The healing river

Sometimes I get scared at just how much trauma I’ve got. Like, HOW I am still alive – and sane – after all of that? I get flickers of memories, flashbacks that float in, realisings that drift by and it floods me with fear and regret, that I chose this life for me. That the unborn me decided to come down to earth and step down this route. But she obviously thought she could handle it, and that I could too. I know I can too, but I also know in moments of doubt I can take a leaf out of her book – the one that trusted this life to me – and remember that I must be here because I can handle it. I must be here because I am a motherfucking champion and my strength overflows me.

But I seriously do get deeply worried and full of fear, and also curiosity about just HOW you heal this shit? Like, HOW do you heal such undiluted and unimaginable terror? Like, HOW do you end up okay? And HOW the FUCK am I okay? Is this the beginning of me not being? Is this the ending of the okayness I have been seeing so far? Is this the beginning of it all going to shit? Of me going to shit? I have asked these questions continually this last year and a half…and perhaps I will continue to always, because there’s an element of hilarity amongst the fear, that I still won’t trust my strength no matter how deeply it has shown me that it is here. Like SO shown me.

The funny thing is that in all of this, I have these moments of terror and worry and self-fucking-doubt but then I notice how far fetched they seem too. I used to be totally swamped, completely flooded by the trauma that would fill me. The memory. The old stories. The images. The feelings. In other words, my days were constructed of
flashbacks and reliving nightmares. Now they’re different. Now they’re more subtle. Fuck, WAY more subtle. If I give myself credit I’ve stepped a million stones from where I was once, just last year. I’ve stepped a million stones along the river of healing, it just can sometimes feel so far from it…from that. It feels like I’m just getting deeper, the water is getting thicker, the stones are getting more scarce, my wellies have got holes in and I’m basically bare foot.

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I’m cold and I need a picnic but the nearest shop is a million miles away, and I don’t have a million stones to get there. Instead I realise that I’m not far from home. I don’t have to go to the shop. I don’t have to do what others do or follow others’ route. I can jump out of the river and onto the river bank, leaving my broken wellies behind to put on comfy slippers at the door of mine…my home inside me .I can light the fire and cook on the stove. I can nurture myself deeply and step away from the cold that was haunting me, but sometimes is just what I need. I can let my journey through the water, settle back to a dream and a distant memory. I can give myself a break and I can give myself a sense of place.

This metaphor feels just so like my journey with healing. I can now take comfort and refuge in a home inside myself, and I never could do that this deeply before. I still feel like I’m swimming and the river is neverending, with rest breaks seemingly miles away but compulsory…I fill with fear as though there are end goals and markers along my healing road that I am not getting to, or routes that others took but I am not. I’m not even sure where they came from apart from the judging head of my inner critic. I am beginning to see that I don’t think these milestones and goalposts even exist. There is no one perfect route or way to be like all the rest that have trodden this path too. The ambition and determination is my perfectionist trying to do her best, but she doesn’t need to. She is trying to make me heal as best I can, so I don’t feel like such a mess.

But perhaps to be a mess is to hit a million of the healing milestones (if they did exist) because I’m allowing for it. I’m allowing for what needs to happen in order to be free and in order to continue to be me. I am allowing for messy. And that’s basically as fucking healing as it gets.

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