I've faced down some pretty huge triggers this week. I feel ferocious. And I am proud.
One trigger was an invitation to a party. One was a birthday card. One was a web series. Small things, but each was fraught, and wildly contentious, and all came at me in the same week.
The web series is actually a good thing. It's happening on the blog of Rachel Held Evans, whom I respect, and whose subject matter I often resonate with and always find interesting. This week the subject matter is abuse, and the perspective of victims of abuse. Which is great; but abuse is not great, and I have suffered nearly every variation, and that has made it rough for me. I've been reading anyway though. Testing my own fortitude, you might say. And my fortitude is withstanding the test. I won't say it's not hard. It is very, very hard. But I can bear it. I've been bearing it for years and years.
The birthday card was from my mother. (I hate to even call her that, since she never bore any semblance of a mother, but to remove the title also removes some small portion of her shame, and she doesn't deserve that kind of grace. Or if she does, she won't find it from me.) I haven't spoken to my mother in almost 4 years. Apparently, despite all that has transpired and despite the court order I obtained to prevent her from doing so, enough time has passed that somehow she managed to build her fantasies back up to the point where she got it into her head that contacting me would be a good idea.
It was not a good idea.
A year or two ago, that card would have ruined me for weeks or even months. But receiving it on Monday only threw me off for a few hours, and I handled the situation before lunch. I sent that bad wolf home, literally and figuratively, and I felt as empowered as I did the day I decided never to see her again. The day I felt like dancing, when I realized I did not have to include her in any part of my life, when I realized I could protect myself and my family from people like her, the way she had never protected me.
I was thinking this morning, in the car on my way to work, about how I had always felt broken my whole life. And I realized I don't feel broken anymore. I don't feel fixed either, or restored or healed, or as if nothing bad had ever happened.
I just feel like me.
These scars are my scars. This heart is my heart. These choices are my choices. These tears, happy and sad, are my tears. I know I can do what I need to do to take care of myself. This is my life. All of it.
This is me.