How my attitude changed

It took a long time to admit that I had been abused. It created shame and guilt, and there were a lot of issues around trust. I was also (still am sometimes) extremely angry. I felt there was no safe way to vent the rage at being let down, at being disconnected, unable to speak, unable to be listened to, and the abuse went on and on and I was only able to connect with it through the access it gave me to feeling wanted, but not in a way that valued me, only for the pleasure that I gave.

I abused a lot of substances, including food, which was the most dangerous for me, because the most difficult to avoid. Worse than alcohol or drugs or sex was the inability to regulate my intake. This was a symbol for me of the chaos I felt internally. I could not get away from it. Many times I thought I would find a way of killing myself. But I was too much of a coward to do more than make scratches on the surface of my skin.

Then I found, very gradually and slowly and with lots of set backs, that I was able to understand myself as though I was watching someone else. It became a trick that I used, and I would soothe myself with soft words, like speaking to a child. I would manage to allow that the day was not ruined, that each time I fell, I could pick myself up. It was exhausting, of course. It still is. But I found I had a sense of compassion for this flailing creature. It was not brutality that had created my wound, but sensitivity. I held myself very gently in my own attention. I began to see the possibility that my own capacity for language, for story-telling, and for listening to stories, human and more-than-human, might offer some consolation to my poor bruised body and brain, the bitten skin around my nails, the heavy yellowed lids, depicting liver damage, the palpitations, the breathless sobbing in the dark. Inside it all, there remains a sliver of lucidity, of a belief in the essential wildness of my own nature, a wildness I share with every living system, with the very way itself. Broken, ragged, but still here, still able to burst with joy at the sound of water running over rocks. My healing is the healing of my own interconnectedness.

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