I haven't mentioned this on here recently (or maybe ever) but one of the things I do love about this blog is that it is mine and I can say whatever I want here. I keep thinking lately how I like that (since I have the comments set to be moderated before they are posted) I never have to worry about what anyone will say back to me about something that I have written. That is the thought I keep having but then I keep realizing that the one real cruel commenter I am actually fearing is: MYSELF.
I know the truth about what happened to me and I'm the one living my life now- healing and living. And the healing part is really hard work and slow and messy and often rather unattractive. One of my favorite things my doctor has ever said to me is, "It doesn't have to be graceful." Thank god for that because healing from child sexual abuse and DID is about as far from graceful as could be. Most of the time it has really been a hell of a mess. I think though that it is (the process of healing) becoming slightly less hellishly sloppy. Maybe.
Anyway- all of that said... I continue to struggle on. But then I feel like that isn't really about having survived abuse or living with DID. The struggling on thing seems just more like an issue of being human. Isn't almost everyone struggling within their lives? Anyway- I surely am and this is the place where I write about all of it- my messy glory of being alive and real. And I'm trying to remember to write and live both the struggle and the joyful parts and all of the million things between in the most real way that I can.
It's been just over two weeks since school ended for the year and I am still feeling like: HALLELUJAH I'VE MADE IT HALF WAY THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL. Oh, and I got all A's. ;-) I was SO AFRAID that I would fuck it up. I was afraid I would get really overwhelmed with school and memories and therapy and my mind and that I'd end up somehow not getting through the year. But I did. So I'm still feeling good about that. It was a really big accomplishment for me. It was difficult- but I did it.
At the very end of the school year I found out that I had been given a scholarship to a summer art residency. It is a seven week program and I'll be writing more about that here soon- I'm really excited about it.
Right now I feel like I am struggling the most with how much I've gotten better. That seems like an odd sentence... but this is what I mean: I grew up a certain way, with a certain set of beliefs about the world and myself and myself in the world. And the beliefs that I grew up with were actually pretty awful (hence the 8.5 years and counting of therapy to recover). The thing is... I've had to go back and question basically every aspect of my life and mind. And I've had to take a ton of experiences I blocked out which were too painful to know about at the time they happened and pour them into the hundreds and hundreds of deep holes in my mind which I had learned to devote my life to carefully walking around and never falling into. Now I have to go into the spaces that before seemed like "empty holes" and figure out what is really there or what was there that I had to move and shift to some other place so I could not see or find it within my own mind. So I've had to question everything and relearn and learn so many things- and it continues- the work of trying to better understand my own mind.
One of the hardest things is that I keep wanting to repeat old patterns. That is what I mean when I say I am struggling with how much I have gotten better- I have gotten better and I've learned that I can and NEED to stop avoiding the black holes/patches in my mind.... but I avoided most of my own thinking for most of my life.... So it's a rather hard habit to break. And then there is my response to pain... In the past when I hurt- I would often hurt myself more to cover it up. That was a pattern I began when I was very very young. And the pattern just grew and expanded over the years that the abuse went on and after it even.
Now I've been working for a very long time to stop repeating the pattern of creating more pain when I hurt- it used to cover my hurt when I was being abused so I would not know about the abuse. Instead of knowing about my father having sex with me I could focus on the fact that I burned and cut myself, had a lot of dangerous sex, that I drank a lot- and all of that provided distraction which was a cover for not knowing about the abuse. So I've had to learn to stop trying to cover the feelings of my hurt. And it is still hard. When I feel pain over the past I still want to do something in the present to change it- but that is an impossible wish. And now I am safe and no longer being abused- which I have to keep reminding myself of. And just like I am afraid of receiving a mean or cruel comment here- I often feel afraid of being abused more or again. But as I said before: I am the cruel commenter that I fear now and the last person who really abused me has been myself.
So I am trying to stop my self injury and self abuse and it has gotten a lot better. But it is hard to go beyond that. It is one thing to be able to stop actively harming myself with the afore mentioned list and it is something else ENTIRELY to say: What do you really want to do now, Jenny Sawle?
Because for a very long time a lot of my energy was almost completely consumed by ACTIVELY TRYING TO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ABUSE. And it was like a job I was working at 24/7 for the majority of my life. I started to be able to accept the truth about what happened to me and the truth about how my mind is divided and how it works.... but now I am at this weird place.... where I am like: Now what? This is the part where I am successful? This is the part where I get to do whatever I really want? This is the part where I finally learn and understand that I am not actually a body just set on this earth to be hurt (fucked). And all of that- the change- the massive massive change in all of my thinking... well, it's difficult to say the least.
And I have parts of my mind that are more on board with the idea of all of this than others- but I also think that is how I am tolerating all of this change. In the past I knew very little about my own mind and I learned to know more and tolerate bits and pieces of it slowly. I think I am learning to tolerate these changes for the better slowly. And parts of me want to scream: HURRY UP but that is a problem because other parts of me are all: I AM GOING AS FAST AS I CAN. So it is a mix- like it always really has been- but the scales are definitely tipping. That is the good news. That is the really great news- the scales are definitely tipping. And again- it is slow and hard and a lot of work- but as they say at Survivors of Incest Anonymous: It works if you work it so work it cause you're worth it.
So I'm trying to work it. And I am trying to step more towards taking better care of myself and doing the things I really love. This is great but it also makes me know in the most clear way ever just how long I spent unable to not really do either of those things very much at all. So there is a lot of sadness even in all this great progress.
But it is ok. I am working and learning to tolerate my own feelings more and to accept them. So I work to accept my sadness. I'll be out jogging or listening to music and I'll just start to cry and sometimes I just can't tell if it's sadness over the past or relief that I survived it all and am finally starting to feel free now. I think it is probably a mix.