I cried last night.
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t all gentle flowing, doleful eyes a la Audrey Hepburn, I’m so beautiful when tears run down my cheeks, kinda crying.
These were gut wrenching, oh look my face is all screwed up and mascara is running down my cheeks in ugly black rivulets, kind of tears. These were seriously from the bottom of my toes, ripped out of my heart kind of olfactory run wild kind of waterworks.
He’s not particularly good with crying women. Like many a man. He wants to fix it. Make it stop. Make it work again kind of a guy. What do you do with an irrational, highly emotional, crying from the gut kind of a situation?
Fortunately, he chose to stay present. To stay put in the face of the deluge and simply let it pass.
It was not all pretty. But we got through it.
Which is why I’ve realized I need to make some adjustments to my time here.
I need to give myself some self-compassion, some self-care.
I need to take a break from outward expression to inward exploration, inner healing.
Eleven years ago, when I first began the journey away from abuse, I went online to find answers to what had happened to me. One of the very first places I happened upon was a site/forum for women and men who had had experiences with psychopaths. Suddenly, in reading the stories and comments people posted I discovered, OMG! It wasn’t all me. I wasn’t crazy. I had been in a crazy making situation, but I wasn’t crazy.
After a couple of weeks of exploring the site and its sister site, The Narcissistic Personality Disorder Forum, I decided to write a post, to make myself visible online. The first question I was asked was to tell them who I was.
I remember laughing when I read the question, “Who are you?”
Who am I? I didn’t know. I was so broken, so scared, so lost, I honestly couldn’t answer the question without breaking down into tears. Then I read the question more carefully. They weren’t asking me to tell them who I was actually, what they wanted was for me to tell them my screen name. They wanted my online identity, alias, moniker, pseudonym.
Something that was my unique identifier in the group — but also something that would keep me safe from being easily identified should the psychopath try to find me.
At the time, Ellie was lying by my feet. It was her favourite place to be and my favourite place to have her. I looked down at her and saw this amazing creature who had stood by me, no matter what. and, as she had done in real life, she became my alter-ego online.
To this day, I am still known as Ellie to many of those courageous women and men I met in that forum.
To this day, Ellie remains my inner guide and my protector.
Yesterday, I with a very dear friend who is also my spiritual/healing guide to talk about Ellie’s loss and what I need to do to keep myself safe and well on this journey. She calls it ‘The Green Zone’, that place where self-compassion and self-care override my natural desire/escape mechanism of throwing myself into work and taking care of other people/fix the world kinda response to trauma.
“What can you do for Louise that is self-soothing?” my dear friend asked.
I need to take a break from writing outwardly every day, I said without hesitation. I need to move into my own journey without thinking first about how I present it to the world.
Which means, I’m taking a break from being here everyday so that I can take care of me, myself and I with loving compassion.
The wounds from the past have long since turned to wisdom, but, the trauma is still there. I think it is something I have come to know as truth — we can heal the wounds, we can grow resilience and strength and patch up the cracks. and we can move through the pain and horror. We can heal.
The trauma of the past, however, can still be triggered in moments of deep pain and sorrow and loss.
To ensure the present doesn’t connect to the trauma, self-care is vital. It is essential.
And sometimes, to give ourselves the gift of healing, we must move away from centre-stage into the wings so that our arms can rest as we lovingly move through the broken places.
“I feel so broken, yet I know I’m not broken,” I told my friend yesterday.
Can you live in that tension knowing the truth is that you are not broken? she asked.
Yes. I replied.
And that’s what I have decided to do.
To live in that tension. Explore the edges of the broken to find the gold that fills the cracks.
Or, as Peter Mayer sings in his beautiful poem, The Japanese Bowl
I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold
So now every old scar shows
from every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be
But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a higher price
I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.
You will be seeing less of me in the weeks ahead. I will occasionally post, but not regularly, and not often.
I will be taking care of me.
Thank you my friends for your love and support. Thank you for being here with me. I love and appreciate you all.