I laughed at the irony when my writing prompt this morning said to write about what happiness means to me.
Happiness has been fleeting for the last few days. It peaks its head occasionally, but in general – I have felt irritated and emotional.
It has really made me take stock on some unresolved emotions and the person they are connected to. It has brought to the forefront of my mind a man that I both love and hate equally at this point in my life. I miss him terribly, yet I am so angry at him I get mad at myself when I cry over him.
Can’t Get Away from Current Events
Recent events in the political media, coupled with how the nation is responding to the health crisis has been challenging to my mental health. Even with boundaries, space for my emotions, and understanding, I still feel moments of overwhelm which are tiring.
Facing these feelings of powerlessness and fear regarding the pandemic has made me realize just how intense some of my anxieties really are and what it will take to manage them. Figuring out how to cope with the way I am identifying with Tara Reade and the responses to her as she discloses sexual assault against the democratic nominee for president has also been challenging.
I feel constantly triggered by my own emotional turmoil about not being believed, called a liar, and constantly defending myself against family who wanted to protect my abuser.
The Past and the Present
It feels like the damage done to my belief of self is far greater by the betrayals of my family as they conditioned me and protected him, than the physical acts of sexual abuse. The abuse disconnected me from my body and made sex a dirty thing, but my dad, grandma, aunt et al protecting my abuser, calling me a liar when I spoke up, and making me available – that shattered my entire sense of what was right and safe in the world.
As I work through my triggers and give space to my emotions, I keep finding my father. Everything I am feeling right now about the pandemic and about politics: my anger, my fear, my feelings of powerlessness, all the loss. He keeps coming up.
These are the moments when I wonder if the tears will ever end. I question just how deep this pain can go. I wonder if there will ever be a time when he doesn’t touch my present and remind me of the past.
The Power of Music
I’m a huge music person. It is something that I 100% use for managing my emotions. I use music to set the mode, I use it to help correct the mood.
I am drawn to story-teller artists; the singers that touch my soul, motivate me, and let me know I am not alone through their songs.
Recently I have pulled out the Kelly Clarkson Essentials as I move through all these emotions, she has a jerk father too. She struggled with feelings of worth, she is moving into parenthood and making sure her children never feel what she felt. *disclaimer: I grew up with Kelly Clarkson. I watched her win American Idol in 2002 and I have listened to her music since.
So I get her music, her message speaks to me as I have maneuvered similar obstacles over the years.
She has two songs that I have been listening to a lot lately and they are the motivation behind this post during a spell of writer’s block. They have been helping me lean into everything I have been feeling recently.
This song is a powerful acknowledgement of the damage a parent can do, and how important it is to break that cycle and show up for my kids. It also reminds me to pay attention and be grateful for the amazing man and father than my husband is to our children. She nailed it with this one and always tugs at my heartstrings when I listen to it.
Her newest single is amazing. It acknowledges how hard it is to not become jaded when you have been hurt and to continue to love others. It dares us to respond differently to our world and to each other. Handle others with the same gentle hands you want them to use with you. We all have broken pieces. Love and Understanding does heal.
It’s Far From Over
I know that listening to a couple songs isn’t going to heal the decades of hurt that have scarred over inside me. I also know that with each passing day, small parts of me heal when I am honest with myself.
And this little bit of honesty about where my emotions are coming from has helped me find my words. My words are a huge part of my trauma recovery.
My healing process continues.
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