For me, one of the most difficult parts of recovery from trauma is learning to love myself. This may sound crazy, but I really don’t even know what that phrase means, “loving myself.”
How can I love someone I don’t really know?
People who haven’t experienced trauma may not know themselves, either. But this blog isn’t about them. It’s about me, and other people like me, whose connection to that inner self was broken, severed, crushed, killed, by the actions of another person.
Sometimes I picture myself reaching into space for an invisible rope that will lead me back to myself. I see a blind person on the sidewalk, tapping the white cane, and I, too, feel blind. There’s a vast ocean of air between the person I see in the mirror and the person who lives inside her.
Who is she? Is she worthy of love?
Who am I? Am I worthy of love?
I would like, for just one day, to go back to being the person I was before he hurt me.
I would like to know what it felt like to walk freely, unafraid, with my whole life in front of me: filled with possibility and with the ability to make my own decisions about my future.
I’d like to know what I thought about, what I dreamed about. I’d like to know what I really looked like in the mirror. No distortions.
I would like to feel my SELF inside, that inner voice that was strong, finding her way, listening and watching and taking everything in.
I would really like that.
Yesterday’s final trauma therapy session was more emotional for me than I thought it would be. I felt quite stirred by it the rest of the day and into the evening, and the feelings are lingering with me today.
I suppose it’s because for the first time, I really talked to someone about what happened to me. Even those closest to me — even the people who have read my book — don’t really know the full impact of my life experience the way Kris does. And that’s OK, because there really isn’t a way for them to know, not unless they have experienced long-term trauma themselves.
I still have a lot of personal work left to do. I pray I have time to do it.