This is one of those things I have known about for a long time but it was just too hard to really 'face' until now. When I was young I always had a stereo and I remember thinking (when I was young I remember often having this thought I mean) I used to think, "I love music... but why do I hardly ever listen to it?" I think I always knew the answer- in some other part of my divided mind- but of course I could not 'tell the answer to the part that was asking the question'. I was always SO SCARED at my house. And the truth is I could not listen to music because what I was always 'listening to' was: The sound of my dad. I was listening to hear when he would pull into the driveway after work, listening for the sound of him coming into the house, trying to figure out his mood from the day (almost always a bad one), listening for what he would do after he got home (almost always turn the TV on). Then I was listening to make sure he KEPT the TV on. I wanted to be sure that he stayed in his chair in front of the TV all night (he almost always did) and when he didn't... well, I certainly wanted advance warning of that. And then there was the night... and all of the mountain of time that I spent in my childhood and adolescence and right up until I left the house for college- listening for him at night. When I was young I would go to bed before my parents, but I would never sleep. I would WAIT. I would wait and listen. Wait and listen for the horrible horrible awful sound of the sound of my father turning the TV off after the news. The sound of the TV being turned off, in my mind, was next followed by something that feels like the shuffle of a man being walked to his execution. It was 'the beginning of the end'- in my mind anyway- and it scares me to think about how many times I survived that experience. I would hear the TV go off and then... the sound of him putting the reclining chair back into an upright position, the sound of him setting his water glass down in the kitchen sink, the tiny scratch of a sound that his glasses made when he took them off for the night and left them on the kitchen counter top. (It took me years to realize- not even he wanted to see fully what it was that he did at night.) And then... the steps. The sound of my father walking up the steps- from the downstairs part of our house- up to the upstairs. I can hear his foot still as it hits the first step and my whole heart and mind pick right up out of my own chest and head; shift to some other country. Another foot on the step and from that country I move to some other planet and by the time he reaches the small landing- the space between the two small flights of steps- I am so far away- nothing could have recovered me. I was without season. I lived under blankets four inches thick in the dead of summer- this is a (rather very minor, by comparison) problem I still struggle with. I have gotten it down to a blanket and a sheet now- but I currently sleep with two fans on in my bedroom at night because I need to feel the weighted safety of at least one blanket in place over my body- and never being lifted- not from any corner- and even now I am waking almost every night in a sweat from the warmth of the too heavy blankets. It is the best I can do to fold them down to my waist and it is more painful than I can describe to let just the upper half of my body be covered with just the flimsy weight of a light bed sheet- but I fold the quilt over to my waist and every night it almost hurts- the lightness of the sheet on my skin. And anyway... that is now, this was then... And then... I know that it goes on... or that it WENT on... he walks up the steps and then there is the image of him at my bedroom door sometimes- often- a few or several times in a week. But my mind is stopping here. This is the first time in my life I have ever let myself think so clearly about the sound of his feet on those steps and I know for sure it is because I am starting to heal in a way that I NEVER imagined was possible. I never thought I would live this long- I never imagined I would live to see my twenties and once I did, I never thought I would make it far into that. I was not 'sad' when I turned thirty; I was SHOCKED... because I could hardly believed I had lived so long. And every birthday since then has seemed like both a shock and a gift. Anyway- enough about the past- it feels like such a relief to get it out and then a much even bigger and more wonderful relief to go ahead and be alive and present in the moment here right now. I can not even believe I am about to post this here... but anyway- this makes me think of the following quote: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."
Yesterday I went on a long bike ride with a friend; we went just a few miles from my house and discovered a bunch of BIKE TRAILS- which was fantastic. Many of the trails led us right to HORSE FARMS! So the weather was great and we saw horses... which I thought was even more great. And then it started raining and we were talking and laughing about that. I was laughing, as we were biking and I felt so aware of my own laughter- I mean- the sound of it, how good it felt and sounded and how every laugh felt like it was freeing up something that had/has been trapped inside of me for a really long time. At some point while we were biking, I talked a little about my dad, about the abuse I survived, etc. But my favorite part of the ride and really, one of my favorite things that has happened since I have started to really heal and get better, was this: I was talking about my dad and about the abuse I survived and then I suddenly just said, "But I am really just so sick of it and I am ready to be done hurting now." I kept thinking of it yesterday- that I said it and that it was me and my voice and my words and my feeling and I just kept thinking: I am HEALING. I AM HEALING!!!!!!!
The last few times I have seen my doctor he has at one point or another said "Jenny, you are healing." But I have not wanted to 'admit' that. I have not been ready to really admit that I am getting better- even that has felt painful. But I feel something in me is tipping... after so many years of working so hard in therapy- I am finally starting to be able to have and hold my own thoughts, be more present, feel more... and my therapist is right. I am healing.
This morning I turned my stereo on really loud and danced around my bedroom in my pajamas.
Today I am going to go out and ride my bike again.
I have never been so grateful and so happy to be alive as I am at this moment. And I feel like it is only going to get better.
I will write more soon.