Monday, January 21, 2013

Fighting the Battle of Myself

I'm in a good place, right now, in this moment. In the past week (after too many things happened in quick succession to list), I've been able to own "I matter." I play with it, I savor it, I say it to myself and I hold it to my breast like a small, warm animal I must keep safe, experiencing a nascent joy as it pulses through me.

But I have to fight to keep it. I can sit with in for a few moments, and then grim armies at my gates will start their bombardments again. And they start to overwhelm me, and they close in and the sky starts to get so dark, and I have to struggle so fervently to pull this small warm thing back to me.

Did you know that I matter? I don't think I did. Not really. And then I started crying and people started listening. And then I started witnessing other people who believed they mattered. Who were so open and honest about how much pain they experienced from so many people in so many places who, in unremitting savage chants, pound like wardrums in the assault on our souls. And they were so open about that hurt, and still they held onto the belief that they mattered. I was in awe, that one could do that. And I thought "I want to do that. I want to own my hurt and my worth. I want to own myself." And I started trying.

Did you know that I get to decide? "Decide what?" I asked my therapist. "That's it. You get to decide." This, I did not know. I did not know that I get to decide who can make me feel worthless. I did not know that I get to decide what my expectations are and whether I'm reaching them. I did not know that I get to decide these things, and then I get to decide when to listen to others about change. That I don't have to be my father, who always decides everything, but I also don't have to be the scared little child who has to let him. And as I confront change and the child whispers "You can't, you don't know how, they always win they always leave they always win they always leave," I can hold that small warmth and say "I don't know how. But I learn to decide what "winning" is. I can learn to decide whether I'm succeeding. And I can learn to decide who I can trust not to leave." And I've started trying.

It is hard. It is hard to own my hurt, to realize how deep my self-hatred goes, fueled by a million things big and small each day that say with unthinking conviction "You are abomination. A repugnant punchline whose very existence is as much a testament of your deep wrongness as it is a threat to the wellbeing of Good, Normal people everywhere." It is hard to confront the abyss it fuels within myself and how that darkness warps me and my views of those around me. It is hard to break down in front of others and to let them see the immensity of the pain and terror and sadness as my words falter and then fall out clumsy and dull. And it is hard to rematerialize anew and not calcify or dissolve again.

It is hard. But I am trying. Trying to hold onto "I matter." And "I get to decide." And "I matter, and you do too. I get to decide, and you get to too." I am trying to remember that, in order to let you decide and matter, I don't have to erase myself. And it is so, so hard.

In this moment, I think I can do it: I think I can win this battle of myself. But it's going to be a hell of a fight.

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