I read the post, Secrets Of The Heart, on the blog, Not My Secret … Overcoming The Shame of Sexual Abuse, yesterday and it touched me deeply. I cried and cried. The type of cry that I could not and did not want to be comforted from. I needed to feel what I was feeling. My husband asked if he could hold me and I said, “No!” I did not want to be touched by anyone. It would have silenced me, shut me down! I needed to absorb the message, to understand what I was feeling.
The post is about how coping with sexual abuse means minimizing, and we do this so well all by ourselves. Even further, learning to somehow minimize everything painful in your life. We need someone else to tell us what that person just said or did was wrong or outrageous. We really don’t always know, because it only happened to us, it is no big deal. The ability to gauge and react to others’ behavior toward us is nonexistent.
One thing that touched me so deeply is the fact that I could write an endless list of events big and small throughout my life where what was happening to me was minimized by those around me. This made me recoil inside at those times.
I was trained from a very young age. My mother told me stories of how my older sister, who is only eighteen months older than I am, would come and take my bottle from me out of my crib. She would laugh and say how “cute” that was. I remember seeing a picture of me when I was very young holding out my ice cream cone just staring while the same sister ate it. They thought that was “cute” too. I have always just froze whenever someone said or did something to me that most “normal” people would react to immediately. That is sad!
This is why I didn’t speak up even in the face of physical abuse, but rather made everything outward seem perfect. It was insignificant, it was only me. But yet, I have always been able to see and feel the wrong done to others. That was the only wrong that was significant.
It isn’t that you don’t know it should matter, it is more like you need someone else to tell you that it does matter. It is like needing permission to feel. Because of this, your pain gets stuffed inside. And a lifetime of stuffing is a crushing weight. This probably plays a huge role in why abuse is so isolating. There is no more room for pain.
I think I have been crying out my whole life for someone, anyone to see what I see and acknowledge that these things were wrong… I think I have been trying to say this to myself in my writings and poetry.
I realized this has been a big problem for me. I don’t need anyone to minimize what happened to me, to tell me to move on. I haven’t ever fully accepted or realized completely what happened to me. My writing, my poetry is doing for me what no one else did or maybe even could.
When I write, I often don’t even know what I am writing until I am done. It is not thought out. When I am done, I read it and it feels as if I am reading a message to myself, as if it had been written by someone else.
Then I am able to take it in and often it is at this point that I even begin to feel it, to mourn it, to experience it, not in its minimized state, but with the weight and gravity of it all. Like a “normal” person would have done years ago!
I often thought that if my writing could even help one person, it would be worthwhile. I didn’t ever imagine that I could possibly be that one person.
Somehow I am experiencing and grieving through my writing, through letting it out. The sheer crushing weight, one post, one poem at a time. Otherwise it is too overwhelming.
Everyone has their process and journey of healing. I didn’t realize how much my own writing was a gift to myself, a path out of all the bondage,
Here I am, saving myself!
Ever since I shared my story, An Untold Life, I have been asking myself, “What is going on?” After each poem and blog post, I read it as if hearing it for the first time and I just weep as if it has taken my own
writing to make any of it significant enough, worthy enough of my own grief.
I am not sure why I am even sharing any of this other than to possibly help you to more fully understand what is going on with my writing too.
In so many ways this has been one of the saddest, most difficult parts of any of this.
That such tragic things can happen to a person, death, loss, abuse and because it only happened to me, it is somehow insignificant. I have lived my life wanting desperately for someone, anyone to really help me see the significance of any of it so that I could grieve it. You don’t grieve things that are insignificant.
And it turns out, my own writing is doing that for me. When I read this post on minimizing, it finally helped me to make sense out of what I have been experiencing and trying to understand. That if my writing were to stop, so would my ability to finally grieve any of it, to see its significance, to grieve like a “normal” person would. My own writing is proclaiming, “It is significant enough, sacred and worthy of grieving, that I don’t have to deny it, hold it in any longer, to minimize my own pain or sorrow anymore!” …And so I write!