Both hands

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Julian of Norwich

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Child.  Sweet girl.

This is going to be so hard. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but that would be a lie- and I  will not lie to you, okay?

It is going to be hard for a very long time.

Someone was hurting you.  Badly.  You told, eventually.

You brave girl.

You did what you were supposed to do, as a child.  Someone hurt you, and you told the adults whose sacred duty it was to protect you.  Some rose to the occasion. Some, sadly, did not.

A lot of them are angry.

Their anger isn’t because you have done something wrong by telling.  Their anger isn’t at you for being abused, even though it feels that way.  It’s not even because they think you are lying.

Their anger is about them.  Their anger is at having their comfort threatened by an inconvenient and ugly truth.  Their anger is fear turned outward. Their anger is about being forced to confront the fact that they are adults who would rather throw a child to the wolves than disrupt their lives.  Their hateful words are actually a reproach to themselves.  They will now have to live with the knowledge that children have been, and will continue to be, hurt on their watch.

Every child hurt after you told is a stain on their souls, and they know it.  Imagine living with that.

You are going to try different things to cope.  You’ll eat.  You’ll starve.  You’ll stay up all night working on your make-up and hair- maybe if you LOOK okay, you’ll finally FEEL okay.  You’ll drink too much.  You’ll stay with people who treat you badly because that feels a lot like home to you.  You’ll hurt people who are good to you because it feels like an affront to what you believe about yourself.  You’ll not say NO when you want to because you’ve come to believe your NO is toothless.  You’ll volunteer on every committee, say yes to every ask.  You’ll try to be perfect, as though that’s even an option. You’ll exhaust yourself.  You’ll exhaust others.

You are going to be okay.

You will use all of these things as anaesthesia to avoid the pain, but here is the thing about numbing agents- they dull all feeling.  Not just the pain, my love.  All of it.  Joy and sorrow, peace and unrest.  And when you feel nothing, floating away is easier. And you cannot float away.

The world needs you, darling.  The world needed the little Daddy’s girl in the tutu, that little girl who worked up the courage to speak her truth.  It will require the awkward, messy girl who is all elbows and knees and crooked teeth, who likes animals more than people.  It will need the teenager who writes poems furtively in class.  The world will hunger for the angry college girl who crashes around, trying to make sense of the fury she feels.

The world will need the impossibly young mother, startled out of her frozen reverie by the cry of a tiny boy who will teach her how to love, and how to BE loved.

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The world will require her presence when her tidy life implodes, and she begins writing again because she quite simply does not know what else to do.

The world will need exactly you.  The broken parts, too.  Maybe especially those.

You are going to be okay, honey.  I promise.

I know.  It doesn’t seem possible.  It doesn’t seem possible that you will ever live without that ache, without that mantle of shame. It doesn’t seem possible that all of those the heavy things are not actually part of you, but they’re not.  You can lay them down anytime, sweetheart.

You are going to be okay.

Hang on.  Both hands.

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17 Comments on “Both hands

    • I know EXACTLY what you went through, because I’ve been there. Not only are YOU precious, you have an ASTOUNDING Courage and faith in knowing you WILL be ok. God will see you through ANY thing and EVERY thing. He is holding your whole being in his hands!!!

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  1. Thank you for this…and for being a truth teller. You bring courage and hope to so many of us…

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  2. As much as I love and admire your writing, man, sometimes it is so hard to read.

    And I know you truly do hold onto all that hope, with both hands even, and I wish I could access your peace and certainty for myself, but I cannot. No matter how hard I try.

    But I am glad you can. And that you can express it so well and share it with others. That’s such a tremendous gift to all of us.

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  3. “I know. It doesn’t seem possible. It doesn’t seem possible that you will ever live without that ache, without that mantle of shame. It doesn’t seem possible that all of those the heavy things are not actually part of you, but they’re not. You can lay them down anytime, sweetheart.”

    In tears, reading this one over and over. And trying so desperately to believe that this doesn’t have to be forever and that the heavy things can somehow be ever-so-delicately dissected away from me. Especially when I can’t tell the parts that are me from the parts that aren’t. But my hands are getting so, so tired.

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    • Oh Rachel, you sound so much like me.

      I’m sorry. 😦

      Keep working, though. You CAN get there. I believe.

      I’m not like Laura; I still have a long, long ways to go, and days I’m drenched and drowning in it — but every so often there’s a crack in the clouds and a sunbeam manages to make its way through, even if it’s still gray and watery — (yeah, lots of mixed metaphors, there)

      It used to be every time I heard a train (and I live not far from tracks) I’d indulge in my very dark fantasy, dream longingly of just driving in front of one — I never would, of course; there’s too many people who count on me, but oh man, did I WANT to. Yearn to.

      I didn’t think I should exist, that I had any right to exist, that I ever should have been born, and that the pain was too immense to bear, anyway. And wouldn’t I be doing everyone a favor?

      Only I kept coming here and holding on to Laura’s posts, and I kept going to therapy (even changed therapists), and I read things online and in books, and as hard as it is, I’m trying to do the work the new therapist recommends (gah, he wants me to love myself — he doesn’t know how big an ask that is — or maybe he does, but he thinks I can do it anyway).

      Okay – well — that might be a reach, but some days I don’t actually hate quite as much. And I can hear a train and it just be a train. Most times.

      Guess I’m saying.. when I was exactly where you are, maybe a year (more or less) ago, I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think I could even get to where I am today. It felt sooooo far away.

      Like I said, I’m not where Laura is, I can’t offer that kind of sunlight. But I can say hang in there, the clouds will thin some, or have a break in them, and even if that’s so far apart in time it feels like years, and is months — it can sneak in closer and closer in time, and you WILL find relief, if you keep working at it, searching for it, and getting the right help along the way.

      I thought I was coming and reading Laura’s writing to torture myself (hence the moth to a flame) but she pointed out it meant I was seeking the light……. I bet you are, too… and if you keep seeking, you’ll find some of it. I BELIEVE that.

      Liked by 2 people

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