Home in My Truth

I want to share with you one of my most sacred stories.

 

It is a story of pain. of grief. of fear. of shame. AND it is a story of love.

It is time. Time to LOVE myself openly. Time to feel any and all things that I feel about this OPENLY, FREELY, PUBLICLY, TRUTHFULLY.

With my hand at my heart I share with you something precious.

I was sixteen years old when my relationship with motherhood began.

I was afraid.

I wanted to be small. I remember that specifically.

I wanted to be small, a child, innocent, not capable of creation. I wanted to hide, I wanted to be saved, I wanted to disappear.

I was afraid.

I told my mother. I stared at the blue of my bed, tears in my eyes, and I slipped away.

She told my father.. I am not mad, I am disappointed.

They made the decision for me. I was a child, their child. They were saving me, I was letting them. I said nothing.

I was not saved.

My father was noticeably absent. He dropped my mother and I at the clinic and left. My mother dressed me that day. Like a child, she picked out my denim overalls and pale pink shirt, and my hat. It was important that I wear a hat so she could hide my face from the protesters. She was saving me.

I was not saved.

A woman took me into an office and talked to me about sex, how the female body works. My mother asked if the talk was necessary, she thought I was too young to be hearing it.

Years later looking back at the parts of this story I consciously remember, it amazes me how powerful denial can be.

If I treat her like a child and dress her like a child, she will be a child again and we will make this go away and she can be my baby again.

I am sorry Mom. I am sorry we had to experience this together. I am also sorry that I can no longer carry the burden of these untruths for you.

THIS HAPPENED.

I was not given anything for pain or comfort.

I know that I felt everything but I remember almost nothing.

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

This is where I became hard, rigid, AFRAID. This is where I was made empty.

I could not love myself anymore. The darkness enveloped me. It did not creep in slowly, it swallowed me whole in one gulp. Then I was gone, all that was left was empty.

Empty and shame and fear.

There are so many stories in this story. This pain is so layered there were times I never thought I would be able to unravel enough to tell any part of this story with clarity. I will start here, with this truth; when I was sixteen I became a mother, a mother who would never hold her baby.

This is my start. My BIGGEST moment. I am allowing YOU to see me in my most naked state of truth and love and pain. I do not know who you are, I do not know if you are safe.

What I do know is that I AM SAFE. I am safety.

I am no longer empty. I went so deep into myself to rescue this mother who was abandoned. I love her without exception. Without fear, without shame. I am in love with her and this is not dangerous, it is one of my most sacred truths; I love my darkness.

Nikoli

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A Part

Alone at night, my husband out with a friend visiting from out of town. Alone, little bubby sleeping soundly.

A Lone.

Tired. Have been all day. Soul weary tired. empty. Without.

I will watch a movie, no energy for art or writing. Lay quietly.

Then it happens.

Hi. You’ve come a long way haven’t you little one? It hasn’t been easy has it? One day you’ll tell me all about it. You’ll tell me everything. I’ll always listen. Always.

I pause. I rewind. I listen again. I pause. Someone in me starts to shake. I feel a vibration strengthening.

I open my lap, call her in and say the words out loud.

Hi. You’ve come a long way haven’t you little one? It hasn’t been easy has it? One day you’ll tell me all about it. You’ll tell me everything. I’ll always listen. Always.

I erupt. From nowhere and everywhere my screaming pieces rise out of me and fly. Breathless sobbing. Everything I have been holding in, pushing down. Grief, pain, loss, separation, fear, anguish- flows out of me, a faucet that cannot be shut off.

I think my lap cannot be big enough. I am not enough to hold all of this.

Lies.

This is my crying baby. She is mine. I will hold her and love her. All I have is enough.

I am enough.

I cannot do it anymore. I cannot be apart from myself.

These stories are hard. It has not been easy. I will listen. I will always listen.

I finally found my baby. I will never set her down again.

owee

 

 

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp

Finding My Way Home

After my devastating tumble with the truth about my mother I spent the rest of the day and that evening in my pain. I cried, processed with my husband, and we cuddled. That night I had another dream about water. Water is my symbol for motherhood/my mother which is why it keeps coming up in my dreams.

In the dream I am with little bubby and my parents in a car. My father is driving and little bubby is not strapped in, he is in my lap, we are in the backseat. Suddenly my Dad lets go of the wheel, just totally abandons ship and the car starts to veer off the road towards a swampy lake. I yell at my Mom to hit the brakes, she can’t/won’t stop it. As the car enters the dark water I jump out with little bubby in my arms and wade back to shore. In the dream my phone goes down with the car and is consumed by the darkness, I cannot call for help. I find a landline at a nearby business but I still cannot call my husband. I try over and over but the call will not connect. No one is coming to save us and I am stuck with little bubby in my parent’s swamp. My parents are sitting casually on a dock making no effort to correct or even address the situation, it is as if they do not even see the swamp. They are minimizing everything, not even acknowledging that their car was just eaten by the mud. I am arguing, I am furious they endangered us – they are denying, lying to themselves and me. I am done. I leave. I start walking with little bubby. I don’t know where I am going , it is a road I have never traveled on but I am going. I am walking away.

The symbolism here is clear – being in the car with little bubby not strapped in while my parents are not in control of the vehicle is a metaphor for how unsafe it is to expose little bubby to my family’s dysfunction because my parents still do not have a handle on things. The trauma is still happening and as the dream illustrates, they are still in denial and minimizing. If I continue to expose little bubby to their sickness I become the unstable branch and little bubby will never trust me because I did not keep him safe. This will not be out story. This ends now.

I will not be the unstable branch. I will keep both little bubby and myself safe, I will protect us both from my family’s chaos. This is my job, I am momma and my family of origin is mine to walk away from. My husband keeps showing up absent in these dreams because he cannot save me, not matter how much I want him to. I am not small, I am the hero of this story, and it is time to go.

I don’t know where I am going but I am not lost. I will never be lost again because I will not play small and abandon myself, I will not try to belong where I do not and abandon myself, I am ready to feel my pain and love myself well – I will never abandon myself again.

I may not know where this path leads but I do know I am meant to be on it, it is mine. I cannot walk other people’s paths home, the only way to find myself is through myself.

I am my hero

Salvation Spoken

When processing pain in therapy my therapist often asks, what does that piece of you need?

It is a way to help me look inward and connect with the injured part of myself and then show up in connection to support and heal myself.

Over the years my parts have been injured by my mother’s words, as well as my mother’s silence. Her words and silence have been used as a form of psychological warfare – gas lighting, silent treatment, shaming..

I was thinking recently about this injury – the injury caused by words – I was thinking, What if words could save me? What if the place of injury is also the place of salvation.

To answer my therapist’s question, I think that is what my parts need, words. The right words.

Instead of you can never tell anyone what happened. I need I see your pain, I am here, You are not alone.

Instead of this is normal or that never happened. I need this is not okay, I will protect you, we will get help, this will not continue.

Instead of yelling, I need I love you. You are lovable. You are loved.

Instead of the silent treatment, I need truth speaking coming from a place of love and connection.

I am my own salvation. I will use these words to rescue/save/heal/connect/love myself.

I see your pain. I am here. You are not alone. This was NEVER okay. I will protect you. We will get help. This will not continue. 

I love you.

You are lovable.

You are loved.

self-love.jpg

 

 

Hand Holding

When I decided the time had come to step back from my relationship with my brother, not figuratively but literally – it was a Monday morning and I knew it was time, part of me immediately wanted to play small. This piece started coming up with excuses for why now is not the time – if I wait two days I will see my therapist and I could talk to her first, I should wait until Friday so he will have the weekend to process, my husband’s family is coming into town so he will be less available to me emotionally..

This piece of me believes that I am not big enough to handle this on my own, she also believes she is responsible for others. It was time to show her she is safe, my therapist and my husband will not be the ones who show up to save her – I will. It was also time to show her she is not responsible for my brother or anyone else for that matter.

I do not need anyone to hold my hand, I am an adult, I am capable, I am big.

That is what hand holding looked like when I was small. I needed validation, reassurance, more validation. Hand holding in my BIG place looks different; it is my husband sitting on the toilet holding my hand while I cry naked in the bath, it is my therapist energetically holding my hand as I express my grief and pain.

Hand holding when I was small felt easy, I was asking everyone else to do the hard stuff for me, I wanted to be saved from my truth/my experience. Hand holding now is harder, it requires me to vulnerable. It requires me to hold my truth and my pain and be seen. That is what hand holding in the big place is, it is a request to be seen. This takes courage.

I am the hero of my story, I am the one who will be doing the saving, I am not small, I can do hard things – including asking to be seen by asking for someone I love to hold my hand.

hand holding

We Don’t Know How to Do This

After my conversation with both my brother and my parents I was surprised to find that I was feeling okay about things. I had a moment of expressed frustration over my feeling of not being seen by my parents and my mother placing appearances over me again; otherwise though I was okay. At first.

I completed some chores, watched some TV with my husband, and then wrote for a little while. It was after writing that some of those churning emotions started to break the surface.

I ran myself a bath, I knew I needed to be held by the water. I lay in the water listening to Praying by Kesha and the pain surfaced further.

I started thinking of my soul family – should I reach out for support? I had energetically called on them for support before I ever had the conversation, maybe I should connect.. I talked myself out of it by telling myself it was too late at night. I heard my husband watching reruns of a show we like in the living room. Maybe he could hold my hand, that might feel nice.

I laid in the water for another 5 minutes hesitating, too afraid of my vulnerability to ask for what I needed –  then I did it. I called his name and he came. I told him what I needed, will you sit here and hold my hand? and he did.

I thought it would make it easier to experience my grief but it didn’t. I still felt myself wanting to disconnect from my pain, and now even more so because I had an audience. I also felt my husband disconnecting from me even while physically connected through holding hands. I decided to voice the disconnection I was feeling.

What we realized is neither of us know how to do this – connect on this vulnerable level. I am naked crying in the dark in  a bath tub, it is pretty vulnerable. Both of us hide when our pain  and vulnerability are this intense. I go to my closet, he hides behind a closed door. With all the connection we experience through truth speaking and collective accountability in our relationship, this is foreign.

There was connection in the mere act of telling the truth though. This feels weird, I don’t know how to allow myself to be supported like this AND I know that is what I want. And on his end, This feels weird, I don’t know how to show up, you are doing something I would never allow myself to do and it scares me.

By the end of our naked hand holding we were telling each other you are my best friend and I love you.

It still felt awkward and I was not able to let myself have the big screaming cry I know is buried inside me dying to get out AND I feel like we touched something important. I feel like this is part of the shift. If we can learn how to connect in our deepest darkest places, truly connect, by asking for, offering, and accepting support and love when we would normally hide and isolate.. I think that is how we experience the BIG love.

At the end when I was drying off I was thinking of little bubby. He does not hold his big screaming cries in, he lets them fly. He does not bottle up his pain/frustration/fear AND he seeks out comfort when he feels these things. None of this feels shameful to him because he is loved in these places instead of being rejected.

I want to feel my big pain and not feel shameful. I want to feel my big pain and experience comfort instead of rejection.

I want to feel my big pain and feel love.

i choose love