I am not perfect, emotionally. I didn’t think I was, but I at least thought I was somewhat ideally psychologically equipped given my socialisation and its influence on my personality.
I’ve always spoken about my past with ease, factually and with understanding about how it has influenced my growth, mediated my behaviour, and undertoned my decisions. Almost anyone who asks, I answer honestly. I am unashamed, and it is part of life – some lives. These are very real events and talking about them, I thought, was a sign of progression.
I’m questioning this now, and I’m questioning the meaning of what it really is to have coped and dealt with your past. I’m especially questioning how that is done and if it’s truly possible. How does one know?
I certainly do not think that I haven’t progressed. I had just thought I had dealt with my past. What I can’t stop questioning now, is why I feel the need to tell people about my past when I want them to know about me. Does having dealt with your past mean that it’s no longer there – that you forget it? Does moving on mean that the memories don’t exist any longer?
I thought, and still think, that moving on means that the memories no longer hurt. That’s fine. But, why do I get stuck on it? Why do I need to get it out?
Last weekend, Rowan’s good friend came through to visit, and it is completely understandable that through 6 bottles of wine between 3 people, conversation got personal and heavy. But me? I got so deep that it made people uncomfortable and they simply just could not hear it.
This made me feel many things.
I didn’t know how to interpret the emotions that came with being asked not to talk about my past. I am partly offended, but I don’t feel like I’m upset by anyone, just uncomfortable with myself. I mean, this is my life. These are things that have happened to me, and they are very real, and have been very damaging. So, I’m sitting there, a person who has done a lot of painful introspect in order to merely accept my past, being told that they just can’t bear it. It’s about me – it made me feel less, again. I know that person didn’t mean to. I know it was self-preservation. It’s just – I felt rejected, and it chipped away at my self-esteem, because it takes a lot to live with these things and not feel like a grotesque human being. It was just eye-opening that such topics can affect a person like that, and how them being affected like that affects me.
I had lost a certain amount of control and needed to share. Not wanted – needed. Thoughts were circling in my mind like irritating fireflies and I had to get them out. I’d start with a point, but I couldn’t find a way to get to it without sharing pieces of my past. I needed his friend to understand why I thought what I thought, not just the thought. Him just hearing the final thought and not the journey to it was not enough. It was incessant. I needed him to know everything.
Why? I had just met this guy.
I know that my past gives me power. I know that sharing it makes me feel grounded, accepted, especially seen. Without sharing it, I feel faceless, yet for almost everyone else, I am okay with being faceless. So, why?
In sharing details to get to and validate a point, the point itself was completely overshadowed – lost, drowned. It became about my past. Given that I was not sober, I think this means something very dire for me. There is a revelation coming, and I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I have grown and accepted, and my propensity for understanding my various traumas is undeniably incredible. I know probably exactly how what happened has made me feel, and has shaped me, my thought processes, my kneejerk reactions, my capacity for coping, and my capacity to and the nature of my emotional reponses. That kind of understanding is a lifeline after prolonged abuse. Not needing to blame, or manufacture answers for why this person did that, how they could do that to you, or what they were thinking when they did that to you, is a thing of emotional greatness. This kind of thinking has saved my life and I speak so highly of that capacity because of that, irrespective of whether it sounds egotistical or not. I am not comparing myself to other people, I am comparing myself to myself. These are not thoughts processes or coping mechanisms I always had. When one gets past hating oneself and contemplating death over constant thoughts or flashes of events that happened to them years prior, develop value for one’s own emotions, or base their decisions on oneself and not fear of others – one would find the difference of mentality a thing of beauty too.
I have done really well. But last night, being asked not to talk about my past hurt me. I threw my past out there like blunt knives and expected it to not hurt other people, and when it did, it stumped me. I had harped on for ages, but the desire to share did not come from present pain and emotional turmoil – at least I don’t think so. It was need. I had crossed some memory line in my drunkness and could not stop. Why? Why was it all I could talk about? I was not emotional. I was not hurt. I thought I was being enlightening. My words lacked the emotion that man felt, like it was present for him – like he felt it. That’s not something I understand.
There are so many new questions.
Why do I constantly need to justify my thoughts? Why do I have this incessant need for others’ understanding? Why do I talk about my abuse when I talk about myself? Am I more than my abuse? Has understanding the consequences of being abused unintentionally become self-defining? Does my abuse define me, as well as make me? Who am I without my abuse?
This is uncomfortable.

One response to “Roots

  1. Cenéa I think I get you. I do the same, go very deep and TMI about my past and how it has affected my current character. Everyone I meet knows I have bipolar and a father who is a sociopath. But I don’t think it defines us. It visits us; our past. Just like my depression doesn’t define me, it visits and makes itself known and demands my consummate attention. But I think it’s how we handle it and control it (or try to) that matters. Don’t feel too bad; heart vomits are necessary and cathartic. I would love to DMC with you!


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