I took my little girl out for a date today, and another little girl came along. I tried to ignore her, and to hold her back; but the shadowy figure of my childhood self crept up on us. Ever closer, I wondered in desperation how many more minutes of these pleasantries I could endure. And not cry, not crack from my my proud mom smile. For, while I am giving my own daughter the love and attention I never had, I am exposing a place of barrenness and terrible wounding in me.
God have mercy, can I not just sit and have a cup of tea without the pain of the past gripping at me, squeezing my chest until I have to consciously remind myself to breathe, over and over?!
What does it feel like to not have to try so hard to love, miming out expressions of affection so that my dear ones know that they are loved, rather than saddling young hearts with the pain I’m feeling from the past that is exactly the kind of life experience I am hoping to protect them from?
I don’t know where to begin with caring for my own self in this. I don’t know where to take my painful heart. It begins to feel futile, all the work I’ve done to carry on, build a life, and fill it with real love.
Such a simple thing, a cup of tea out together. Why can I not achieve equilibrium in this?
When my trauma comes rushing in like I flood, I look to get away to some place quiet. It may be hours later, but it does still make a difference to the repair work of my soul.
I coach myself through the quietness, finding ways to soothe all the frayed edges. It doesn’t stop the hurt, but it does help me find a place of calm. And once calm, I know I can begin to build again. Even if I need to find the space, in this moment, just to take a few ragged breaths.
I take a walk, and I grieve for the younger me who did not have the environment of security and love that I crafted for my own child today. That I could create that for another seems ridiculous when I am still longing to be healed and known in that way myself.
Perhaps, that is the true miracle of resilience. The option to start fresh, even while I am still in pain. To build my life upwards, though triggers keep me scurrying back to shore up and re-lay crumbling foundations.
Deep breaths, and letting go of the guilt that I did not enjoy this date. In fact, I hated it. But, I do plan to do it again. Maybe not soon, but I will continue to do the things that my child loves and so appreciates. I will take on the storm of my past in order to make steadfast the hope of her future.