Even writing that, I can hear my therapist commenting on my self judgement. I do that a lot. I am my worst critic. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I am a One. I have even been critical of myself for being a One. ("Can't I be one of the nicer numbers?", I said to my spiritual director.)
Here is a beautiful song about Ones. "No, I'm not saying perfect exists in this life but we'll only know for certain if we try."
I have tried so hard for so long. Since childhood I've believed that striving for perfection was the key to my safety. My head knows that perfectly imperfect is as close as I'm ever going to get. With time, I am hopeful that my heart will embrace that truth as well.
My therapist keeps reminding me that it is a process. Recently in a session she repeatedly said, "We know...." When she does this she is reminding me of very true things in the process of healing. In a moment of push back I replied sarcastically, "Speak for yourself." We both laughed and then she pointed out that I keep coming back so there had to be some agreement, no?
I haven't come this far in dealing with my trauma to quit now. It's possibly the most courageous thing I've done in my life. I keep saying that because it keeps surprising me that I am willing to face this shit even though it feels scary and big. It is not getting easier. I've repeatedly told my therapist, in the middle of a session, that my instinct is to run. I often feel like I have a scream stuck in my throat. She described it this week as having lived my life with my foot on the gas pedal (urge to run) and on the brake (frozen) simultaneously. No wonder it has taken such a toll.
Several sessions ago I spent most of it keening loudly from deep within. The only person who has ever heard me cry like that is that nurse I had during my cancer journey. This time my back arched, too. So many tears. So much pain. So glad I was in the house alone. It went on and on for over half an hour.
If you only knew what a breakthrough that was. To cry unabashedly, letting emotional pain lodged deep in my core, out. It is a victory that I didn't shut my keening down. That I didn't swallow my tears. That I let them be seen and heard until I was done. When I opened my eyes and faced my therapist I could see that she had had tears as well.
Maybe I'm not a navel gazing bag after all. Maybe, I'm a brave, courageous woman, helping her battered inner child fight for her freedom. (So hard not to delete that last sentence as "Who do you think you are?" rattles around in my head.)