A comment made recently by a fellow multi got me to pondering the ways in which I present myself on this blog, and to those in my home life.
She lamented having nothing worthwhile to contribute on fellow DID blogs, as well as not having much to write on her own blog. She feels (or felt then, at any rate) that others are doing good therapy work, and experiencing growth and healing which is evading her. (I may not have this verbatim, but I'll let it stand as is, considering that this is an issue I feel many of us contend with.)
One thing I've noticed about my writing on this blog is that, almost without exception, no matter how much of a Debbie Downer I start out as, somehow by the time I reach the last paragraph or couple of lines, I've managed to flip things around so that a positive is being emphasized. Do I do this on purpose? I don't think so, at least not so I'm aware of it myself.
When I have my darkest days I tend to downplay them in this manner, though it is never my intention to give false impressions about the weariness (and worse) of living as a multiple.
Has this been a coping method I've utilized in all areas of my life, I can't help but wonder. Flinch at the shadows, bewail the dark misery--and then turn toward the only ray of light on my horizon? It could be. It could be I've had to do this in order to survive, and if so I've been doing it since I was a kid. I mentioned before being surprised at how happy I appeared in the old home movies. I assumed I was watching an alter at work, and of course that could be the case. I don't know if I had created any parts when these movies were taken. But one thing's for sure, what I experienced, what I felt every day for the rest of my childhood doesn't come close to matching that happy, skipping little girl on film.
I don't want to minimize anything I suffer, because to do so seems traitorous to that little girl, and to my siblings who were also traumatized. At the same time, I don't want to wallow. I don't want sympathy but I do yearn for empathy. Sympathy weakens me, empathy is like an energy drink for my spirit.
Does it help others to delineate every nightmare, every trigger, every doubt and fear? I suppose it depends on the reader. Some may need the details so they can be assured they're not alone in their intense sufferings. That they're not being melodramatic in their reactions.
Some may cringe at the meticulous spelling out of horrors no child should ever suffer. We're all so different in our needs, and not just that but from one day to another, or one moment to another, our needs differ. Maybe I'm coming to some kind of an understanding here. What I write about on any given day is sure to help someone, if it is true. There is power in truth and, now that I'm an adult and no longer at the mercy of my childhood abusers, it is my right and privilege and honor to name the unspeakable. Why? Ah, because I can!
Did you hear that? I can! Tell me there isn't healing power in that! As a child I may as well have had my vocal chords slashed, as little truth as I was able to tell. Not so now. I can speak all I want of these matters, carelessly spilling the beans, leaving a trail behind me. I can write it and speak it and use humor and short stories, and someday my memoir, to dispel the evil spell that rendered me not just tongue-tied, but dumb.
And what of those in my home life? Should I not be so quick to hide how things affect me, for fear they might think I'm just weird? I'm sure that if I hold back with my writing and try to accent the positive, I do the same at home. And just as obliviously. Hmm, I think I'll decide, yes deliberately decide, that that's ok. It's my angst, my memories and triggers: my DID. I can deal with it in which ever way is most comfortable to me. Maybe at times I'll proclaim the truth, as bravely as I sometimes do in my writings; at other times I will deem it more prudent to keep things to myself. There isn't any right or wrong way to do this!
Now, see, here I go again, and I swear I didn't plan to end on a happy note. But here I am anyway, about to say: oh the deliciousness of giving myself permission to not always censor myself, either here or verbally.
How sweet to see it's my choice what to share, what to omit, what to carry with me to my grave. I can do this any old way I want, and there is no one who has the right or power to tell me I'd better start getting in line and goose-stepping.
Uh-uh. Not any more.
To my friend who bewailed her lack of anything of substance to share, I would say: that statement alone is helping someone. It's helping someone who is also struggling with the sinking sensation that they have nothing worthwhile to express. It's helping because it's true.
Whether we rant and rave, curse the darkness, thank God for the gift of DID, or poke fun at our selves, someone somewhere is reading our words, or watching our lives, and getting something tangible and nourishing to take along with them on their own unique journey.
What we say--what any of us say at any time, under any circumstances--matters because we, as the individuals we are, matter.