I try hard not to let the past define me.
There was a time when that was all I knew how to do.
Lord knows that in some Christian circles they applaud real loud for doing so.
If you'd asked me who I was I would have answered with one or more of the following:
Sexually abused child.
Sexually abused teenager.
Chronically ill woman.
The list could go on.
The work I do in therapy and spiritual direction is helping me drop these labels.The more I heal, the more their impact on my day to day life shrinks.
We are all so much more than a label.
Even. my. brother.
As I sat down this morning to write about my visit with my brother yesterday a questioning thought came into my head.
"Are you going to make him into a them?"
Why yes, yes, I was going to.
Before You wrecked that plan by asking me such a question.
Before my brother arrived yesterday I felt a seething anger.
After he left I went immediately to my counter where there were fresh baked muffins, and stuffed one into my mouth. I wanted to stuff 6 more in in rapid succession but I didn't. That gaping hole inside felt like a screaming cavern.
I was going to write about everything that transpired between the anger and the muffins. Nothing more than ordinary and sometimes strained conversation. Telling body language. A sadness about what is. And about what may never be.
I often rant to my family about people who either want to make me an 'it' or people out of their comfort zone an 'it'. It's always other people I rant about doing that of course. Reading this book challenged me to change years ago. Change that is still in the works, obviously. This morning as I sat down to type I got a reminder that to embrace humanity, means embracing not only my own, but my brother's, too. Knowing that doesn't magically make my anger disappear. It doesn't mean I condone his actions. It doesn't make me want to eat less muffins. But it does mean that if I distance myself from his humanity then I reject something of myself in the process, too. It reinforces my identity as a victim.
I'm still feeling a bit stunned by that question popping into my head just as I was getting ready to write this post. I try to be open to guidance. Some days I swear at its arrival. Sometimes I get rendered darn near speechless. And some days I write a totally different blog post than I'd planned.