…you are my angel, my darling, my star,
and my love will find you, wherever you are.
you are loved.
Every now and again, not very often but occasionally, when either pc or I are not doing so good, particularly if we’re little, we’ll send virtual hugs to the other (ugh if only they could be in person), and because we know how the other isn’t doing good we’ll send a really silly big number of them.
This word makes me think of how we know the other person is little and has shame roaring in their ear (because we both do this very occasionally), when whichever of us it is responds with something along the lines of I don’t need that many, I don’t want to be greedy. Its a big give away, not just that shame is noisy, but that we’re feeling too much or undeserving.
And that instantly makes me sad/mad. Because when we’re little we’re not just accepting love like little kids normally are. We’re bracing ourselves, informing people of our flaws to let them know that we don’t deserve it. As PC always says, getting ourselves before we’re gotten.
the gorgeous-est version of this song was my first thought (and i am a fan of dolly’s, don’t think i’m not, it’s just the wailin’ jennys are perfection, sorry).
and then, honestly, i thought about how much i kinda fucking hate mornings in general. how long it takes me to wake up, to feel ready to face the day. how some mornings, i open my eyes and just know it’s going to suck the big one. see my earlier post to refresh your memory, lol…
the majority of my mornings, i have access to pocketbrit coz of the time difference. her mornings are mostly without me (unless i’m awake coz of my job), whereas it’s my nights that are quiet. it is one of the pluses of my mornings. i definitely miss her at night but i think i would also find mornings lonely without her.
i do like coffee, though, and that’s mostly a morning drink at our house. so maybe it’s not the mornings i hate entirely but mostly the waking up part? i dunno.
People who have grown up in abusive families tend to have missed out on these growing up, I think. Maybe they totally clung to them whenever they received positive affirmations from people, or maybe they dismissed them, refused to let them in, shrugged them off as not truthful, they are only saying that because they don’t really understand, they don’t understand all the reasons you’re actually just terrible. Some people do both; I did. Both clung to any slight positive affirmation thrown my way, and refused to truly let it in. Voices inside my head citing off every single reason that the person was wrong to say what they did, backed up with the data of every single time everybody else said something bad to you, or wasn’t there.
Now, particularly when I’m young, I need (too) many of these from people that I have let in. (Which is not very many people – only pocketcanadian and my therapist). Sometimes my shame surrounding this feels crippling…because to me asking for affirmations – that I’m not alone, that my hurt is justified, that I’m not bad, that I’m loved, or even just that I matter, my hurt matters; all of it feels needy. It feels weak.
In both mine and pc’s circumstances, our parents are acting like nothing is really wrong. It is crazy-making. Like truly *crazy* making. I’m sure there are unfortunately so many out there that know exactly what I mean, and I can’t begin to sufficiently express how insane it makes you feel when your family are carrying on as though everything is just dandy. In my case having no doubt as to the abuse actually having taken place (after all, I didn’t tell them, they merely asked me to confirm it), but nonetheless having a family dinner complete with my abuser, as though we are one happy family. Most of the time I know that they are the crazy ones, but sometimes i start to truly question my sanity…have I lost it? Did I tell them? Am I imagining all of it taking place? Or are they right, is this just not a big deal but I’m making it into one?
This is maybe the most hurtful part of it all.
And so, my point to that last paragraph, was that having somebody by your side, rooting you on, confirming that yes, that really did happen, and yes they really are doing what they’re doing, and no my love, you are not the crazy one, they are the crazy ones, the crazy is theirs, not yours…Having those affirmations, is invaluable, and without it I don’t think I would be here. It feels like when you take the stabilizers off your bike for the first time and you have somebody running alongside you as you cycle…you’re still so scared, still unsure, you still don’t feel totally safe, but you know there’s someone right with you, keeping you going, there ready for when you fall, reassuring you.
summer feels like forever away, but i know it’s not.
and honestly, i just keep thinking about how after this summer, i’m finally going to meet pocketbrit when she comes to stay.
you know how labrador retrievers wag their whole bodies when they’re excited, and it looks like their sweet fuzzy doggo faces are grinning?
yeah. that’s how i feel about seeing her. i can’t fucking wait.
Sometimes I get so dammed mad and jealous that pc and I are so far apart geographically. Like, I’m a total jealous pain in the arse when other people get her in person and I’m stuck way over here. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what she says, or how genuinely she means it, she is just too far away for me to feel her care. It doesn’t feel enough. It drives me mad that the one person who actually claims she cares (and she does care, to be clear) and would hug me, be close and gentle and loving, is too fucking far away to prove she’d actually do it in person. Like, what good are words when everybody close enough to have to prove their words has told me different? Has not touched or hugged me, has not cared?
And then there are other nights, like tonight, where her words make me feel like I’m right next to her, like I can feel the things she’s saying, like I can feel my head leant against her side. These days make me feel sad too for some reason that I can’t completely pinpoint yet. I know she means it, I feel it, I feel her. And it’s more than I could ever ask for, and somehow I feel both so far apart from her, and yet right there next to her. I feel both simultaneously (and yes, I’m aware that makes zero sense). But I do. I long to really actually be in the same room, and yet I can feel it from here, it’s warmth and safety and gentleness. I feel close, really close. And that bit feels very very good. 💜
my little one’s favourite position is what i call spidermonkeying.
wrapped fully around me, legs wound about my middle, arms around my shoulders, face buried into my neck. nose pressed in tight, her warm damp exhales tickling my ears. the wanton flyaway sweet baby hairs at the top of her head blowing in and out with my own breaths.
sometimes, pocketbrit and i will ‘take’ each other’s wee ones, when it feels hard for us to comfort them ourselves. and my little one, always desperate to be held, will clamber up and do the same to her (and often, fall straight to sleep.)
and when she is held like that, it’s like an audible, tangible, palpable sigh is released from us both, i can feel it from here.
she is safe. we are safe. we can breathe. we can rest.
Well I’ve been doing a fair bit of this today…
This one is kind of mixed in with all the ‘being weak’ stuff that I wrote about the other day (or started to write about) And when I say mixed in, I mean glued together, being smooshed into each other by ten tonnes of iron either side, inside a locked safe with the key thrown away in a room 1,000ft under ground… ie really fucking together, and never not going to be. Crying is weak. That is the message that was planted into me very early on, and fed all the time. So really the first huge thing I think of when I think of me crying, is massive amounts of shame. And that’s all thanks to my family
I mean, to begin with I grew up with two older brothers, and that just in itself probably tends to result in a girl being a little tougher and less likely to cry (maybe? Maybe not. Depends on the family and the kids, but with my kind of brothers definitely so). Then you can include my hard mother, who doesn’t cry, never has been a crier. She was tough, not soft, and that was how I was to be. And then, y’know, you can add into the mix my entire childhood experiences. Violent father, abusive family, sexually abusive family, for that matter. And I was the mediator, the one required to keep her cool and keep the peace and make sure everything was okay. I was needed to be emotionless, and to a great extent I was. Different parts generally held different emotions, and I appeared to the outside world devoid of all ‘bad’ ones… Or “fine”. (that word had better not come up any time soon or I really will cry).
So, what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t cry much. I absolutely could get upset, but as I got older I started to switch my emotions off. But to do that, I absolutely did cry… late at night, all on my own. About things that were happening to me, about imagining family members dying, about characters in books and films. I had books and films that I would turn to when I felt like I needed to cry. And I would sob into my stuffed elephant, like really really cry… About fictional characters, and yet also about the feelings of things that were actually happening to me, in my very real life.
And that was almost every single night for a while. I took myself to bed and I read if I needed to, and I cried myself to sleep.
Fast forward on a few years and I felt like I must’ve cried myself out, used up all my tears, because I could no longer cry…my tactical books and films no longer worked, I was immune to them. I was noticeably hardened, to the point where people commented on it. All of it had been turned off because it was all far too much.
Im still so ashamed of crying, of being weak, of allowing there to be a place for my hurt and of people knowing that I am hurting. But I’m so much better with it. And I do think a certain Canadian friend has helped so much with that, by being kind and gentle and reassuring and sitting with me when it happens. I’m relearning to cry, and I really hate it sometimes, but it feels much better and safer with her by my side. She uses the phrase that “it feels like you will down in the grief” or “die from the pain of it”, and it really really does sometimes. Just today it all felt like too much to bear, it felt like I would never stop crying, and yet always, always, I have.
All of this is not to say that I cry a lot, because I don’t, I’m still getting there. But it’s more. Its also only ever on my own or with safe people, which so far only includes pocketcanadian, (though my therapist is close to being added to that list I think, if she stops disappointing me enough that I actually go back to her). But it’s so much better to give it space, to feel those feelings, even when you feel like you won’t survive them.
Lastly, this makes me think of pocketcanadian and how heavy my heart feels that she let’s me be there when she’s crying, that I’m safe enough. And it makes me think about how being on the phone to her and hearing her cry, is sometimes enough to make me cry too.
At the moment this word is making me think of pocketcanadian, the amazing friend I’m lucky enough to share this blog with.
She doesn’t have endless patience. Nobody does (or should), but lately, she’s so much more patient than I could ever ask of her. I mean she’s always been patient, but extra lately. And the best thing of all… Its been with one of my young ones that really needs it. The little one and i have spent the last couple of days listening to pc’s voice and rereading the conversations between the two of them. Because, pc has been so gentle, so loving and kind, and so patient.
Neither of us can quite believe our luck, because here’s the thing, my little one believes pocketcanadian. She believes her words and she believes her love. She always knew that it was genuine, but she never dreamed that it could actually be applicable to her too. That somebody, actually, really, wants to fight to love her. That they care. It’s amazing. And she’ll carry on fighting it a bit sometimes, keep thinking it isn’t safe, but she also knows it’s there patiently waiting. And that’s so much more than we could have dreamed of.
when pocketbrit and i meet by the sea, sitting fireside features hugely in our scenarios, so this really made me think of her tonight. and it is fitting, too, because christmas sucks pretty hard for both of us, and we both had varying combinations of work and family obligations and that same universal gd pressure to pretend and be happy, when really, i just wanted to crawl under the covers and awaken in mid-january.
so, when we head to the sea together, like if we’re upset, or having trouble sleeping, or are particularly sad, or just because we feel closer there, one of us inevitably sends the other a message, setting the stage, if you will. and, nearly always, there is a fire. sometimes it burns brightly, crackling, spitting sparks, blazing away as we watch. but most times, our fires are burning low and hot, with the light of its glowing embers flickering on the walls, permeating the cold and wind and chill of the salty air. it burns as we snuggle in and try to dispel the loneliness and sadness, as we try to find peace and comfort and sleep.
tonight, at the hearth in my head, there is just that kind of fire, deeply warm, gentle, soothing, as i reach for her hand to squeeze it a couple times, wishing us both the strength to get through tomorrow. that we may last through the pretending and pressure and expectations. we can do it. it won’t be easy, mind you, but i know we can. and when it’s hard, there’s always the sea, in its tumult and saltiness, its ebbing and flowing, dependable in its constancy.