I woke up this morning feeling humiliated, broken, hunted.
It took me a few minutes to realize it was only a dream. I can’t seem to shake it though. As I sit here writing, drinking my cup of tea, I still feel shaken. I still feel shaky, and a little bit nauseous. I don’t want to remember the things in my dream – I don’t want to remember feeling powerless, helpless to stop what was happening to me. I feel like things happened as I watched in horror, trying to get away but unable to do so.
My head is not a friendly place to be right now.
I’m currently in my hometown, visiting friends and family. It’s good, but hard too. This place is home to a lot of painful memories. I just end up feeling uneasy here, especially when I’m left alone with my thoughts. Too much happened. When I left for PEI last year, there were definitely things that I was running away from.
Don’t get me wrong – I adore PEI, and my decision to move there was one of the best I’ve ever made. I did get the fresh start I was hoping for and I’ve built a wonderful life there. I regret nothing.
But the memories I was hoping to leave behind came with me, stuck like burs to my hair and clothes. The harder I’ve tried to get them off, the harder they’ve clung.
Being here again is a bit like pulling off the bandages and exposing the memories to light. It’s painful – oh my god, it’s painful – but it’s good too. There’s breathing room now, space to air out. There’s fresh air here.
I’m finally opening up to friends and family about what really happened. I’m clearing out the shame. I’m shining a light on the places I thought no one would understand, that I thought I would be shunned for, laughed at. I’m slowly coming out of hiding.
I’m gradually learning to name the things that happened, to point to them and say, “This was not my fault.”
It’s 8 million kinds of hard. If the people who hurt me could hear me, they’d be furious. They’d tell me that I was horrible, manipulative, a liar. That they were angels and that they’d never do those things. That it was my fault. That I was the one who was broken and wrong. Not them. Never them.
I wish that I could end this with a feel-good moral – a lesson I’ve learned, a series of how-to’s, steps to take. I wish I could wrap it up in a shiny pink bow and tell you that everything is okay now.
I can’t though. It still hurts. I still feel awful. I am still learning to be comfortable within myself and within my own skin. I still feel shaken and humiliated by the dream, despite being up for a couple of hours. There is no pat, easy answer here. Just honesty.
It would be so much easier to put my armour back on, to tell you that I feel great after writing this, and that I am strong and I’m going to win this. I don’t know that though. I hope I do. But I definitely don’t feel strong right now. I feel small and vulnerable.
But I’m tired of lying and pretending that I’m okay when I’m not. Isn’t it braver to be honest and tell the world that no, I’m not okay, that this isn’t okay and that I don’t know when I’ll be okay? And that that’s okay?
Maybe my only moral is this – permission. Permission to be not okay. Permission to be in pain, and not together, and not Ms. or Mr. Positivity Sunshine Pants. Permission to be terrified. Permission to be angry. Permission to feel uncomfortable in your skin and to take as long as you need learning to love yourself and to heal your wounds.
Permission to be a raging maniac because your soul is howling with pain. Permission to hide for the day. Permission to shower 5 times today as you try to feel clean again, to wash away the dirt, to scour your soul. Permission to be filled with sadness, and permission to do nothing at all.
I’m giving myself permission to be here, in this place, without trying to fix it or be someone or something else. If you need that permission as well, I hereby grant it to you – permission to be wherever you are right now, guilt-free.
Ms. Positivity Sunshine Pants be damned. I’d rather be kind to myself.