I’m juggling a lot of emotions right now. Anger. Sadness. Mostly anger, though. I’m not really sure I want to feel any of it, but I think I have to. I’ve buried enough anger throughout the years to know that burying it doesn’t make it go away.
Anger is not a dead body that stays forgotten beneath the surface once you bury it. Anger is a seed that grows into weeds that grow and take over until you dig them up. The anger seeps into everything you do, until the day you dig it back out. But by then it takes so much effort to get rid of the anger, that you start to question why you buried it in the first place. It takes much more effort to bury and dig than to embrace and release.
So I am letting myself be angry. I’m not burying anything. But now my problem is directing my anger in the right place.
At first, I directed the anger towards my therapist. I left our therapy session on Thursday uncomfortably angry. I felt the walls of my life breaking down and she was the one doing the breaking.
I shared a part of my childhood with her, a part that I had never connected to anything other than childhood oddity. I’ve shared it with other people over the years, largely because it was one of the very few parts of my childhood that I didn’t associate with anything bad, so never felt any pain in sharing it. Some people thought it was funny, and some were grossed out. But no one ever thought it was sad. That is, until Thursday.
Don’t you think that’s sad?
What? Why does she think this is sad? It’s not. Please laugh. Please be grossed out. Please be something, anything, but please, don’t make this sad.
The thoughts started running through my mind. Why didn’t I realize this all before? This wasn’t just a weird childhood behavior. Healthy children don’t save their poop and hide it. But I did. I held on to it because I didn’t want to lose any more pieces of myself than I already lost. It is sad.
But I couldn’t connect with the sadness right away. Instead I connected with anger.
I spent all these years believing in the innocence of something only to have it all turned upside down. Why? Why is this being taken away from me? I’ve already lost so much, and now I’m losing things I didn’t even realize I never had to begin with. I lost my good family. Now I’m losing my good childhood. This wasn’t just about the poop. This was about all of the snippets of my childhood that I held onto as being good and innocent. They’ve all been ripped away from me.
I believed in a fantasy, much like children believe in Santa Claus. But children don’t believe in Santa forever. Eventually someone comes along, tells them the truth, and shatters the fantasy.
And there my therapist was, telling me the truth and shattering the fantasy of my childhood. And I was mad. Mad at her for taking this good away from me. Why did she want me to see the truth? Why couldn’t she just let me believe in the magic a little longer? Doesn’t she know I’ve lost enough already?
I didn’t say anything. I swallowed my anger and let it burn, because part of me knew that this really wasn’t my therapist’s fault. It was mine.
I didn’t see the connection all this time. It all became so obvious when my therapist started talking about it, but it was everything I should have already known, that I did already know but chose to ignore. It was my fault. The truth was there and I avoided it the whole time. I rationalized what shouldn’t have been rationalized. I minimized something that wasn’t minimal at all. This was my fault. Now I am angry at me.
I have been putting so much time and energy into holding onto pebbles, holding onto the smallest bits of seemingly neutral life experiences, that I’ve been ignoring the giant mountain of trauma right behind me. I don’t want to acknowledge that those pebbles aren’t really just pebbles; they are actually pieces of the mountain that managed to break off and roll down without hurting me.
The realization that those parts of my childhood that I have been holding on to for so long are not what I thought they were is hard to accept. It’s another loss, in my already overwhelming abyss of all I’ve lost already. It’s a deep sadness that I am not sure I can ever get out of.
I am angry. I am sad. Now make it all go away.