I am as I am because I am traumatised.
I could trot out my stories again, to try to persuade you- that is, persuade myself- that it really was that bad, that anyone in these circumstances would be this hurt. But that does not matter. If any person of more than minimal resilience could bear my burdens, hardly noticing them, they have still overwhelmed me. However strong I was, I have been overwhelmed.
Now, having self-respect for the first time, I no longer deny my trauma. “Get up, get up, Get On With It!” cried the inner critic, and I reply that I would if I could. I had a lovely time this morning: I cycled in the sunshine to Swanston for tea with Richard, who complained that the OED has accepted the “wrong” use of the word “refute” to mean “deny”. I can cope with complex human interaction.
These stories: serious threat of loss of funding and job; bullying and failure; failure; failure and loss of funding and job; failure. Ah, that’s interesting. Thinking of this post, I was planning to talk about various unpleasantnesses, but I am quite happy in certain social situations and even with Quakers. However I am quite literally work-shy, though that term is a pejorative, rarely or never thought to be a mental condition. The thought of going into an office, paid or voluntary, or starting the kind of project I used to undertake puts me into avoidance behaviour. I called this post “Affirmation” and thought of writing about how I was going to self-care by seeking out social situations. This realisation changes things.
I am Abigail. I have been badly hurt. I will care for, nurture and value myself as best I see how.
And then, something wonderful, and passing strange.
I am- upset. Sad, and likely to weep, without knowing why. And-
part of me-
asks, What is it? Something existential about my whole life, or some small matter just today?
That- part- is not unsympathetic, but still misses the mark. It is like a man seeing his wife crying, and asking “What’s wrong?” However kindly meant, his intention to find the cause of the problem and fix it is not right, in the moment.
I think of Robert Holden’s mirror exercise. “I am willing to make today the best/happiest day of my life.” Perhaps “let be” might be better than “make”. I want to let go of judgment as to what “best” might look like. What
part of me-
is doing the making?
In the shower, again. I permit the feeling of upsetness. Then,
Another part of me!
A wonderful part of me!
Beauty and Delight
in the upsetness
I I I- I- I- I- I- I- AM! I- AM!
feeling the upsetness
permitting the upsetness
I- beauty and delight- repeat
feeling the upsetness, then joy, and finally singing it, to a simple I , , , V , , , IV , , , V , , , … chord progression, bass line and descant, dancing to it….
I Am is the only affirmation I need