I woke up this morning with that thick heaviness behind my eyes that only comes from a night of crying. I clear my throat- scratchy. Am I catching that bug that’s going around? Oh wait, probably all the screaming I was doing- forgot about that. I go into the bathroom, see a tiny chunk of glass resting among the cat hair on the rug at my feet. And another. I spend the next few minutes picking slivers of glass from the soles of my worn out house shoes.
After the dog has been fed and the cats petted, I stand in front of the door to my lady cave*. I take a deep breath as I reach for the doorknob, anticipating a whirlwind of emotion as I flashback to the previous night. It doesn’t happen. Instead, I open the door to the aftermath of last night’s episode and sigh in resignation. “Oh little one, what have you done?”
“There’s a little girl in you”, Therapist #2 had told me during one of our sessions. “She’s been through a lot. And right now she’s sitting on the curb out in the rain. She’s lost, and alone, and afraid. You need to sit down and talk with that little girl. Let her know she’s safe now. Tell her you love her and that you promise to keep her safe.” In the past year and four therapists since, I’ve largely ignored this advice. That girl is damaged goods, I told myself. I need to start over.
Last night when I looked in the mirror, that little girl was looking back at me. She wasn’t angry that I’d neglected her all this time- self-medicating until she was just a fuzzy figure in the rear view mirror. She didn’t ask me what took so long, why I drove away and left her there. Because she was used to it. Because she’d been lost, and alone, and afraid, and abused, and neglected all her goddamned life, so why should that stop now? And as I sat there looking at her, I wanted to grab her up in my arms. To hold her tight and promise her that everything would be okay, and that I would keep her safe, and that we would do this together.
Instead I picked up the nearest object and hurled it at my reflection. I HATE YOU! we screamed in tandem, using my lungs, my voice. YOU’RE BROKEN! YOU’RE USELESS! I FUCKING HATE YOU! And so it went on, the salt of hot, angry tears burning my trembling lips as we smashed and stomped and screamed, a lifetime of pain flooding out all at once. She beat at my chest angrily as I tried to soothe her, tearing at my skin and telling me again and again how useless I was, how I couldn’t save her. How could I when I was so very broken myself?
In desperation I called for backup. I begged someone to help me contain this overwhelmed and outraged child that was throwing a tantrum, inside me. Destroying my room, destroying my body. A good friend offered to call an ambulance and the panic rose to a deafening crescendo. I shouted cruel, nasty things at the computer screen, trembling fingers trying to transcribe and rely the rage onto him. I begged and pleaded for help, but that inner child refused to be sated. She wanted to give in. She wanted to give up. They say it can’t rain all the time, but she’d tell you otherwise, sitting there on the curb all alone under her own little rain cloud.
I spent the evening in the Emergency Room, not for the first time. They asked if I’d had thoughts of hurting myself or someone else. Yes. They asked if I acted upon those thoughts. Yes. They asked if I could show them what I did. Yes. I uncurled my leg from underneath me, unable to look over at Brandon’s Mom who had no idea why she was taking me to the ER but had complied without hesitation when he asked. I didn’t care that I’d hurt myself for the first time like this in over a year, but the hundredth over a lifetime. I cared about hurting her, about hurting Brandon, about the friend I’d hurt just hours ago, about all those who desperately tried to offer the help I begged for, but who the little girl in me always fights away.
Some battles just need to be fought alone. There’s so much more to be said, and I’m sure in time the strength will come to me to share it. But right now I need to focus on healing, and mending the damage that’s been done. Little one, if you’re in there listening, you’re not alone. I can’t promise to make the hurt go away, but I do promise to do everything in my power to help you shine. You are not weak. You are not broken. You are a warrior.
And you’re safe now. I love you…
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*Lady cave: My office/craft room/personal fortress, what have you. I’d say it’s my way of fighting the patriarchy (men have man caves!) but mostly I just like saying “lady cave”…
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Thank you so much to the following Tribe members for reaching out with your tweets and messages of love, hope, and concern. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone:
@SnowXwonS, @cheojackson, @mybleedingink, @unconventional, @crazysorts, @Ballpit_Gangsta, @TheLadyH86, @NomTweet, @PhoebeNickel, @bunnyhuffer, @IrisinLove, @dullandwicked, @caitadams, @Disobedientpike, @AnInfiniteJest, @jbassset, @Stey921, @MamaCuckoobird, @June_Leighton, @bronxquotes, @wlr312, @DesertSolstice, @b0nb0n80, @FloozyCountess, @WriterDann, @gobliss, and of course the woman who brought us all together- @TheBloggess