Get yer head on straight.
Somehow that phrase always seemed to implicated guilt and shame for me. Having your head on straight is a good thing; anything else is weird, wrong, and must be changed that very moment. I recognize the controlling factor in the statement. The ‘think this way; any other way isn’t acceptable’ undertone.
Don’t tell me how to think. It’s a trigger for me, an invasion of my most private space. How dare you come into my being and point negative fingers! Get the hell out of my mind.
Nonetheless… Been pacing in front of the tiger’s cage, wondering if I’ve got her sedated enough to take on tour. Can she sleep through the public parade? Will she just lay there quietly, or will she try to break free again? I don’t know. That scares me. I don’t want to go out there and start yelling at people.
Didn’t even crack open my homework. My bro pointed out to me that I was exhibiting all the signs of burn-out. He reminded me how much work I do on a regular basis. He gave me strict instructions to play and fuck off all weekend (though he was pleasantly surprised and pleased about the clean house). …Do not feel ready to go back to class. Not mentally, anyhow.
I can feel the drag of depressive thoughts. They’re mixing with my mania, creating a real shit storm. Non-stop pacing and restlessness while I write is one thing; non-stop pacing with circular negative thoughts is another.
Several nights now wearing my mouth guard. I was right to fear the intense back-lash. I feel like a 13 year old every damned morning, taking it out of my mouth and rinsing it off. Can tell when and where I hurt myself. I wake up biting down on the guard, or wake up with aches in certain teeth. Push, pull, grind, bite. Oh, no! No anxiety there! Just a regular night’s sleep. Wednesday I see the physiotherapist for my jaw. Hoping it helps. And despite the surfacing memories of my younger years, despite the aches in my teeth telling me how much damage I do to myself at night, the overall pain in my jaw is receding. Good Goddess! I’m brutal to myself.
But I need to pick myself up and get back out there this week. No more hiding. No more excuses. See the physiotherapist, attend class. Get back to the gym. Do those things I’ve been lax on. That includes making a long overdue call about my shoes, and setting an appointment with my doc to talk about finding help for my mental health issues. BIG issues. BIG and SCARY. I don’t wanna. Don’t wanna think about it, don’t wanna do it, don’t wanna leave the house. Sure as hell don’t wanna tackle as much Dutch as I need to.
…Yes. Very much like the 13 year old me.
I can see her, standing in front of me. The long hair I hated so much. The buck teeth. The outfit, even. She’s an odd mix. Not quite historically accurate. She keeps telling me she’s 13, tho she looks more like 10 or 11 to me. But hey! I won’t argue. She wants to be 13, I’ll treat her like she is. I was much more aware at 13 that life just included some shitty experiences that you HAD to go thru. No getting around them, no understanding or pity from the people around you. Just deal, ’cause everyone has to at some point. Or so I was led to believe.
Throw all that out the window. You know for a fact your childhood was screwed up. You know for a fact you were raised by a mentally caged person. Don’t cling on to one part of that while trying to let go of all the rest. Let it all go.
Try being brave. Remember?
…And, little girl, I know how afraid you are. Of everything, all the time. And you know what? You’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Because you keep trying. You just pick yourself up and go. Don’t even complain about the wounds, the pain, the horrible gut-wrenching shame and guilt you feel. You tried to see everyone in the best light. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You worked so hard to be the daughter you thought your mother wanted. You hid everything from everyone. Never let them see you cry! That was our motto. And you didn’t. In private, yes, we let go. We had to. But never in public. They never saw you cry or back down. I remember the shaming. Having to hold our head up high, gather up the dregs of dignity and walk away. It was hard. Real hard. As hard mentally as it was physically when our feet gave out on us. All that pain. All those looks. And all that neglect. Day after day, month after month, year after year. Tormented at school by bullies, tormented at home by your sister.
This is a different kind of brave, little one. You need to say your bit. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it. Say ‘ow’ if that’s all you can manage. Say it softly, to yourself. No one else has to hear. No one else has to know. But you HAVE to say the words. You have to take that step. It’s that icky experience no one wants to go through. Pull out the splinter, rip off the plaster.
…And so our head isn’t on straight. We’re crooked, like our teeth. So what? It adds character. Yes, we have triggers. Learning more about those every day, aren’t we? And yes, we think outside the box. Other than the norm. For most people, that’s a plus. You were just raised by ignorant bigots.
Take it in: this is you. Allow yourself to be. In all your crooked, mixed up glory, allow yourself to be.
… … That might be the most difficult thing of all.