This prompt could not be more perfect – and apt.
I have just been away for twenty-four hours – and upheld by the Sisterhood. I’ll say more about this tomorrow. It was healing and beautiful and moving. But, the last word one of my friends said to me, before I drove back home through winding and beautiful autumnal roads (and in the wake of the Super Full Moon) was, ‘Trust…’
This echo, therefore, has deep significance.
For the first time in thirty years, I am relearning trust. Not just trust of men (which, given the abuse, is understandable), but, perhaps even more crucially, trust of women. Brought up to see them as competition, I am well aware that this toxic mindset now needs to be challenged and brought out into the light of kindness, love, warmth and support (which is the human condition at its best and brightest).
This trust will, at least to start with, come hard. Anxiety will mark the process (which started last week) – and work, already commenced, takes in both the Outer and the Inner Realms.
The little safety checks and OCD rituals which I have used for so long are likely to last a while longer – and I know I will, initially, feel very unsafe and panic-stricken without them. But they represent a habit which outgrew its usefulness years ago – and has, in fact, hindered my recovery.
This is extremely scary. When trust is as foreign a land as it is to me, a long and arduous journey lies ahead. But an exciting one too! Liberating! Each time I face pain without leaning upon these flimsy crutches, I will gain a small inch in self-confidence, and a perceptible, if minute, increase in the ability to trust.
I cannot yet see myself falling backwards into the Circle of Trust, and knowing that I will be caught. If you are a loved one, please do not be offended by this: As an analogy, I am like a feral child, who has never heard human speech, suddenly having to learn the way of communicating through words.
But I have recognised that this huge lack of trust lies at the heart of my, at times acute, anxiety. We are all betrayed at some point during our lives. But I think for some of us, the betrayal is so overwhelming (or certainly feels that way) – or, in any kind of abuse, so pervasive and constant – that the seed of trust never grows into a healthy tree. It remains withered and tiny, mouldering away underneath the soil.
So, when the lava of terror climbs up my throat’s column, when I am hurting from muscular tension, it will help to remember that the body genuinely DOES communicate the mind’s dis-ease through powerful somatic waves – and that, as my replanted little seed of trust begins to grow, begins to send out healthy shoots and to reach for the life-giving sun, those tight muscles will start to relax, to feel safer, to allow the intense emotions just to emerge exactly as they need to without fighting, judging or denying them.
One day, I will look out – and see my Trust Tree waving in the wind, and will know that I have nurtured it successfully.
So mote it be.
And thank you to all my friends who have been so supportive and kind.