Everyone goes through life with a picture of his or her self. Sometimes these pictures are elaborate paintings, sometimes they are stick figures, sometimes they are swirls of color. People vary. What is consistent is the sheet of glass over the picture that is protecting this core of self. For most people, when they are children their parents carry this picture for them. That's the purpose and work of parenting. It's to protect this tiny little person as they go through the early parts of life. My parents dropped my picture. Many times. They shattered the glass. They did their best to scatter it to the winds so that I had no protection left.
On my bad days I feel like I am on my knees in the Sahara frantically digging, looking for the lost pieces. There are some very large shards missing and I don't know what to do about them. My picture isn't protected. I'm not protected. I'm scared. I'm vulnerable to being destroyed.
On my good days I look at the missing pieces and I think, "Well... all I've got is a five gallon bucket of dry wall putty. It's not really the best thing to use to fix glass, but it's what I have. Maybe if I add some neat Rit dye it will at least look interesting."
I don't know who I was meant to be. Yes, that hurts. I often wonder what I would have turned out like if I had been loved and protected appropriately when I was a child. But that's a door forever closed.
Today my Jenny told me that if she can read my story and feel bad so that I can feel a little better, it's worth it. Because I'm worth going through some pain for. I'm not sure how to believe that is true. How could it ever be ok for other people to hurt because of me? How in the world could I ever be worth enough that other people should suffer just to lighten my load? My brother made it very clear that I was to shut my mouth because it is more important that other people not hurt. I have no right to make other people hurt by telling my story. The therapist I saw once before this trip told me that I have to be very careful about sharing my story because sharing stories like this traumatizes the listener and I shouldn't do that to people. It's why she is completely against support groups.
Shouldn't I just shut up? Shouldn't I try to pretend I'm just like everyone else? Isn't that the right thing to do? Thing is, I have these really big pieces of my protective coating missing. I'm not like everyone else. It is harder to know me than it is to know other people.
And I'm not sure how to believe that is ok.