I feel as if I have spent a large part of my life in the “stuck” position. I’ve been trying for so many years to overcome all the damage done to me during an abusive childhood with so few results, it’s downright discouraging. I’ve had some breakthroughs. Some of them happened a long time ago; some were more recent. Some were major. The ground-shifting kind. In a good way. Most were pretty minor.
I want…no, make that NEED, some more of the ground-shifting variety. I need to get unstuck. Forever.
I remember one of the first major breakthroughs I experienced. It happened when I was 21 years old and it was an astounding experience. I was driving back to Missouri for one of those visits “home” that I somehow couldn’t get out of. I was thinking about how much I dreaded the visit and all the inevitable manipulation and mind games that went with it. How hard it was to be around my parents. How uncomfortable it always was and how high my walls had to be to protect me. As I was thinking about all of this, I had a very vivid memory of myself as a child, standing off to the side of the playground in elementary school. It was frigidly cold that day. But everyone was outside playing during recess in spite of the cold and I was watching them intently, though unobtrusively, from the far corner by the swings where I wouldn’t easily be noticed. I remember quite clearly how frantically my mind was working that day. I was trying to understand how the world could have changed so drastically. Trying to get my feet under me after a huge blow that sent me wildly spinning. Trying to make sense of it. I was actually repeating to myself over and over again, “The world has changed…what changed the world?” I was completely frantic and utterly perplexed.
You see, it was as if my eyes had suddenly been opened and I realized nothing was as it appeared. None of the kids seemed the same to me. It was as if I went to bed the night before to a world full of people I knew and awoke to a totally different world of people who were foreign to me. They were doing the same kinds of things those other kids did, but everything was…different. I couldn’t figure it out. Still I knew nothing was the same. I watched the kids playing, knowing they were not who they had been and the world was not what it had been the day before. The world had changed. It was forever altered. And so I reasoned, if I could just figure out what had changed the world, maybe I could put it back the way it was supposed to be; the way it was before the ground shifted.
Driving down the highway that night, I could taste the memory. I could feel what I felt. Remember what I thought. How I struggled to comprehend.
And then everything flipped.
In one incredible instant, as I watched myself standing alone on the playground on that freezing winter day, I realized the world had not changed. Those kids…they had not changed. They still did the same things they had always done because they were the same kids they had always been. They hadn’t changed. I had. The world didn’t change. I did.
I felt as if the breath was knocked out of me. Tears streamed down my face. The realization was overwhelming and it was difficult to continue driving because the emotional impact was so intense. What had been was no more. The world flipped on me as a child and now it flipped again.
When I was very young, I was able to hide within fantasy. I could pretend. I was able to ignore reality…the reality of the sexual abuse. It had a horrible impact on me, but I pushed it aside and made it into something else entirely so I didn’t have to deal with the incongruency. But as I got older, it was much more difficult to cocoon myself in total fantasy. At some point, I could no longer ignore or withdraw from reality. And at that point, the world changed. Except, it wasn’t the world that changed. It was me.
Realizing this completely changed the way I perceived my universe and how I related to it. This was actually the first time I realized I was damaged. The discovery told me something of the forces that had come into play at a time in my life when I was vulnerable and completely unable to defend or protect myself. Those forces had wrought horrible change, disfiguring and neatly destroying all that I had been. Deforming me. My world changed because I changed. I was blown to pieces. Understanding that helped me to see things I hadn’t been able to see before and to make connections I hadn’t been able to make. My eyes were opened. My heart and my head became one. A little piece of what happened to me became real.
Those revelations of thought and perception have been very rare. I covet them. Perhaps if I hadn’t had to hide all the pain and wounding and ugliness for 22 years while I was married to a man who didn’t want to be bothered and who didn’t love me, I might have had more of those moments and found a path to healing long ago. There is no way of knowing. I can’t help but believe it has contributed to the level of difficulty I continue to have with unearthing the truth at this point in my life. Late in the game. I believe the numbing of my being, my soul, has greatly delayed my restoration, if indeed restoration is possible. And I deeply regret the fact that I stayed in that marriage, hiding all that I was, trying so hard to be someone my mate would approve of. I wasted so much time, believing our life would someday be better. It has cost me. It has cost me profoundly.
Now, so many numbed out years down the road, I’m stuck…almost perpetually so. I beg God for the ability to see, to comprehend, to grasp what I cannot seem to grasp. When I gain a little ground, receive a nugget, I’m elated! But a nugget in the hand of a starving man doesn’t last long. It doesn’t sustain. I need a hearty meal…or two…or ten. I need to stand in the waterfall of revelation. Let it wash over me in an unending stream of power and purity. I need the ground to shake beneath my feet until I can no longer stand; no longer deny. I need breakthroughs. Many of them. Big and small and all shapes and sizes in between. The mind-bending kind. The kind that take my breath away. The kind that shatter the deception and denial. The kind that open my eyes to the truth.
For surely, it is the truth that will finally, at long last, set me free.