Here We Go Again
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Recently, I've been revisiting a topic that I have spent, literally, thousands of hours and thousands of dollars dealing with -- my history of abuse.
I spent the better part of a decade dealing with nothing else. Over the course of the last 18 years, I somehow managed to transform myself from a blithering mess to a fairly functional being -- and there is nothing I would love more than to swish my palms together in that famous "dusting off" gesture and say: "Well, that's done!"
But it doesn't seem to work that way -- so far, at least.
For me, at least.
In the past few months, external circumstances and internal cues have signaled to me that it's time to take another look -- at ghosts I thought I'd vanquished, and scars I thought I'd healed.
When I started really working on my abuse shit, way back when, my greatest fear was that I was utterly and irrevocably "broken" -- that I would never and could never recover.
I didn't want to be the woman with the awful, dramatic history -- the terrible tale to tell. I didn't want to be a victim.
And I'm not.
I'm a survivor.
Still, each time I discover that there is another layer of this onion to peel, I go through some large or small ritual of resistance. Most recently, this arose when I, my Beloved, and a dear friend chose to do personal work together. We each chose an area of our lives that we knew we wanted to work on, and we did weekly check-ins and intention setting.
I chose the state of my relationship with my FOO (Family of Origin) -- especially with my parents. They are now in their mid-80's, and I in my mid-50's, and I know that they will not be around forever. I love them, and I know that they love me, but there are places in my relating with them that I know are not as deep as I would like them to be.
That's where the resistance came in. As my two compatriots checked in with verve and gusto on their chosen areas of focus, I found myself dragging my feet, making excuses, and bringing my energy to the assignments I'd given myself in a half-hearted, half-assed way.
That's when I began to suspect that that pesky onion was stinking up my psyche again.
Seriously, I've peeled more skins off that fucker than you can believe.
It's kinda funny though -- the closer I get to the core, the less traumatic each peeling seems to me. That's a hopeful thing.
And I think that's a big part of what's kept me from blogging. Part of what marks me as the "New Improved Portly Dyke -- Now More Functional!!" (in my mind, at least), is that my abuse history is no longer the central issue of my life every single day -- and I think that when peeling time comes around again, I get scared that it will subsume my life as it did 18 years ago.
But truth is, this is a huge part of what I've been thinking and feeling about internally.
I've been carrying on with my routine and doing what I do. From outside, you probably wouldn't notice much difference, but inside, I'm having tectonic plate shifts and long talks with myself, and it all feels intensely personal and important -- but there's also a lot of self-talk that says that no. one. on. earth. would. be. interested. in. hearing. about. this.
And I talk back to that voice and hint that maybe, just maybe, it might be very important to communicate my experience to the world. For me. For someone else.
So, when I said that I was going to just let you in on what's been going on in Cranium-Portly, this is what I'll be letting you in on.
I have no idea whether it will be worth reading. I have great hope that, at the very least, it will be worth writing.
It all kind of came to a head a couple of weeks ago, when I was talking to my Beloved about how much the whole torture thing was bothering me.
Regular readers here will know that I don't blog that much purely political stuff -- the reasons for this are complex and more than I want to go into in this post -- suffice it to say that I was really surprised at how politically-activated I felt when I regarded the torture issue.
I talked about this with my Beloved, because I have strong feelings about being pro-active and working towards things rather than against things, and I wanted to find a way to take action without going into "fighting against" mode. I wanted her advice about approaches and actions, and I wanted to understand why I was so activated about it.
She said: "Well, I'm not surprised that it would be intense for you, given your history."
And I was stunned. Stunned because I had not even considered that angle. It felt a little scary to me that I hadn't seen it, and at the same time, it seemed a mark of healing.
I am a survivor of abuse that would be described -- with no hyperbole involved -- as torture.
It seems impossible that I could fail to see how that connected for me with the issue of state-sponsored torture authorized and perpetrated by my government, but I did fail to see it until she said it out loud.
Therein lies the onion-skin I'm peeling now.
Is it a sign of dissociation that I didn't see it, or is it a sign of healthy objectivity that I didn't see it?
It doesn't matter what the answer is -- I only know that I am compelled to get to that answer.
I have to peel this onion.
Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:21 PM