Monday, January 04, 2010
It's Okay To Cry
"... and then I grasped that I was loved." -Angela Shelton
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Nineteen
Wow. Today brought me to tears. Today I was told to write for 3-5 minutes about what I would do for a child who came to me in crisis. There are currently some children in my life who are in crisis, so the exercise of putting on paper the very things that I have done for those children was fairly easy. It's the second part of the exercise that was a little more difficult... I was to read my list and do for myself the things I said I would do for the traumatized child.
My list consisted of several things: hold the child, tell them I love them, give them my teddy bear, make them something comforting to eat or drink, play games, color a picture or watch a movie, and maybe sing to them.
At first, I was really excited to take this task on. I decided that if I was gonna do it, I'd do it right. I'd treat myself like a queen. I'd gather my bear and my favorite blankie, a coloring book and a movie, and I'd pop some popcorn for myself to enjoy while I colored and watched the film. I specifically chose a "kiddie movie" because of the nature of the task.
After about 30 minutes of coloring, watching the movie and munching on my popcorn, I started feeling really sad and a little sick. I started crying. What in the world was going on? I couldn't figure it out at first. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I was mourning the loss of my childhood. This beautiful moment of fun had turned into a time of utter sadness and grief... so I've got to sit here and process this today. Thanks to the healing I've done so far, I know it's okay for me to have days like this.
I'm in mourning because I don't have many memories of feeling safe and happy as a child. No matter how hard I tried to have fun, there was always an underlying anxiety, a lingering sadness that accompanied every moment of my existence. In regards to the abuse, I was never comforted as a child. Nobody ever told me it wasn't my fault. Nobody ever held me while I cried about how dirty and how confused I felt. Nobody could. They didn't know what I was going through. Looking back, I can honestly say that if I had spoken out at a much younger age, I have no doubt that there would have been loving adults around me who would have swept me up and given me the comfort and the support I needed. But I chose to remain silent because I was terrified. I kept my abuse a secret until I was 19 years old. Maybe that is why I have such a passion for speaking out. Maybe my inner child is begging me to help her tell all of her fellow victims that it's okay to talk about what's happening to them, or that it's okay for them to ask for help because somebody loves them and somebody will protect them to the best of their ability.
I'm actually crying as I type these words. I can't tell you how sad it makes me that I waited so long to tell... and that's okay. Today I'll feel it. Today I'll cry. Today I'll hold my inner child and tell her that I'm going to help her emerge from the shadows so she can see that she is safe... and so that she may grasp that she is loved.