tin cans and string for years

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

—Alexis Carrel

I’ve been discovering that I don’t know how to take care of myself. Not in a practical, everyday sense, but a cognitive one. Consistent psychological abuse during my formative years meant I never had the chance to develop some important life skills, like how to nurture my emotional needs, how to make mistakes, and how to view myself without judgment. The poison was in the wound, you see, and the wound wouldn’t heal.

So far I’ve just started recognizing these issues in therapy, and it all makes me feel damaged and defective, likely why I’ve been hiding these parts of my life from others for so long. But I’ve been hiding them from myself most of all. It’s hard to go through the painful but necessary process of grieving when I’m alone; always easier to ignore things and keep going.

I asked Tiana to help me through this, cause now I know I can’t do it by myself. It wasn’t easy. Even the simple idea of asking for help makes me anxious. People who’ve had major roles in my life have hurt me or let me down in a very significant way, so trusting others has always been hard, and I’ve avoided being vulnerable for so long because of that.

Luckily, Tiana responded the way I needed her to, and it’s been a great comfort to give myself up to someone I can trust. To be able to cry in front of a person without feeling guilty about my emotions or how I’m making them feel. To be able to talk to someone who’s receptive and attentive and gentle and caring and appreciates my openness as well. To be the little spoon, cause everyone needs to be held sometimes. She lets me let go, and for the first time, I’ve been able to surrender myself fully and still believe that I’ll be okay. I can sigh with relief instead of sadness.

These are still baby steps though, and the whole process is terrifying. My sense of control is what makes me feel safe, even if it’s detrimental to my growth, and I’m still learning how to give that up. But I tell myself it’s progress nonetheless, which is what I need now.

3 comments

  1. This is wonderful, if slow, progress….. When I was 11 I broke down crying on my birthday in front of my sister, who asked why, completely puzzled. I said that I’d had such a good year that year that I didn’t want to leave it. I was comparing it to former, much more somber birthdays.
    I couldn’t imagine anything better.
    That was damage.

    She had the most wonderful reassuring laugh and hug and told me that, no, it was going to be BETTER, and full of things to be surprised at and revel in. This is the kind of person you have and that we all need, so much.

    So very thankful for them without whom we wouldn’t have continued. They don’t know how much good they do.

  2. What you’re experiencing is quite complex and somewhat contradicting, and can be difficult for the average person to understand. I can only say you’re fortunate enough to have a shoulder to lean on.

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