Every writer should have an essay called “The Comfy Chair” when they’re talking about therapy. I started on the couch when I entered the office, and realized that my personality is definitely more of a wingback with pillow to put in my lap in case I need to do something with my hands. I always need to do something with my hands. In fact, it’s probably why I’m a writer. What better way to get past the teachers for not paying attention than to be so quiet I had them completely faked out? Now that the statute of limitations has run out, I will tell you that I never went to a single class in high school. Not one. I had the woman I was in love with in middle school and early high school, and then I had that PLUS a girlfriend my own age. I could sit in the back and write ALL DAY. Knowing what a gerund is? Osmosis.
I’m sitting in the chair turning the pillow over in my hands nervously when she asks me where I want to start. I told her that I wanted to start from the very beginning eventually, but that right now because of this other blogger that is literally psychotic (said that my abuser’s wife set up my abuser and this woman to be raped and killed, for instance), I was in a near-crisis situation because I can’t eat. (I would absolutely link this blog to hers if I did not fear that I would become implicated as well. I’ve met her a few times, and I do not want to dance.) I am not intentionally starving myself, it’s that taking the time out to eat is taking a luxury. I am so scared that I am down to fight or flight and there are no luxuries here. And this is my base self. My inner teenager. I can’t rest until I know that no one is hurting her, or I will go into absolute and complete shock and browbeat myself that I haven’t done enough to save her.
People tell me that it’s wrong, that I shouldn’t do it, etc. I tell them that if I’d figured out how to stop, I would’ve. And as a Christian, there is a large part of me flip-flopping between disowning her and forgiving her seventy times seven. This is the impossible choice. She has already made hers. I have not. Because my reaction is not dependent on hers. I’m not looking at this from the standpoint of what she decides. I’m looking at it from the standpoint of the kind of human being I want to be. My earthly self says to protect everything I have left in complete fight or flight mode because now I have figured it out and she is the enemy. She is the one that got inside my head, not the other way around. My heavenly self says that I am doing what I need to do to be a good person. That despite the level of damage, she’s the mothermentorsisterfriend I got, you know? I should never count her out because I’ll never get another one.
She is not the one I loved to the point of passion. It was much more than that. She was the one I loved to the point that redefined unconditional for me, and I can be proud of that. I didn’t lose the game. I resigned. That thought keeps me remarkably even-keeled until you catch me on a day without myelin. I’ve had a few of those lately, and they usually end up with me sobbing because I just can’t get it right- or can’t feel like I can, anyway, which is probably more universally accurate.
Maybe that is the legacy of abuse… cutting you off from the places in your heart that are capable of receiving love, while entrenching you in the places that give.