Out of the box and into the dark
I originally wrote this post January 27. I was needing to complete my homework that week for therapy. Once I had it done this realization came over me. I had a way to finally explain how I felt. I chose to post it openly on January 28 - Bell Let’s Tall day. It was freeing in so many ways to finally start expressing myself. Now that the day is over and the post is buried on Facebook land, I want to create a space for it to live - a reminder to myself about the journey, a celebration of the distance.
The hardest part of this process has been to vocalize and physically see the worst things you think about yourself. The day that I actually put words to the reflection I see was one of the lowest points - now seeing it on paper everyday and reliving it has beck me a reoccurring low point. To have to read the story that I have been avoiding for two years everyday pulls me back under. Today I had to remind myself this is my story - I have lived through this. I need to own this.
Yesterday I avoided the homework altogether. I stared at the binder so many times. I thought to myself, “that poor girl. I feel so bad that this happened to her.” Today as I opened the binder to the lined pages covered in black ink, I had to remind and repeat out loud to myself, “this is my story, I lived through this. I need to own this.” Several times as I read the words of the story I stopped to remind myself, “I am safe, I am at home, these are my pillows, this is my safe zone, this is my home,” while casually stroking the dusty pink velvet pillow to ground myself. That’s right Sasha this is your story. This is not a fable, this happened to you. And, you got through it. There are no more excuses! If you don’t believe this, you’ll be right where you started.
The third session into the program you’re asked to write about the event. My therapist said it should be max four pages, I wrote six. Every time I read it I realize that probably three and a half of those pages are avoidance - telling a prologue that doesn’t need to be there. And, when it comes to the actual event you speed through it.
Avoidance, my best response. Makes me feel like everything is ok, but really I’m just stuck in a box. A safe, small box with familiar walls. I know exactly how far away the walls are, what’s on the walls - never acknowledging what’s beyond the box because I never leave. This activity/program, cognitive processing therapy, broke a wall. It’s dark out there - whatever light that was in my box doesn’t reach that far out. And, right now, I am standing outside of the box. I can still touch the wall but I am outside of the box.
Sometimes if the darkness gets too much I go back inside the box. I re-watch movies or shows, nothing new, I don’t want to have to think about it. I sleep - when the darkness is too much my brains wants to sleep. I stare at nothing and everything all at once - I just feel nothing, I think nothing, just...stare. I mindlessly scroll through social media - liking whatever picture comes up next without looking at it. I do nothing. The choice to do something is often too much and I sleep.
The days I step back out of the box I often spend them crying, not trying to become physically sick, trying to do something to keep my brain engaged so I can do my homework. Work towards moving farther from the box. Staring into the dark brings fear and anxiety - there is no light that pierces the darkness. Right now, all I see in the dark are a pair of eyes staring back at me. Inside my gut says they are mine - but my brain refuses to believe it. They are a stranger. I do not know those eyes, I am afraid of those eyes. The story they tell are one of sadness and pain - anger and shame; embarrassment. I do not know them.
Right now, in this moment I can feel the edge of the wall of my box and hear my therapist’s voice that a light strong enough to pierce the dark is coming. I have to choose - the box or the dark. In this moment I let go of the box and reach in the dark to find a hand that belongs to the eyes. My mantra as I follow the hand, “I am safe, I am divinely guided, I am strong, I am enough and (most importantly) I am loved - by me and so many others."