I’m not depressed like the psychologists try to pin on me,
But I’m not happy with my life either.
I’m not too anxious.
I’m just anxious enough,
Like a runner about to launch
Or a cut bleeding more than you can sustain.
I’m hurting but nothing’s wrong
Except a world that doesn’t let you hurt.
Proudest moment of your life is when you didn’t flinch when they punched you
i hit back, once.
it turned into a joke about what a spoiled, rebellious teen i was.
Now I’m trying to re-learn flinching and allowing myself to have spontaneous reactions to things. I learned to hide it until my body didn’t react to anything, anything at all. My body became an invulnerable suit of armor. Now I just want to be vulnerable again.
Sometimes recovering memories feels like you’ve opened your front door and a crying child’s been dropped on your doorstep.
You don’t know who she is, why she’s crying, or what you can do to help. She’s too young to tell you what’s wrong or what she needs. So it’s this chaotic, messy game of trial-and-error trying to figure out her story and how to help her.
"What do you need?"
"I don’t know."
"Are you hungry?"
"I don’t know."
"Would you like an apple?"
"I don’t know."
"How about some chocolate?"
*give her chocolate*
"I HATE CHOCOLATE"
"I don’t knooooowwwwwww!!!"
Meanwhile the world around you expects you to act like a normal well-adjusted adult and get on with an adult life, but you’ve got this screaming kid that desperately needs help clinging to you invisibly.
If you keep at it, though, you’ll eventually figure out little ways to help. You’ll learn her language, which is usually nonverbal. You’ll help her learn how to speak. How to give names to feelings she has. And she’ll start to trust you. She’ll drop a hint here, a little there, about her story.
But first you have to learn to accept anything and everything she has to say, without judgment. No matter how shocking it may sound to your adult ears. You just have to listen and trust. You’ll probably hate her at first, and hate yourself for hating her. You’ll be judgmental. You’ll think she’s bad, you’ll think her feelings and thoughts are all wrong. But over time you’ll learn to see the world from her eyes. Over time, you’ll learn to love her. You’ll wonder why you ever doubted her to begin with.
And then, after she’s tested you enough and you have proven you love her no matter what, she will love you back. And then you’ll realize that child is you.
[TW: Vague mention of child abuse]
many-worlds said: Knowing that you have a trauma history, I sort of wondered if that might the case. I always find it helpful (if sad) to learn/remember/use names for things I am doing that are rooted in trauma.
It’s helpful to have names for these things and to understand why they’re happening. I wasn’t able to go through several key stages of development and instead just learned to emulate the proper behaviors on the surface, in a really shallow way.
I’ve done a little reading on childhood stages of development to see if I can use it to guide my own recovery; now I want to do more. There are a lot of things I find necessary that others might find weird/embarrassing, but that’s the kind of stuff that happens when you were prostituted as a child. You have to make up for the loss somehow.
I found a textbook on child development in a free box a while ago and every now and then I’ll flip through it. It always gets overwhelming after a while to think about what healthy childhoods look like and how many of these skills I’m still trying to develop.
I’m starting a class on Monday for queer survivors of trauma and one of the facilitators said when I met with her that a lot of people have moments in these classes where they discover the weird things they thought only they did are actually common trauma responses. Trauma is so isolating that we think we are weird for doing and feeling the very things trauma makes us do and feel.
YUP. Thank you so much for sharing.
The Hardest Lesson [TW: Child sexual abuse, violence]
Personal ranting under the cut.