The only way is through.May 29, 2013
I was recently reading a new book called The Business of Baby. It was right before bed and I found myself getting angry. I put the book down, took a few breaths and went to sleep.
The next night, I tried again. This time, tears came hard and fast. It was a chapter about c-sections, and the author was describing the surgery as she witnessed it. How the mother’s scar tissue was burned away with power tools, her uterus flipped out of her body, the doctors discussing vacation plans.
It was a really powerful trip into a memory that I’ve been stuffing away for a couple of years. Moms who have had unwanted c-sections usually know what I’m talking about.
And I know you have had these types of experiences, too. Maybe not a c-section. Maybe a different sort of trauma or event that caused you pain.
“It’s really helpful to feel the damage fully in order to let it go…But if you keep pushing it away again and again, you encapsulate it and you think you’ve handled it. It becomes a little emotional pus ball. It’s still sticking poison into your blood system and into your musculature and into your soul. How do you let go of those things that keep making you into a victim or keep you in shutdown or whatever it is that dulls or disconnects you. Can you get more enchanted with being turned on than with being dull and disconnected?” – Ana Forrest, Fierce Medicine
Life moves on. We have to go to work, make dinner, file our taxes, go to our friend’s wedding, take care of a newborn. Not much time for reflection.
Everyone says It’s Ok. What you went through was bad but It’s Ok Now.
“It’s Going To Be Ok.”
This is the accepted response to pain. In our culture we are expected to take a minute or two to mourn, then we tiptoe around the topic and fully shove it into the junk drawer and move on. Life goes on. Come on.
But numbing out is hard work.
Know what helps? Sugar. Alcohol. Caffeine. Junk food. Too much food. Cigarettes. TV. Maybe you use these things to help you in your quest for numbness.
After my son was born, I ate a LOT of cookies. Like, a lot.
Numbing out is such hard work that we can never quite master it. Those memories live in our bodies like poison, leaking out little by little or causing blockages.
And one day, you read a book and find yourself in hysterics. You start reliving your childhood through your role as a parent. You pass someone on the street or see something on TV and it all comes back.
Or maybe in your attempt to let it Be Ok, you numb out much more than just that single event. Maybe you numb out to an entire category of life, of living, of feeling.
What have you been avoiding?
Here’s an invitation to BE with it. Feel it, fully. As much as you need to. Talk about it, write about it, make a damn movie about it. Become enchanted with your experience. Own it. Move through it.
And maybe even more importantly, let’s teach our kids to do the same. It’s ok to feel sadness. It’s ok to cry.