It’s the night before term officially starts. I have spent today trying to get as much of the admin planned and sorted, but I’m finding it hard to concentrate properly. I feel on the absolute verge of tears constantly, and in myself I feel more vulnerable and fragile than I have done in really quite a long time….perhaps this sounds crazy; I’m safe, why should I feel so on the verge? Well…memories can be and often are just as painful and destabilising as the real thing. Except somehow memories can be even worse, because there’s less dissociation. In an effort to recover I can’t afford to just keep blocking it. So whereas the real thing ended and was buried….the memory of it means I’m in pain. Weeks after a memory has surfaced and I’m still rocked to the core… with the memories now come the emotions I couldn’t afford to feel for more than a fraction of time when the event itself actually happened. And this particular memory has come as near to finishing me as any.
I’m scared about this term. Which again sounds crazy. It, by rights, should be safe. Whether or not this remains the case is anyone’s guess and for once I’m not holding my breath that the abuse is over. I made that mistake at the start of last term. And, the term before that. And, almost hilariously, the term before that (this time last year) when I moved in with an abuser. But actually, it’s not the fear of being abused or hurt that’s scaring me. They can’t actually hurt me anymore than I’m hurting currently. I hate to admit it but it’s almost like I’m past caring at the moment. I think my care will come back soon, this is just one of the waves. But today walking around campus in the rain, sensible head saying err what are you doing? Dangerous…. and all I could think was and who the fuck cares. There’s nothing they can do that’ll hurt as much as I’m hurting without them. I give up. I finished my walk and then made my way to a library, and made my way through the work, unable to push away the raw, hollow sensation of being broken inside.
And that’s why I’m scared. This term is crazy busy even by my standards. There’s so much. So much good and exciting stuff – lots of music, events, festivals that I will be helping to organise as is my role as President. There’s also gigs I will be performing in, which I love. There’s also the less exciting deadlines and exams…starting the day after tomorow. It’s busy. And it’s the type of business I normally look forward to, because although it’ll be stressful it’ll be good stressful, and I genuinely am looking forward to what the term will bring. But as well as being excited, I’m simultaneously scared and doubting myself. I’m already broken. How the friggin hell am I going to make it through this term? I know I want to and know I have to. But, I’m scared. I’m scared that I can’t. I’m scared of letting people down. Now I know some of it is anniversary stuff; this time last year I’d given up my course then became a prisoner in what was my own home. And I’m kinda mentally almost back there – feeling like I can’t leave the house (even though this is a different house and abuser-free) and that I won’t be able to do my course or my job because “I’m not strong enough.”
But I can’t just blame anniversaries, even though it is answering for a lot. The fact of the matter is I’m crippling myself, by holding this memory and all of it’s overwhelming emotion so close to my chest. Holding it in some desperate hope that maybe I can nurture it there. Maybe if I hold the memory of the event I can protect her from what happened more than I did in the real thing. Maybe she’ll know somehow, that I did want to hold her as tightly as I’m holding her now, protect her and take all of the hurt myself and spare her from any of it. That’s what I wanted to do. And by holding the memory so tight to my chest, refusing to talk about it (if I could ever find the words it would be a starting point) and just cradling her in my arms now and taking every second of the pain and grief and saving her from it, I can show her I did love her. I was never angry. They lied to her. I love her. I have to hold her this tightly to me and it doesn’t matter how much overwhelming pain I’m in if it means she isn’t. This is what I wish I could have done. And in a strange way, I feel closure from managing to do it now. Torture myself with the memory and the grief, whilst knowing no harm can come to her and she’ll just feel me holding her. That’s the way it should have been. That’s the way it is now. I can’t let go. I can’t talk or open my arms and let someone else share the holding of her. I can’t. I have to hold her just in case she can see and seek peace in knowing I will hold and protect her forever on.
But in using nearly all of my energy to hold the memory and the grief, I have little energy left. My mask is on, when it needs to be, because it’s no use to anyone if I cry non-stop in a corner. And that’s what will happen if I dare let this go. But then I’m no use to anyone either if I use all my energy trying to pretend I’m okay when I’m not. I’m really not. Not even close to being okay. As it is I can’t keep the mask on all the time even if I wanted to. Only when I need to. Grit my teeth, smile and breathe through the pain like I trained myself to do years ago. All the while feeling myself break and tear to pieces inside. I’m not ready to let her go. I’m not ready to let this go. How could I ever be? How does anyone find that inner strength? I admire them if they succeed in letting go and not forever feeling guilty for having done so. I can’t handle any more guilt, and if I let go I’ll drown in it. I want her close, so so close to me, in my arms tightly whilst I hold her. I have her here. Right here in my chest, in my arms, and even though the pain is killing me and is so overwhelming, does it matter really? She’s safe and protected inside, loved and held… and I’ll take any level of pain to keep her that way…
I’m scared to even physically say a word about it, in case it is just the touch needed to release it all and before I have chance to realise what’s happening, I’ve lost her; let go without realising what I was doing. Never have her this close again, never be able to protect and hold her, to take all of the pain and spare her, to hope she can see that I loved her. So I’m building up like a pressure cooker, feeling the tension and pressure rising inside my chest; my lungs seem constantly tight and full. I have a permanent painful lump in my throat. My shoulders ache like I’ve never known them too…and okay some of it is this fibro flare up, which has been pretty constant since the memory itself surfaced weeks ago, but a lot of it is just tension. I’m holding myself so tightly inside, so carefully going over everything I say and do to make sure I don’t do anything that’ll trip me into letting go. It takes so much of my energy, consciously thinking through everything. But it means she’s held and loved, so it’s okay. I’m so scared of letting go of her. So scared of letting go too soon, of her never having known how much I wanted it to be this way – me suffering only, not her, that I wanted more than anything to hold her this tight close to me, protected, whilst they tortured me.
I feel like I’m close to an edge of something, but I don’t know what the edge is, where it is exactly, and what will happen once I cross it. Will I collapse and be forced to let go? Will I die and stay with her always? That’s what I really want. Desperately. But I equally don’t want them to win. Will I suddenly find peace within myself and be able to let go? I have no idea.
And that’s why I’m so scared about this term. Because I’m holding some unimaginably huge and painful weight already and consciously keeping all of it close to my heart…leaving me vulnerable, fragile, and in pain….but also able to protect, hold, love her and take the pain just for myself…shield her from it. All of this has left me with such little energy and so completely on edge of something, and yet it’s the busiest term ever…and there’s anniversaries playing with my head too.
I have made it through some incredibly difficult periods of my life….sometimes with help, sometimes alone just because I had to survive. I think this term is going to be like surviving. Just closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and running through it…and just praying to God I reach the other side in one vague piece without having let people down. But normally when I’m in survival mode I’m aided by the fact I actually want to live…and that’s where this is going to be even more difficult, because in absolute honesty, I don’t want to, I just know that I have to. They are so sick that even the most personal choice – the matter of whether I live or not – is a choice controlled and shaped by knowing what they want. They want me dead. And I won’t give them that pleasure for as long as I can manage to keep running…