Yesterday, while looking for one tiny little trinket, in a sea of totes stored in the dusty, cobwebbed covered basement, something happened. I opened the first bin to start digging. On top, a paper I wrote for a psychology of learning course I took in college, 11 years ago. It’s title, in bold lettering: Teaching Survivors To Keep Surviving. Seeing that felt like a splash of cold water against my face. A wakening. I realized, I have been on this journey of recovery, survival, advocacy, for much longer than even I understood.
I became driven to find everything I had ever written. I found notebooks and journals from high school English classes, college papers I wrote as a psychology major and random thoughts written on loose leaf paper.
I could hear my children and husband looking for me upstairs. I stayed hidden in the basement until I had a pile, knee high to bring up. I scattered it all out on the dining room table. Something was missing. I went to my bedroom and dug out the poetry I wrote and diaries I filled as a young girl.
These diaries have been somewhat haunting me lately. I’ve had to go in to my hope chest recently, a place where I keep the few items I have from childhood. Each time, I had to move the diaries in order to get what I was after. Every time I’ve pushed them to the side, I felt this gentle nudge to open them. I could barely look at them, let alone read them.
Although I never wrote about the abuse, I feel like every word in those diaries are dancing around the secret. I know that I will have to connect with the familiar lines and metaphors I hid behind as a little girl. That terrifies me. Or at least it did.
I added the poetry and diaries to the mix on the table. I stood there looking at all the paper, all the words and felt consumed with an unexplainaible mix of fear and excitement. Just flipping through a few of the essays I wrote, I was surprised at my own language and awareness around the issues that I often talk about today – shame, vulnerability, connecting with people. It’s all there. I’ve been working on getting to a place where I can say these words outloud my whole life. I just didn’t know it.
I was too overwhelmed by it all yesterday. Tonight, I will be diving in to all it. I feel a bit like a kid who scored big on a treasure hunt, and is about to dig in and discover what she found. I’m sitting at the dining room table this morning, writing this with the still scattered pieces of my story all around me. It’s bizarre how pertinent this all feels, despite not knowing how or why.