You Are Free to Go

Journal Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The past nine months that I’ve been living here with my parents has been an opportunity to revisit all of the same dynamics of my childhood, only this time, with the eyes of an adult.

It’s been difficult, it also, in some strange way, very healing.

Because I see that all the ways that I adapted make sense.

I’ve seen that all of the things I have hated so much about my personality have their roots in what my family demanded of me then, and still do now.

And it’s not that I am irredeemably fucked up or “bad” or crazy or any of these things they have always demanded I believe about myself.

It’s that I needed to act a certain way to survive.

The truth is that I truly was in a very difficult, dangerous situation, and I just did what I had to do to get by and make it through to the next day.

Now that I see this, I’m finding that I’m able to have infinitely more compassion for myself and who I have been.

One of the things I’ve hated most about myself has been how shy, shut down and awkward I have been for most of my life.

I have punished myself relentlessly for this. I have beat myself up mercilessly for how “weird” I am. I’ve never forgiven myself for not being “normal.”

This has been one of the greatest sources of distress for me for years and years.

I’ve accused myself of all the same things my mother did in response. Fundamentally flawed, fucked up, irredeemably WRONG, hopeless and “a lost cause.” I was not okay, I would never be okay, and this was why.

Now that I know better, I can see this as the trauma response that it was.

I was constantly stuck in a “freeze” response. 

I was always shut down, frozen, unable to move, unable to speak, God forbid I try to “be myself” (that would be completely out of the question).

Well, now I know that it’s not that I’m just “wrong.”

These things make sense.

It wasn’t safe for me to “be myself.”

It was hardly safe to even just be

I was attacked constantly, regardless of what I did. Nothing was ever acceptable.

I was terrified of opening my mouth, and of the punishment and humiliation that would inevitably ensue.

And I’m not exaggerating, either. I wish I was. It really was that bad.

I’ve just been lying to myself about it all these years.

I haven’t wanted to face the truth about what I have been living.

But it’s time now.

Lying about this isn’t serving me anymore.

Maybe I needed to in the past to survive, but not anymore. Now it’s just keeping me stuck, and I’m ready to move on.

“There is no lariat snare around your ankle stretching from way back there to here. You are free to go. It may not have turned out to be a ‘happily ever after,’ but most certainly there is now a fresh ‘once upon a time’ waiting for you from this day forward.” 

–from Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with The Wolves

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