Took a little time out this morning, to regroup, get my head back together. Sat in the B&N Starbucks with my notebook and a warm drink and let some of my fears out onto the page. I'm glad I got out today. I needed to go and do and be in the context of the outside world. Needed to add an experience to the too-short list of Things That Didn't Hurt Me that I carry in my short-term memory. I knew if I turned on the computer I wouldn't leave it till I had to go to work. It was tempting to hole up in my room again all day. But I didn't! Go me.
I've been feeling a little off track, a little (a lot) overwhelmed. I recognize this feeling all too well. It puts me right back to 2007. Which is probably why I've been freaking out, and no wonder. What a year to go back to. Ugh.
But the Big Dream is from that year, so it makes sense, I guess. It didn't work out, before. So I am terrified of failing again, even though I have a way better shot this time around. It's so hard to believe in anything, and harder still to forgive myself for not believing. I don't like to admit how awful everything was. It hurts too much. I want to trust... but trust what? Nothing springs to mind. How can I trust myself, trust "God," trust in anyone or anything, when the vast majority of what I've known of life so far has been betrayal, heartache, violence, pain? Too much. It's just too much. If this is what I am thinking, no wonder I've been eaten up with anxiety. No wonder I've felt so far away. I want to be far away; far from these feelings, far from my past.
In allowing this dream back into my heart, I am forced to face the fact that it has not come true yet, and the reason for it not coming true. The reason that it is beyond scary. The reason I stopped pursuing it, years ago.
Last time I dreamed this dream, I got raped.
[God. My blood pressure plummeted, and I almost just passed out, typing that. I'm sure I must be white as a sheet. Deep breaths.]
3 1/2 years ago, I was getting ready to take the first steps. I had been gathering information, and mustering up my courage in secret, and I was poised to leave my family of origin behind, find my own way, move to California, be a nanny (or a secretary), go to college. I had been doing research, in fact, at my grandparents' house that night. And then my fragile hopes were shattered by a random act of violence, three blocks from their front door and two blocks from mine.
I retreated immediately to the core of myself, and all of my emotions went into hibernation. The devestating message I gleaned from this experience was: You will never escape. How dare you dream? How dare you even try? You are garbage. You are a dumping ground for other people's shit. You have no other purpose but to move through life as a magnet for violence. You will die at the hands of those who wish you harm. You will never escape.
I had suspected as much, for many years. But here was the proof. And here was I, finally old enough to put coherent summation to my suspicions.
And then there was a baby... and then suddenly, there was no baby anymore.
Oh, Ailis! My heart aches for you. Thank you for coming, sweetheart. Thank you for being a spot of warmth and light in the cruel and colorless world I knew. I'm so sorry I am only able to see and express this in retrospect. You did not come from evil, but despite it. I will always hate what happened to me, but I will never regret your life.
I am trying to give myself grace. I have to forgive myself, for needing a different pace than other people. For being different from them in so many ways. I also need to make room inside myself for the idea that there might be a few people out there who can sit with me in my pain, and get it, even never having experienced anything like it themselves. That for every five people out there who have said the exact wrong thing to me, perhaps there is one who would say the exact right thing, given the chance. Maybe those people are out there too, and maybe I will find them someday.
This is the beginning of finding that space, I suppose. A small opening in my thinking, and in my heart.