Too Many Pieces

So much of my life has involved leaving pieces of myself behind.  It hasn’t been an easy or uplifting process, frankly.  It’s been ugly and violent.  The pieces have been left because there was no way to move forward with that piece being part of me anymore.  Let me give you an example or two.
 
The first time I truly remember leaving a big chunk of myself behind was when I was a small child.  I’m not sure of my age.  But it was one of those moments you never forget because it’s so indelibly etched in memory, it remains clear regardless of the number of years that pass.   I had just been sexually abused by my father and he told me to get dressed, then come out to the dining room for some hot chocolate.  I cleaned myself up as best I could in my bedroom and put my clothes back on.  I was wearing my new orange sweater, hand knit and sent to me by my grandmother for Christmas and I remember picking it up off the floor, staring at it for awhile before I put it back on. I instinctively realized in order for me to do what I needed to do…to act as if nothing had happened…I was going to have to leave the decimated part of me in my bedroom.  I just couldn’t pull it off otherwise.  I distinctly remember turning around and looking back at myself before I walked out of the room, taking inventory of the bloody pulp that was splattered, shredded, and slung all over the bedroom floor.  The bloody pulp that used to be me.  The part I was leaving behind.  It was a very strange sensation.  The separating of the fractured, destroyed self from the outer shell.  Then I took a deep breath, turned, walked out and proceeded to the dining room where I joined my father and brother as we drank the hot coco my father fixed for us.  As if nothing had happened.  As if everything was fine.  I did what was required.  There was a deep snow on the ground that day.  It was Christmas break. 
 
My father was off work because he was a teacher.  As a result of his chosen profession, he was always home when we were out of school for holidays or for the summer.  But my mother was at work, receiving the one or two days off that businesses allow their employees for a holiday.  I was trapped in the house with a predator who just happened to be my father.  No wonder I had to leave a big, bloody, broken, smashed piece of me in the bedroom so I could go forward and act “normal.”  Even though there was no normal in my house.   The Christmas tree played along, adding to the false sense of normalcy.  We played the game  well.
 
So many pieces left behind.  Broken, destroyed pieces.
 
I also had to leave a big piece of myself behind when the reality of my marriage situation finally penetrated.  When it slipped a dagger into my heart so deep I could no longer ignore my predicament.   I had been married less than a year, probably somewhere around 6 to 8 months.  My new husband had already told me he didn’t love me.  He pretended to at first, but the pretense didn’t last long.  It hurt.  A lot.  But I was used to pain.  I was thankful for being tolerated, at least.  And I was determined to be faithful and remained hopeful of earning his love.  But I was very insecure and…jealous!  I saw him ogling other women, even though he was usually fairly discrete.  His behavior caused me to hate myself even more, to feel so unworthy and worthless and frightened and insecure.  I could barely function.  I couldn’t hold all the pain or fear inside all the time.  On the particular day I’m remembering, he had been out mowing when a beautiful young woman rode by on her bike.  I watched him check her out appreciatively  and unabashedly because he didn’t know I was there.  I was so wounded and destroyed, I kind of came unglued.  Not pretty.  I screamed at him and cried, the pain pouring out unchecked.  I remember telling him it wasn’t about him as much as it was about me.  I knew I was damaged goods and that a good deal of what was stirring in my soul and breaking out of me had more to do with my childhood abuse and the resulting destruction than it did with him and our relationship.  He was disgusted with me.  Rightfully.  I so desperately needed his support and reassurance, even though I wasn’t particularly easy to be with at the moment.  (O.K., I was a rotten mess!)  I asked him that day what he wanted me to do…could I share my pain with him, would he help me through it, help me sort it out, or did he want me to hold it in so he didn’t have to be bothered?  He told me emphatically, “I don’t want to hear it!!!”  And when he said this, I went so cold and numb inside, I shivered.  I saw a valve slowly turn from “on” to “off” inside of me.  I watched it happen but was totally powerless to do anything about it.  From “on” to “off.”  From alive to dead.  From feeling to numb.  I left a huge chunk of my heart behind that day.  That’s the way he wanted it.  He didn’t want to be bothered with my insecurities.  He didn’t want to hear about, much less help me work through and deal with the pain and wounding.  And though I kept going through the motions, and while it took years for the sense of total numbness to be achieved, I died that day, leaving another significant piece of my heart behind.
 
Little pieces, big pieces, many, many pieces left behind.  Dust in the wind.
 
Today, I am struggling to feel.  I’m not quite the walking dead person I became during my 22 year marriage.  Eight+ years of effort has resulted in a small amount of recovery.  A few of the severed nerves have been successfully reconnected to a miniscule degree, allowing me to occasionally cry when I do happen to feel some pain.  It’s still rare.  But it occurs.  There is a great deal of pain that needs to be released.  Much that needs to be reclaimed.  Reattached.
 
Some days, I fear I have left so much of me behind, I doubt what’s left can be salvaged.  I fear the vital parts have died and only a miracle will be able to bring resurrection or restoration.  Feeling is not comfortable to me now.  Having gone without emotion for such a large part of my life, I’m no longer equipped to handle the voltage of intense emotions that once flowed fairly easily.  But I want to feel!  I need to.  I must, somehow, reacclimate and pick up some of the pieces, glue them all back together.  Never mind that they are mostly microscopic in size, so massive is the damage, so complete the fracturing.  I must find a way.  Because without those pieces, I am one dimensional, shallow, unable to attach.  I can’t have meaningful relationships.  The walls are too high.  The connectors are broken off.  I’ve lost all my highs and lows.  Flat-lined.  Asystole.
 
I am surrounded by a massive puzzle that I must work.  Piles and piles of teeny pieces that contain a dot or two of relevant information pertaining to the overall picture and intricate, complex design.  I am trying to work it as quickly as possible, as if my life depends on it because…well, because my life DOES depend on it.  There are millions, billions of pieces.  I am so horribly afraid I am not up to the task.  I am so horribly fearful I will die well before the puzzle has been completed.  I am so horribly frightened that my one and only life, shattered and fragmented though it may be, will not matter at all.  Ever.
 
Do you see a piece that fits with this one I have here in my hand?  I could use some help.  I’m far behind and there are just so many pieces…

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