There’s a feeling I have been trying to place for some time. Something about loss, something about things being irreversible, something about grasping at empty feelings.
I can’t trace it. It feels like I run and run and run at it but I can’t hold it, and I cannot understand it.
It’s something to do with having a strict upbringing in a protective family… being taught that there are ways a girl behaves… being taught that sex before marriage is wrong. It’s something to do with the irony that you have grown up with a history of sexual abuse in the very strict family with its very strict norms… unprotected. It’s something to do with the idea of being brought up to believe that family is everything , family is made up of your uncle and aunts, your cousins and every other relative in the line and learning one day that the very cousins you have grown up with… have broken your trust and abused you.
It’s something to do with growing up with repressed memories that break through one day when you are sitting in a class for sexual education.
It’s something to do with years of feeling like you had something to hide but you didn’t know why. Something about years of hating your body once you know, feeling disgusted and angry and helpless. It’s something about struggling with loving yourself, trusting others and having faith years after all of it is done. It’s something about grasping the idea that something has happened 15,16,17 years ago and the numbers keep adding but there’s nothing you can do to punish them.
It’s a lingering feeling. Maybe some day I’ll put my finger on it. Today, I’ll make do with writing it down.
My brain’s been doing some heavyweight thinking lately and this stream of thought entered my mind.
I remember a particular session with my therapist – we had discussed how some of the beliefs I had about myself would take time to go because they had been sedimenting for years.
I had spent the past 20 years of my life forming certain habits and certain thought patterns that did not benefit me, that did not help my sense of self-worth and that were dependent on my experiences of abuse as a kid.
I remember making a promise to myself then – that the first 20 years of my life hadn’t been influenced a lot by my choice. But I did plan to make sure that the next 20 years would be year filled with love and growth for me. I wanted to undo the influence my abusers had on me – to reteach myself that I deserved love.
I have been working on it, though progress is tough. Here is a thought from a couple of days back –
You have always believed in telling other people to love themselves, to respect themselves as they are.
I want you to think about yourself like that. Think for a moment about your hurt, what you carry. Think about what you promised yourself, for the next 20 years of your life.
Theres a part of you, you understand now. A part that is healing and needs love – reach out to it.
You are enough. As you are now. In this moment, with your beginning, with your hurt, with your dreams and wishes and your happiness. You are enough.
You dont have to be more for anyone. You dont have to conform to fit into somebody’s space for love. You will find somebody you connect with, and they will love you as you are. And you will learn to form the spaces in between each other.
There is no easy fix for helping someone you love heal from their pain. That is a journey they have to take themselves. And the more they learn to walk on their path, the stronger they will be.
If you want to help, talk to them. Ask them what helps them as they learn how to heal. Ask them what their biggest fear is, see if you can offer them words that offer them relief. Be present, if they need a shoulder to lean on. Understand that it isn’t going to be an easy process, and know that your presence makes a great difference anyway.