Yesterday, two different people talked to me about being afraid of finding out what “really” happened in childhood.
I remember that fear. For most of my life, I told myself I didn’t want to know. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter what happened. I knew things were not right. I knew I'd been controlled, enmeshed, restricted, held back… what difference did it make what the details were?
Now that the worst is behind me, I'm a big advocate of “knowing”. I believe people have to decide when they’re ready, it shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but I wish it was more commonly known how helpful it is to "know".
We are each made up of a unique recipe. The ingredients vary,the way they were added varies - the way they were mixed and prepared, the care or lack of care - all vary from person to person. This makes us each an exceptional dish with subtle flavors and complex textures that can’t be found anywhere else.
We have a sense of which parts of the dish we like best and which parts we would prefer to push to the edge of the plate and ignore… but if we don’t know the recipe, how can we possibly make more of the good stuff?
That's part of what I got from therapy in two and a half years - I learned that there is good inside me, and am coming to understand how to magnify those things while diminishing the things I would rather live without -
but the biggest part is fear.
I have been afraid for as long as I can remember. I was so scared all the time that it had become my normal – I hardly knew there was any other way to be. Call it nerves, anxiety, worry, concern, apprehension dread, or panic, its all just fear.
Why am I less afraid now? Why does the world seem more manageable since I have “remembered and processed” my past?
Imagine you are going to horror movie. You are expecting it to be scary, and it is. All through the movie, the suspense builds. The monster lurks in the darkness. You hear the screams of those who have to face it. You see the look of terror on their faces, but the monster hides in the shadows.
The movie nears the end. You know, any moment, you are finally going to see the awful creature. You scrunch back in your seat, cowering in anticipation.
Then, the moment of truth.
The monster is right there, in front of you!
Look at it!
It's a guy wearing a stupid costume.
That’s the thing – the unknown is scarier than the reality.
It just is. Our minds create so much more than the real world ever could.
The thing that goes bump in the night can't hurt you in the daylight!
So, I'm glad I've made this much progress and pushed through all I've faced, but I can’t tell my friends to take that step. I know that if they watch the end of the movie they will see that they are stronger than any monsters they find, but it has to be their choice, their decision, or else they will just close their eyes and miss the moment of truth.
All I can do is give them support - heartfelt support, because I have been there.
Yesterday, when one of my friends was talking about not wanting to face her demons, she also said, "I prefer to be around other crazy people because I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not.”
I told her, “You don’t need to hide who you are. You’re awesome. You just need to remember that the things that happened TO you do not DEFINE you!”
And that is the core of it, isn’t it? Yes, the recipe is important – all the things that have happened have made us who we are and all the things we do with it now are going to create our future.
But, the monster isn’t the chef! He’s just a guy in a costume. Once we see him for what he is, we can kick his ugly ass out of the kitchen and create the gourmet meal we were meant to be.