To a lot of people white is sterile and boring. To me it is pure and breathes life into me. Don’t get me wrong, I love having other colors in my life. My next favorite color is all shades of purple. If I could, I would plant a field of wild purple flowers.
But white is something that is deeper than a like or love, I need it. It reminds me of my own purity before others defiled me. It makes me feel safe.
When we first moved into our home, I struggled for a long, long time. To put it mildly, I was paralyzed. I wrote about all of this in an earlier post. When we moved in, our goal was to paint every room ultra pure white within the first two weeks. That didn’t happen. One crisis after another drew us away from our goal. And with each passing crisis or project that we worked on, my heart sank a little more.
Now it is almost eight years later and we have only managed to paint the living room and dining room. These two rooms were no small project, I won’t get into why.
Over these past eight years, the painting of the rooms in our house has been a very emotional discussion for us. Emotional in a deep irrational way. Sometimes my husband asks me, “Why does this make you so emotional?” I can’t even think about it, or write about this without crying. The emotions run deep.
When the discussion arises over working on our house and these emotions inevitability arise, it makes my husband feel as though I am upset with him or disappointed in him. This causes him stress and anxiety. And it makes me feel sad and causes stress and anxiety in me because I am not disappointed in him and he has not let me down. I would never want to make him feel this way. He has worked tirelessly and has been amazing in his efforts to take care of our home.
But because I didn’t even understand completely why I am so emotional, it has been very hard for both of us. And because of this, I don’t talk about it very much anymore. Not talking about it allows me to be unaware of these deep emotions, but does not make them go away. We have gone a long time not having this discussion. But yesterday we did!
The emotions arose and we were caught once again in this stressful situation. Both of us love each other dearly and don’t want to disappoint the other. But these emotions sit in the middle of everything that has to do with our home.
I happened to say, I feel as though I have a house, but I don’t have a home! This made my husband’s heart sink. I didn’t mean it to hurt him. It wasn’t even about him. It is about whatever is going on deep inside of me.
Later that evening I mentioned this conversation to a friend. And while talking, I said something that gave me insight into what is really going on.
My friend has been so courageous and brave, compassionate and fearless, and kind and tireless in talking and listening to my inner struggles. From these conversations it has allowed me to discover things I would not have otherwise.
At one point I said, needing to paint the walls of my house white is like being raped and needing to take a shower for hours hoping to wash it away. You want to shower for hours to wash away the filth, the shame, the memory of what he did to you.
And then I realized, once the shower is over you have to face that no amount of water will ever erase the pain or shame. It will never take away what happened.
l then was able to face the fact that no amount of white paint will wipe away what happened to me. Even if we had painted every room in our home white, I would have been on my face screaming and crying that the pain is still here. Because we never finished painting the rooms, I have been holding onto this false hope that it would do just that.
Now I am left realizing that I need to face the fact that the rape and sexual abuse happened and nothing can take away the fact that it happened. It is amazing what our mind and emotions will do in the face of trauma. I have been clinging to a false hope that has been keeping me from dealing with the reality of the pain that lives inside of me.
Somehow, I have been unconsciously hoping against hope that the white paint would bring me relief that I now realize it cannot. Now I am left to hope that I can find the courage inside of me to accept what happened. That it did indeed happen, that it never should have happened. But most of all that it will be real enough to those who love me, to face it with me. The truth is, they probably have been ready all along, but I have not.
All of this revelation came from this deep need to be surrounded by white walls.
Damn those who stole what cannot be replaced. Who took what does not belong to them. Damn them for the pain and anguish they cause each one of us. That causes us to barter with life, with water, and paint and whatever it might be in order to avoid a pain that is too hard to face. For causing so much turmoil for us, and those who love us enough to stay and hold us through the endless unknown and irrational fears.
Psychopaths divide and conquer. They turn everyone against you. That is why so many of us are without family or friends. I feel as though an atomic bomb has gone off in my life, and I need to find a way to survive and start all over again.