Thursday, June 12, 2014

When I Allow Shame to Steal My Voice

It's after midnight. I need to be asleep. Instead I'm writing, after watching the first three episodes of Gilmore Girls. I never watched the whole show - I found it triggering too much of the time. My relationship with my Mom is distant, complicated, strained. Some of it is my fault. Some of it is hers. 

She's coming to visit next month. along with my father. I've been wrestling with my feelings around that for the past couple weeks. I'm not sure how to blog about it. I can write it for myself, but I don't know how to share it and so I've been quieter. It's one of the drawbacks of living afraid, of being raised in a world where you protect the family at all costs. I don't quite know how to stop. 

I lie to myself saying that I'm protecting what little relationship I have with my siblings and my mother. The truth has much more to do with my fear. My fear that people will be hurt by my truth. My fear that I will lose what little connection I have left with my family. My fear that it will end any sliver of hope of reconciliation. 

Deep down, I'm still a little girl wanting to be seen, loved, heard, accepted, valued, celebrated by the two people who brought her into this messed up world. Their version of acceptance though comes at the price of my Self. I will be accepted when I conform to who they want me to be - and I'm not sure that I even know who that person would be now. All I know is that I can't be anyone else. I can't hide my multiplicity, my self-injury scars, my recovery, my creativity, my evolving faith. I don't want to hide. 

I don't want to hide, yet here I am, hiding. Hiding my stories, hiding my truth, hiding my name, pouring over what I write to ensure there aren't too many identifying details, that my story couldn't be matched up by those I'm hiding from. 

I'm hiding because I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed that I'm damaged. Ashamed that I didn't leave the abuse earlier, that I stayed into adulthood. Ashamed that I couldn't find the right way to tell, to make it stop. I'm terrified that if I told my stories, you would side with my perpetrators because for most of my life, that's what every one did. I didn't know to call it abuse, or even abnormal. I'm ashamed to tell the details because I can't point to easily understood trauma - there were no broken bones, no hiding bruises, and those who molested, assaulted, and raped me weren't my parents. There have been too many people who have agreed with what my parents did. Agreed with their world view, their interpretation of Scripture, their God-given right to my life. 

I can't point to a single movement, cult, or faith tradition that harmed me. There were pieces from all over the map, from before there was a map. If my father had been a little more charismatic, dynamic, he would have made a great cult leader. As it was, people avoiding him like the plague. Adults lived in fear of him and left his children and wife stranded, without measurable help, holding onto broken promises, living out the cycle time after time. 

I got my butt handed to me today. Caiobhe wrote this amazing post that called my hiding right up on the carpet. I'm still wearing shame as though it actually covers and protects me. What a lie. Shame does nothing but steal my voice and rob me of living my life. It robs me of healing from the past, from moving forward to a place where fear no longer holds me as it's favourite captive. I'd gotten pretty good at telling myself that I didn't hold any shame any more. I got good at lying to myself that I had worked through my shame. Apparently it's time for another round. 

I feel shame for still having shame to work through. Ugh. It's this vicious circle, eating me from the inside out. I don't know how to allow myself to be in process, to be better but not yet whole. I'm somewhere between broken and healed - and I will always be somewhere in-between the two. I want to either be broken girl, who needs compassion, help, support, healing or the strong-I-learned-how-to-thrive-and-my-past-no-longer-holds-sway girl. I don't know how to do this both yet neither thing. But I think publishing this post is a step in the right direction. 

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