So do you realise in all of our sessions you’ve never said his name?
H challenges me halfway through Tuesday’s session with a simple pull-no-punches statement. Something I think I’ve been shying away from… I sorta knew it, but also not really, y’know?
Yeah I guess that’s right, I stare at her calmly whilst thinking, and I’m not about to start right now…
I don’t like to say his name, I continue, and I don’t like to remember what he looks like. Any of that just feels like… I’m invoking him…
Okay, that’s the first time I’d acknowledged that one out loud.
Damn it!! As H asks more questions… that familiar unwanted prickling of hot tears arrives… the chunk of heavy metal blocking my throat… then the coughing and choking as that part of the wound re-opens.
Grrrr!!! After all this time the tears still come!!!
I’d walked in feeling really flat after a day of utter exhaustion and hearing of a sister yogini’s death. Low energy, heavy heart, and uninspired. H had to work to get something out of me which is not the way it usually goes… I’d even thought… there’s probably not much to talk about today.
H thinks my experience of what happened is so fragmented, that whilst I integrate one part of the story, others remain hidden away and not addressed. And this challenges my ability to move past it all.
I even belittled this one.
It’s only a small piece of the picture, just another small one. Like a piece of glass that scoots under the fridge, it’s harder to find.
No. Its not small. It’s really big and significant. You’re completely avoiding looking at an important part of what happened…
So it seems.
But it’s complicated.
To most of my friends he’s simply “that guy who assaulted me”.
On this blog, I’ve called him Andre. That was partly to make sure he wasn’t confused with anyone else I talk about. And, it was sort of like ‘outing’ him… without really outing him… his real name starts with the same first letter (‘A’). (You’ll never guess, so don’t even try.)
But H has suggested in doing this, I’ve actually given him more power, made him ‘bigger’… Hmmm… Perhaps…
Images? I can handle a few seconds of seeing his face or a memory of our time together pre-assault. But that’s all. Letting them play sequentially? No way…
There’s something very sticky and messy in there because we were sleeping together for a few months… all that intimacy and vulnerability… when we met I was so glad to have him in my life, someone like me (so I thought)…
And remembering those times… where he played jazz & blues on one of his many guitars for me on a lazy Sunday morning whilst I lay in bed… passionate nights of love making… gentle and funny evenings together just hanging out… dancing all night at some live gig… Well, it’s confusing.
Then there’s the eyes – for a long time they were a constant photo negative hovering behind my eyeballs. Angry. Like a brand.
As my sobs subsided, H mentioned that in refusing to look, I’m actually refusing to fully accept what happened.
I am?? Yes.
I didn’t hear it the first time but I knew she’d said something important. I asked her to repeat it:
And as long as you do so, you’re holding the foundations of the trauma in place.
That in fact, refusing to look, creates anxiety which hurts more than the actual looking would. Kinda like the boogie man. It means I can’t think straight about what I’d do if I saw him again. I can’t tell myself I could handle it…
All this stops me moving forward.
Now, H tells me, she can finally understand why this is all still in play. I haven’t cut down the underlying anchors. This fragmented suppression of memories, might’ve been a way of handling it all, allowing me to keep functioning… but now its hurting my ability to put it behind me.
And you can put it behind you, you know…
I really, really want to. I do…
I leave this therapy session with an open wound instead of one that’s healing.
I’m in that down place, that sad and heavy place. That place where I don’t want to get out of bed. Where, if the earth opened up, I’d jump right in. Unless I don’t…
On the train I’m standing, holding up Bike-y. But who’s holding me up? I want to crumple on the floor of the train. I feel so hollow. So pointless.
I’ve got to get off now at my station and climb the ramp to the street. I can’t quite go on, not just yet. So I stand there just outside the station at the bottom of the ramp. And I breathe and I wait.
This inability to name him. To see him in my mind’s eye. It’s cost me dearly. There’s no room in my heart… not for me or for anyone else.
I’m needy, that much is clear. But those needs can’t be fulfilled externally. Not that they ever can for anyone… but it seems I’ve been hoping they could. That someone could walk in and make all the ‘bad’ feel like just a dream from long ago.
But I’m not that kind of princess.
My story is not the ‘swept off my feet by the handsome prince/live happily ever after‘ kind. There are people with that story but its not mine. Never has been.
It’s generally the story women are raised to believe though. It goes something like this:
Princess is assailed by evil forces, and must go through great suffering. But something wonderful is coming her way soon – to go through all that… she deserves every happiness… her prince…
Well-meaning people will regurgitate this fable to friends in pain. And part of me has wanted so much to believe. That it could be true.
But… I don’t believe that any more.
I do think things can and will improve. However the improvement’s all of my own making.
After all, I’m one of those DIY princesses, so there’s no sweeping me off my feet. We’d probably trip over each other in the process anyway…
Well, that’s assuming there’s a prince. And if there is, he’s busy sorting his own shit out right about now. That’s my kind of guy – enquiring, reflecting, learning, seeking. He’s down there in the muck with me somewhere. Maybe… but I don’t even believe that’s a given any more.
The whole ‘there’s someone for everyone‘ story? Just another myth.
I am my own banisher of the evils in my life. And I’ve learnt the secret: when I look in the magic mirror and see that any demons are of my own making… and that I get to kiss the toad and lift the evil curse myself… all on my own… then I’m home free.
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
I’m almost there, almost there. I know the spell backwards and forwards. But apparently it’s a matter of timing and stuff…
Its coming, I think I’m almost home; I can feel it, taste it. I sense the power-packed-kick-ass-take-no-prisoners–Svasti, waiting in the wings. She’s strong and fearless, she’s cheering me on… whispering what she can through the veil that separates us.
The veil of my own creation.