Therapy has been the best thing in the world for me. I’ve been really, really strong lately (see my 5 Things post that rocked the Nets). I’m not having to talk myself into getting out of bed, and I’m not having to forgive myself for every move anymore, because I know that every move I make isn’t a mistake. It was really exhausting living like that, and I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. Imagine knowing that, no matter what you do, you’ll automatically assume it was wrong: shoe choices could ruin my day, and if Starbucks messed up my Mocha Latte, it was somehow my fault for going there. If you could go a day without coffee, Fina, this wouldn’t have happened.
Do you see what abuse does to the abused? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. In order to have a jump start on Mike’s rage, to be certain I could ‘beat’ him at his own game (terribly ironic use of the word there), I would play out scenarios in my brain and choose which was the least likely to end badly. After living this way long enough, the part of your brain that protects itself from traumatic events keeps protecting… I’m always on guard.
Lately, I haven’t been doing this and, in some twisted way, it’s allowed me to cry more. I cry about everything, too. Which makes it strange when I cry and smile in the same day, almost every day. But I keep going. It’s nice to feel something and anything…or everything… again.
Which leads me to tonight’s post:
I love draping a scarf around my neck, zipping my coat until it reaches my chin, and stepping outside into brisk, cold air. Hot drink in hand, there isn’t anything better than looking at Christmas lights that make every night seem movie-scene worthy. A girl and her boy, ankle-deep in snow, kissing while the world turns around them. Christmas lights make the scene, really. Can you see it? The people are wrapped into each other, and the lights are white and red and green. Slowly, they stream across the screen and wrap themselves around the beautiful girl, and then around her boy. Yep, that’s Christmas.
This will be my third Christmas since Mike. I know that seems like a long time, but my healing process has been slow.
I was numb. I was rebuilding my broken relationships with friends and family. I didn’t care about Christmas. My old job had just rehired me, so my family was providing me with new clothes to get back into the classroom. I was hyper-focused on rebuilding my life, so my feelings and habits were of very little concern.
I was upset about (angry with) another boy. The one I used to keep my mind off of Mike (and promised that I wouldn’t talk about again). The non-relationship served as a way for me to ignore pain and unresolved feelings. Last Christmas, I focused on myself, on buying my family presents that would show them I’d been trying to pay attention, and on my kids that weren’t able to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Christmas 3 (this Christmas):
I can’t listen to Christmas music. It’s sad. I mean really, really sad and only happens when I hear Christmas music. No love song or break-up song causes this reaction. Just Christmas music. So I’m avoiding it. It’s easier that way.
I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to pull thing apart to realize what was bothering me. My brain was still protecting me from myself.
I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for everyone to remember that nobody is bulletproof. I know, for me, that when I’m not feeling something the should provoke emotion, it’s because I’ve shutdown enough of myself that I’m numb …and I’ll feel it later.
Sometimes I catch myself speaking, “I’m not bulletproof,” out loud. It’s not the saying that will change my heart; it’s the belief in it and myself. But the truth is, I’m not bulletproof, and I don’t have to be. Nobody should have to be. I can’t change the number of shots that were fired once. I can’t blame myself for building up armor. I won’t hide behind it or carry it anymore, either. I’m trying to force myself to listen to little doses of Christmas music. I think it’s probably a good thing that I’m feeling sadness in its pure form.
The first song I chose to listen to? Of course I’ll share: