I’m in therapy, on the table, sensing into this bloating. What does it feel like? I’m supposed to give the first answer that comes into my head, not from the processed mind but from the embodied feeling: death. My death. Hopelessness. Helplessness.
A few minutes later I notice that the room has changed. I’m still on this table, but I’m scared. My father is in the room. I’m a little kid, and I want to ask a question, but at the same time I’m me, now, and that question is so illogical, a question I never thought I had, not in this way, in this childhood place of fear and loss.
What is it, Nathan asks, and I struggled to speak. This childhood place when I struggled to speak. I want to ask: Do you think he will ever forgive me?
And right then the sobbing, whole body sobbing, choking, gasping and then sobbing again because I can’t believe I just said that, then I’m feeling that. Even Nathan’s follow-up question, what does he have to forgive you for, and my answer: nothing. A resentment that he even asked that question.
But still, in this childhood place where I thought it was my fault, where I thought I was going to die. I thought he was going to kill me. He told me I was worthless, that I deserved to die, that he could just chop my body up and put me in the mulch pile and no one would ever know. Did he literally tell me this, or did I just imagine? Just imagine — what does that mean? And how I get stuck thinking about the literal, but this is now.
In the moment I’m sobbing and then later, when I’m walking around, I’m thinking about how, my whole childhood, I thought he was going to kill me. The time when we are supposed to trust, to learn safety, that’s when I thought I was going to die. When I trusted him the most is when he raped me.
So I fled into my head: this is what saved me. Walking around now, trying not to only be in my head, this is so hard. Difficult. I feel things more, sometimes, suddenly the taste of food and the tingling sensation of warmth going through my body, nourishment. But the exhaustion gets worse, the intestinal bloating, and so I’m shut off, struggling just to function, more debilitated.
This question for my father and of course I know the literal answer and maybe that’s one of the things that makes it so heartbreaking. He’s dead, so of course you will never forgive me. Even if there’s nothing to forgive, and in that childhood place I yearn for that forgiveness so deeply, inside every mechanism that makes my body me.
But then, being able to access this question and how I’ve been able to use that, in the telling, in the telling with two different friends to access the sobbing, my vulnerability, my vulnerability with people I love and where does this leave me? Because I want more safety, I want more connection. Even as the overwhelm of the exhaustion and chronic health disasters force me into something close to obliteration. Where the windows, that’s what I want to know, the windows into feeling better?
I’m glad I told this story to the homeopath, after asking her if she wanted to hear. I always preface it that way, or have so far, because it’s so deep and heartbreaking. I thought maybe I would start crying on the phone with her, but actually it’s just after, when I read something a friend wrote about an old friend of hers who just died, couldn’t handle the world that we try to make into our own even as it makes us into the people we don’t want to hate, but do, so often we do and we hope for more, consciously and unconsciously trying to get somewhere that maybe we’ve never known.