She knows right where to puncture for fresh water within mishandled wounds. When I’m at my most vulnerable circling the drain, she knows what to do to pull away the thing weighing me down. Yesterday she hit a trigger:
“I remove all non-me energy related to being silenced…”
That did it. It fractured my smooth and carefully polished veneer. As much as I tried to stop them, the tears began welling. My voice began cracking. No amount of water necessary to perform this exercise would suffice. Her eyes were honed in on the thing still weighing me down. And in the friendly fire, I floated a joke. To ease the increasing tension. To try to comfort someone equipped in seeing my vulnerability.
Who was I protecting? Her or me?
Who was my audience? Her or me?
Pain is a funny thing. In it, the most hardened of us with strong backs and long patience float to humor to break the heaviness. We use it to diffuse our oppressors, those intentionally or not breaking us down to shreds. So when someone of pure intention is ready to come down the rabbit hole with us, why do we resort to the same tactics?
Maybe it’s muscle memory.
Maybe it’s a cry for help masked as a cry from laughter.
To be honest, I’m not sure of the answer yet.
She watches me sit with the pain, the intrusive thoughts as they try to hold on when called forward. There’s no worry on her face, no concern. Just a look of knowing what needs to happen and allowing it to. In therapy, onscreen with a woman 200 miles away, in my office needing to release but holding back tears, I am exposed. My nerves are exposed. My triggers, exposed. And the tears don’t shock her.
“Let the words process…”
“Be careful getting up…”
“Drink some water…”
Drink the fresh water and acknowledge the pain to survive.