Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall.

 

Going through any kind of trauma presents challenges; walls that need to be dismantled. Brick, by brick, by brick. The journey of recovery is different for everyone. A short skip, jump and a hop for some; for others, much longer. I’ve travelled one of the longer ones. Five years and it’s only  in recent times that I’ve felt brave enough to properly stick my head above the parapet.

Today I took a huge leap.

I bought a mirror. A full length, scary as shit, mirror … And then I looked at myself in it. Something I’ve avoided for more than half a decade. I refused to have them in the house, became adept at ignoring my own image in store windows etc.

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I hated what I saw BUT I did it! 

So many of us spend our entire lives listening to the voices outside and in, continually telling us that we aren’t good enough. Breaking that record is really difficult and I take my hat off to those of you who have already found the courage to do so. Domestic abuse left me afraid of everyone and everything, including myself. I tried so hard to make it all okay, to stop the vileness that ran through the veins of the relationship. To make him stop. But I couldn’t.

‘I wasn’t good enough.’

 Despite my ‘logical-head’ knowing exactly where the land lies, the other part of me … the one that thrives on love, and passion, and warmth, and trust … has still got a way to go. I’m still not finished wrestling with the ‘it wasn’t my fault’ element of the equation. I’m not sure I ever will. And with that self-blame comes the need to avoid. People, contact … emotions.

I’ve spent so many years, walking around, avoiding my own reflection.

Avoiding me.

Myself.

And I.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I have no clue what lies beyond the looking glass. The thought of stepping through makes me feel sick with fear ,but for the first time in as long as I can remember, there is something else. Buried deep inside that knotted ball inside my stomach.

Excitement. Hope.

 A seed that’s been dormant.

Waiting to grow.

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When ice starts to melt…

When ice starts to melt…

 

After far too many years of being incredibly unhappy in a dark and turbulent relationship, I remember the exact moment I ‘remembered what happy was’. The exact second. My brain suddenly woke up and discovered that it still knew how to ‘do it’; despite having laid dormant for almost a decade. The exact nanosecond that I made the decision that I was never going to allow myself to be put in that position, where there was nothing but shadow, again.

That I would never let go of it.

Would never settle for less.

 

And I haven’t.

 

Life brings up and downs. I wallow in the high times and release low ones with relative ease; keeping hold only, of whatever lesson or gift was left on the beach as the waves rolled back out to sea. And there is always at least one of those. Usually both.

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Such basic emotions like happiness should be a given. A human right. But for so many they aren’t. No matter how dire an individual’s circumstances, the effect is the same. Our reasons for living, are stripped away until all that remains is a shell that exists on a diet of fear and self-protection. Eventually it becomes so much the norm that we all but lose the ability to let back in any light. Love and warmth becomes the stranger we hide from.

 

It’s taken me five years to reach my next ‘wake up’ moment. And my life has changed all over again. This weekend, someone gave me two gifts. The first is one I already treasure. Time. Given with no demands. No expectations. Nothing required in return.

The second, was one I didn’t even realise was (still) missing from my life.

Safety.

Security.

Total trust.

Twelve hours spent wrapped up in someone’s arms, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, not just feeling but knowing that nothing was going to hurt me. No matter how big the boogeyman hiding under the bed, I had nothing to be scared about.

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No adrenaline required.

Fiery relationships force you to adapt to survive.Each and every action meticulously planned to maximize damage limitation.   Fiery childhoods mean it’s a honed skill that is entwined with the atoms that create your very being. Self-defense and protection, as crucial as breathing. 

It never switches off … you can never let go … there is no relax…

Until the right pair of arms finds you. And for a brief window in time, all the bad stuff disappears.

Just for a moment.

What is a moment for them, for me, is a gift that will last forever

I remembered what is to feel safe.

From this point, I will never again settle for less.

Life is supposed to feel good. You are supposed to feel happy for the majority of the time. You are supposed to feel safe and secure, for the majority of the time. Anything less is a sign you are walking the wrong path. Only you can step off. Change your route. Change your life.

Only you.

No matter how scary, the reward is always worthy of the leap of faith.

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We should spend less time analyzing why people are in our lives, and more time thinking about the reason we are in theirs. We all leave a mark. Shallow or deep, we should  strive to make the footprint we leave, a positive one. We may not be destined to be in their life forever, but the memory of us will be. We should make our footprint one that is treasured …

Just like the one I now have, etched across my heart.