to start exploring my true likes and dislikes. I want to finish my projects so that my obligations are fulfilled and I can move on.
More than anything else, I want my secret life to shine in the light, unhidden and acknowledged with pride instead of shame. My parts and I, we did what was necessary to survive. We accomplished incredible feats together. And those parts of me deserve the acceptance, respect, honor, compassion, trust, and welcoming that was refused to them before. What they did kept us alive; taught us skills we needed to get through high school and college; helped us stay on track when the depression and suicidal thoughts tried to get us killed; and cut through the bullshit of family pressure and denial to keep us safe as adults.
And now that I’ve reconciled with one side of my family, the other side is hopeful that I might reconcile with them too. But the relationships between me and each side of my family is different. My experiences with them are different. I am still so mad at some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins that I honestly don’t think I can speak with them again without letting the hurt loose on them. I forgave those people when I forgave myself years ago. I understand why they said and did what they said and did back then. But I don’t want that in my life now either.
And there’s no guarantee that walking back into the fire will have a different outcome. That those family members have changed their opinions of me and will treat me differently. Or that they are trustworthy to keep my secrets.
And that is the origin of my trust issues. I am suspicious of everyone except the few people who have proven themselves to me. Letting people in is difficult. Balancing my need for solitude and privacy with socializing and valuing connections with people gives me a headache too.
So I am conflicted. I am confused. I am grieving. And I feel so much that sometimes I go numb. And when the dam bursts, my feelings explode. And there are consequences to that too.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. Thanks for your patience and for reading my post.