I feel curt and edgy today, like everything is sand paper and bullhorns. It might be the elections, or the lack of sleep, or the client I could do nothing to help last night, who was yet another victim of a mental health system that dropped one too many balls when it came to her care. There is still hope for her, today might bring a bed, might bring some new treatment options, might bring an opportunity for her outpatient providers and inpatient providers to finally get on the same page.
Those things might make be making my mood worse, but that’s not really what has me feeling raw. I got vulnerable in those last two posts. I talked about my dad who I rarely talk about and even more rarely write about. Ever since I first gave myself permission to pour words on to pages, I’ve turtled when it comes to writing about him. Just the thought of writing about him and our relationship makes my muscles contract, flinch, freeze; the walls go up thick, fast and impenetrable. I know it’s time now, I know I have to, but all the reasons that have kept me from speaking my truth, telling my story about growing up the child of a narcissist – those are all still there, still as complex and still as sharp and scary as they ever were.
It is good, in the end. It gets all of this out of my head and allows it to take on new shape and texture and perspective. When I allow this stuff to come out, when I bring it forth into my life again, it leaves tendrils and strings to things still unsettled. I see and hear shadows and whispers of patterns not yet healed, patterns that may never be healed. Even after chipping away at this like old paint, there are faint trails of color embedded in the grains that may never come out.
Some days I feel like I’ll never be rid of all of this, that I’ll never be free of the bindings of a childhood unlived. As I write that, I want to be apologetic. I want to say it wasn’t that bad. I want to tell you that there was joy, because there was. I want to tell you that my mom did a good job, because with what she had, she did. It’s just that the parts that were unjoyous, the parts that cut deep wounds, left deep scars that still pull and tingle when I move my life in a certain way. Scars that I sometimes forget are there until I bump into them just so and I’m thrust into this place that I thought I’d moved away from.
It feels never ending. I thought healing was a thing, something finite that once done, is done. Instead, it seems like a cycle, a spiral out. Some healing, some setback, some healing, some setback. As we move out from that small, tight space, the more we heal, the fewer and farther between the setbacks.
None of this will ever just go away. It will always be part of who I am, part of what has made me. Instead of looking at these scars as ugly and disfiguring, maybe it’s time to hold them in my hands, infuse them with love, tattoo them with newness and light. I need to accept that even when they are painted over with what I know now, there will be days where I will feel the ridge of those scars. When I do, I will be reminded that although once broken, my body and heart have stitched their ragged edges back together perfectly into something more thick, strong and brave than it was before.