I dream again.
There’s a war rising inside those walls.
An internal dispute among the fifty stuck living in the barren wasteland.
Some of them like the fact that I cried yesterday. They liked feeling known and heard. They are packing up their things in anticipation of release from this internal prison. Anticipating an escape. They want to feel whole again. They want to join back up with what they were cruelly severed from in a necessary bid for my own survival.
But then there are the other ones. The angry ones. The hurt ones. The betrayed ones, who seem to interpret this as another joke in a life of jokes. That being seen and being heard is dangerous because that’s how they got here in the first place – they tried to be heard, someone didn’t hear them, and they got relegated to their prison. They think that being loud isn’t an option. They think that having a voice isn’t an option. And they’ve been stuck taking care of the others, the quieter ones, the softer ones, the hopeful ones who believe it is finally time to thrive… they’ve been taking care of them for the better part of a decade. They’ve been watching over the weaker members of their society, and this smaller, but determined group of angry teenagers will be damned if they let a potential new connection come to life and hurt them again. Trust simply doesn’t exist in their world.
And nobody gets hurt on her watch.
I can see her, so clearly, when I dream of them. She is me, and yet, she hates me. Despises me. There is nothing more she wishes for than my death so that this can end for her. Yet, she cares so much about the rest of them. She’s not the oldest, or the youngest, she doesn’t even originate from the single most traumatic memory I have. But she is a warrior, their leader – a shy, naive individual turned hard by the fact that she has been responsible for all these others for so many years. Turned hard by years of abuse. She has done what I had to do – cut off from the pain in order to protect those around her. In this way, even though they are all me, she is the most like me. She operates under the mandate that her only goal is to keep me from creating others, which is ironic, because that’s ultimately my goal too… but she doesn’t believe me. She thinks its a trick and operates under all those assumptions that come out when I’m resisting A. To keep me from continually slicing my life up into little, traumatic bits, and keeping “all the good stuff” for myself. And she doesn’t think that A deserves the time of day. Because to her, therapy equals disruption, and pain, and destruction of the way of life she has worked so hard to preserve. She heard A the other day, and she was the one who transmitted this feeling of ridiculousness to me – scoffing at the idea that A could worm her way past the defences she’s built. Her job is to protect, at all costs.
I dream of this last night, and I wake up, at two am, heart pounding. It’s metaphorical and symbolic, this world my mind has created to allow its story to be told. I see them from above. Some trying to pack anticipating that they’re going to be able to leave, to find freedom. Others trying to pack in anticipation of moving, so that they can’t be found, of going deeper internally, of hiding. And her. Standing in the middle of it. Doing nothing, because in her mind there is nothing to do that involves movement. She intends to fortify, and when the others have calmed down and stopped freaking out over this renewed contact and my tears from yesterday that stem from them, she’ll rally her troops and prepare for battle. She’ll beef up their resources and their defences and convince the softer ones that they need to stay. Probably by using the line “they’ll be able to find us here”. She knows who to send out for a fight, and its not them. She protects them. She understands their hope. She simply doesn’t have any of it herself.
I get the sense she has done this before, maybe on a smaller scale, by looking around the inside of the walls. There are cracks that have been patched up, and solidified with additional concrete. I find myself wondering what external connection created each crack. Em, my friendship with Lu, Dave, or the relationship I have with my husband – when someone sees me, and starts to maybe see them, cracks form in the walls, so she erects barriers. I lie, and I drink, and I self-harm, I disassociate and make mistakes at work, and her walls thicken. Her fortress is reinforced. And she feels safer. It bothers her that I have anyone who cares about me, because to her, that represents so much danger to her way of life. So much danger to those she protects. She’s sent out signal after signal of “stop this nonsense” and still… I have yet to stop seeing A. Yesterday came way too close to comfort for her. So she’s mobilizing her rebellion.
After dreaming of this, I couldn’t go to work today. I couldn’t get out of bed. I had to text Dave the one sentence I’ve tried not to text him. “I can’t do this today. I am having a panic attack. I need to take an Ativan and sleep. I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry.”
Its now 1pm and I still haven’t managed to do any work. I’m basically being paid to take a day off at the moment, which is unfair in so many ways to so many people. But I can’t get moving. And I’m trying to honor her resistance which comes from so much fear, and which has kept me alive for so fucking long. I need something to call her, for easy reference in writing, but I have no real idea. I don’t want anything that diminishes her in any way, and Teen PD seems to do that, but I’m going to use it anyways. Unless I can come up with something better. She is clearly in control of the 50, and seems to be the most direct way to reintegrating all these memories. She loathes me, this teenage leader of my internal rebellion, but I have so much compassion for her, and I’m starting to get a sense of where she’s from.
The one topic I have resisted for the entire time I have known A, is the physical sibling abuse. I prefer to pretend that it never happened, and I think that may be the one goal where Teen me and I unite. I am getting the sense that she’s the one who took the brunt of it all. That every sibling abuse memory I have of being hit or threatened with physical violence (or the memories I don’t have, because there still remain these incredible holes in that part of my life), belong to her. And I get the sense that I’m right due to the incredible resistance I feel at putting finger to keyboard for the next sentence.
Next Wednesday, I need to walk in, sit down, and say “I want to talk about the sibling abuse. I need to talk about the sibling abuse.” I don’t know if I’m ready, but I do know that once I prove to her that she matters, the rest of it will come easier. I can’t let her fortify, not when we’re this close. And god, does she hate that.