In my early adulthood, I was an utterly shattered and lost soul because of the abuse I experienced as a child and growing up in my family home. I had no sense of being worthy and powerful on the inside or of being able to protect myself and my boundaries. I didn’t know I had boundaries, and I barely knew I had a self. I felt about as big as a speck of dirt and the world was a very scary place.
I’ve progressed since then, but I still struggle with all of those things. I’m relatively early in my journey of recovery. But the difference now is I have found the path, my path. The challenge now is to try not to lose my way. Or at least to notice when I lose my way and to bring myself back.
Back then I coped by going to school for a very long time and by being very focused on trying to acquire what I thought was social credibility and power. Because I lacked credibility and worth in my own eyes, I became very externally focused. I tried to acquire credentials, money, things and even people, for protection and power in the big scary world. I was hollow, somewhere deep down I knew that. But I didn’t know how or where to get help for my hollowness. So I did what made sense: I tried to build a wall around me.
Over time, I got very attached to the wall and what I thought it could do for me. In fact, I started to believe that the wall was me. I mistook the wall for who I really was. And then life got through my wall and I had to deal with it but I couldn’t because there was so little of me; I was still hollow. And, pressured by life, my hollow self broke And the only way to repair, to repair me, is to fill me up, and to bind me together, with truth, my truth and the truth of who I am. This is what sets me free, now.
That young, fragile, abused girl who I was did exactly what she had to do, back then, to survive. I wish she would have known of some other options, though. I wish she would have had someone to go to, a wise grandmother, perhaps, someone older and wiser and someone who loved her, and somewhere to rest.
If I could go back in time and be with the young girl I was then, here’s what I think I would do. I would sit with her and hold her hand. I would let her cry in my arms. I would hold her with both arms and I would hold her with my heart. I would tell her: “Don’t worry so much about ‘keeping up’. Don’t worry so much about ‘getting ahead.’ Slow down and fill yourself up first. Learn who you are. Focus on healing and on being whole. I will help you figure out how to do that.. I will be your wall for as long as you need me.”