Wounds to the heart and mind are an all too normal consequence of being alive. Mostly they do not show, and far less time and attention is given to fixing them. If you aren’t too broken to work, the odds are no support will be available. All too often, what the heart-wounded get are basically just pain killers; anti-depressants, to blot it out and keep you going. Sometimes time off from the distress can be a great help, but it isn’t reliable.
Wounds to the heart and mind can be made slowly, over years. You don’t see them happening necessarily, but each day a little bit more can be sandpapered off you. Too small an injury to be worth protesting. Just a slap. Just an unkind word. Years of small wounds can take a tremendous toll.
I don’t really inhabit my own body. I don’t feel my own pain unless I make a point of paying attention to it. I do not notice my own skin, again unless I bother to concentrate. That’s not about skin damage, but heart-wounding that made me retreat from the surfaces of myself in order to cope. I learned not to feel anything at all. It spared me from being both hurt, and manipulated, and that was helpful. Now it means that most of the time I am rock and ice, and very few people who touch me actually register with me as any kind of sensual experience. That sucks. It’s not who I want to be any more.
These are things I have only noticed in the last few weeks, a kind of waking up to how closed and dead I have been. I get sudden, brief flashes of being aware of all my skin. There’s so much of it, and all of it is capable of feeling, all the time. Temperature, texture, pressure, comfort, discomfort… a whole universe of possibility to explore.
This waking up in not an accident, nor is it of anyone else’s making. It comes after years of my working to rebuild myself, and it has been triggered in earnest by choices I’ve made lately, pushing out of my comfort zone. I cannot, however, do this on my own. Now begins the interesting process of figuring out who might be able to help me take a few baby steps forward. Who do I trust, to quite literally hold my hand while I try to figure out how to climb back into this skin? How do I have those conversations?