On Shame, Trust and Beginning Again.

If there is one thing that I know about life is that you truly do not know what will happen. The last few years have eroded my heart until it was basically a husk of its former self. Especially the last few months, where my heart and boundaries have been tried more than ever. 

Some things, though – cannot be undone. I cannot forgive some things. 

My mother is probably reading this, and [REDACTED], I’m sorry I was not what you wanted out of a child. But we will never see each other again. What you’ve done to me has caused me the worst injuries throughout the whole history of our relationship and I cannot see past it. Nobody else will tell you, so I will tell you. 

You’re not half the mother you think you are. You cannot fill the hole that’s inside of you with money, drugs, and clothes. I tried to help you throughout all these years ; be it your addictions, your grief (which is another addiction)- it just made you mad. I had no warning about who you are. I’m so glad I never had a baby for you or Dad, because you’re incapable of loving anything unless there is something in it for you. 

I’m just glad I made it out without breaking down. I will run so fucking far that you will never ever touch me again. I will not see your alligator tears or false promises because I’ve had enough of them. 

All I ever wanted was a family of my own, people who would love me unconditionally. At some stage I will have to realise that you’re a monster and that you’re never going to not be a monster. I can’t keep running back to you hoping that I will get the unconditional love and support I was meant to get. You have spent so much of your life telling me how not to be, how I was wrong about everything. Questioning my every movement, action, thought, and process. You demanded my obedience and control over me. You can dress this up in whatever way you want to. You can blame Dad, you can blame Mark, you can blame grief, you can blame your depression. But I have never ever seen you blame yourself or take responsibility for anything you’ve done. 

I needed to lose you to love me. I needed to hate you to love me. I watched you set fire to all of my forests from when I was a child straight through to adulthood. 

You stole my life from me [REDACTED]. You stole nearly 29 years of my life, where you choose to be the victim of anything and everything that has ever befallen you. Your pain has always been more worthy than everyone else around you and I was no exception. Your grief is endless, boundless, and unrelenting. So when you said that you wanted to “grieve for your little girl” I know there will never be an end to that. As there is never an end to your grief. Not then, not when I was a baby, not when I was a teen, not when I was a young adult and not now since I have grown. 

Life stole that family from me, and from that path years ago. When I made the choice that my life was worth more than my ability to bear a child of my own. Life stole many things away from me, but the moment I started to live a more authentic life to myself, the more wonderful things started to change in my life. How things would twist and change as soon as I told myself that I was worth loving. 

When you carve into a sapling the injury is as wide as the tree. But the only thing you can do is grow the tree, and over time the tree will outgrow the injury. 

I’m going to go and grow my tree.

Splinter is making his own steps and his own moves to live and more authentic versions of himself. Re-prioritising his thoughts and sense of self to something that is more holistically beneficial for him overall. It means him going through a hard time himself too, not just in terms of me and my chronic ailments but how I’m coping psychologically. We’ve endured a lot over the last few years, especially over the last few months. My transitioning has been hard on us both – in ways we didn’t expect. We’re also at that stage of our lives where people we know are getting divorced or dying. We’re grateful to each other – that we can still laugh, joke, feel joy and love from each other. We know plenty of others who have been through less but didn’t survive it. 

I’m endlessly proud and joyful to be a part of his life – for however long I have him. 

Believing I’m worthy of love, and deserve to be loved has been my biggest personal struggle. My weight for sure has been a subject of contention for many years and especially since I had the radical hysterectomy. As I’m polyamourous, I wanted to get back into living again and not just surviving which means, invariably, dating again and the really frightening part – letting someone new in. 

I didn’t realise just how much would be tangled in my relationship with trust. Primarily how much or how little I trust myself. I got the oddest kick with my relationship with myself – being unable to squat onto a bench as I was untrusting that I could make the descent and rise. I’ve thought about it on and off since, wondering how I can learn to build trust in myself and not have it invariable tied to others. 

One betrayal often leads down a rabbit hole of all the other betrayals and those yet to come. Preparing to be disappointed, so much energy spent. That’s why it’s such a tragedy when it’s broken. Trust is your relationship to the unknown but you can’t control it and it’s not all or nothing. It’s worth it to keep trying. 

That’s what I’ve learned through my new partner. That it’s worth it to keep trying. Believing he won’t hurt me, listening to his words, reading in his movements, his actions, his intentions. Instead of constantly watching and waiting, I want to learn to trust him. I want to learn that it’s safe – that he means it when he says how he feels and that the time we spend together is precious to me. 

Being seen, loved and desired is one of the greatest gifts that I’ve experienced. It’s that sweetness that you see in roads you don’t choose. In lovers that have been and gone. In families that you didn’t have. Always looking for that something. Always out of reach. Always “yet”. 

Instead of always craving that sweetness, I’m seeing it in the people I meet. In the smiles and touches that are shared with me. I see it in my seven month Newfoundland puppy in his smile and warmth. I see it in the tenderness of my nine-year-old cocker spaniel as she curls up at my side and sleeps. I see it in Splinter’s eyes at the end of a joke or a bad pun; in the smiling at my oddities of wanting my apples cut or disassembling every hotel TV so I could get a PlayStation hooked up. I hear it in Essa’s all caps messages telling me she loves me. I feel it in Courtney’s words as we celebrate work achievements, mourn our respective losses and share in each other’s lives. 

“As soon as you realise your own worth, the sooner it will harder to stay around people who don’t.”

Foolish and naïve it may be to feel this way about someone new – as I know flames that burst in to light go out the quickest. To have someone change how I feel about myself so quickly is irresponsible, but I’m eternally grateful for him. I found my joy and maybe some hope in him. Every life is filled with passing moments, much like people, seasons change and come and go. But love is fickle when it calls, even when it calls to me to love myself. 

For now, even just so ever briefly; I can learn to let go, breathe, walk in peace, safe knowing that for the first time in many years I can love myself as much as the surrounding people love me. 

To walk toward a life that is filled with so much joy and love and light that I won’t be able to fathom it. 

Be it starlight or sunlight, I now know for sure, there is joy and hope waiting for me. I know my roots will grow deep and I will find the nutrients to grow tall. To take shade under my own tree, to grow my own fruit and take it all in. 

No more despair. 

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