Day 173: Fun, Agony, Tears, and Relief (Trigger Warning)
There is so much to say about the last three days. I hardly know where to begin. I suppose for simplicity's sake, and to help my brain, I'll approach this experience chronologically.
Thursday night was a tough one. I considered going to AF's house to stay the night after the ugly thing my H (I will not refer to him any longer as DH) said to me. I spoke about it in my entry that night, so I won't reiterate it now. AF saw my posting and texted me, offering to come pick up me and the boys to stay the night. It was upsetting to her, in fact she used the word "livid" to describe her feelings. I opted to stay home because of the mayhem it would have introduced to get us out of the house. I was certainly upset with my H, but it didn't feel emergent to me. He is good to the boys and they love him. I didn't want to abruptly pull them out of the house without warning or awareness of there being a problem. AF and I exchanged messages for probably the better part of two hours. She was incredibly supportive and protective. I needed that! Also, I realized I would be just as upset were I in her shoes. I would make a bee line to her house to get her and her kids out of a situation like that. So, I completely understood her reaction. And, I did want to go. But, I wasn't ready to do it. I wanted time to think and to plan. I am not one to jump quickly unless I feel very sure about where my feet will land. I know this means tolerating more discomfort. I just accept that. I would certainly have taken her up on it if something harmful happened (like one of us was hit or physically violated in some other way). I guess the short of it for me is I feel the situation is difficult, but not dangerous.
I didn't sleep much on Thursday night, but the hours I was asleep were sound. That was how my week went. I slept 4 to 5.5 hours, but the sleep was sound, without nightmares. By the time I made it to AF's house to pick her up for the retreat I was pretty wobbly. I was certainly emotionally wobbly, knowing what the retreat meant to me. But, I was physically wobbly from insufficient sleep. (In fact, I'm thinking right now I should have taken tomorrow off. I feel totally worn out . . . AF told me I would. Garrr. I'm going to have to tell her she was right!)
She offered to drive and I readily accepted. I don't usually give the keys to someone else, but I didn't want her at risk with my tiredness and difficulty focusing. Also, I had a play list of songs for the drive. As the passenger I was able to DJ the drive, which is something that gives me joy. She and I went out to breakfast and hit the road. I sat comfortably in the passenger seat with my feet up on the dashboard, visiting with her and talking about the songs that came up on the list. The list was comprised of songs that mean a great deal to me in the context of our friendship, songs I guessed she would love based on what I know of her up to now, and songs I wanted to introduce her to. We drove and visited for the couple hours it took to find our location. It was very pleasant and relaxing. I felt like I was leaving anxiety and worry behind. We made our way to a cabin in the mountains.
Friday afternoon we visited shops and found a restaurant where we would have dinner. It had been recommended to AF by a colleague. We looked over the menu and made reservations. There was an item on the menu that I love and I was excited to get to have this meal (ravioli di carne) in a high-quality restaurant. Before dinner AF needed to take a nap. We were busy puttering around and got back a little too late for that. I ended up playing my guitar and singing a few songs for her. It felt great to do that. I love to sing and play. I am not talented, but it gives me great joy. She disagrees with me about the talent part. It's hard for me to believe I am anything other than mediocre. And, I'm OK with that. I don't know, however, if my perception comes from my mom's programming.
Friday night and Saturday morning we took turns helping one another with physical pain. She had a headache and taught me how to use some of the techniques she uses to help treat it. I had learned massage therapy years ago, so I already had a little bit of ability to use my hands to help someone relax. She treated me, but much more comprehensively. It was very effective and I felt amazing as a result.
The restaurant we went to on Friday night had paper table cloths and crayons, which allowed me to introduce AF to a game I used to play all the time, called "Dudes." In this game one person comes up with a theme and attempts to draw the theme. The next person adds to the drawing, typically using stick figures. (We invented this game when I was a kid and it had to be stick figures because I can't draw.) I can barely make even a recognizable stick figure.
It took a few minutes for me to come up with a theme, but a fun one popped into my mind, "Dudes in Giant Land." I started the drawing with the edge of a castle. She drew a giant flower. I added a dude carrying the giant flower. She drew a giant bee getting ready to stick the flower-carrying dude. This is how the game goes. Back and forth coming up with surprising things to make the other person laugh. The fun is in them figuring out what you're drawing and coming up with something in response. Our bus-boy looked over our drawing and added his perspective to it, which made us all laugh. I can't remember what he said now but he was pretty engaged with the story of what was happening to all of the dudes in our game. The food we shared was wonderful. I also got to have a magnificent glass of wine with dinner.
The weather was beautifully warm and we had a very relaxing evening. We were both pretty tired, so we ended up calling it a night fairly early. We each slept soundly and weren't up and about until after 10:30 in the morning. It felt great to sleep so well!
Saturday was pretty similar to Friday. I got to make French toast for us, which ended up being lunch rather than breakfast. We went into town. While we were there we hiked a bit on one of the trails. We listened to live music and did a little window shopping and made it back to the cabin in time to prepare dinner. We bought steaks to grill and serve with corn on the cob and baked potatoes. We put the potatoes in to cook. She observed I was in pain and offered to work on me. I felt self-conscious about it because she'd already treated me. But I eventually agreed. I was feeling the well of emotion inside me pressing upward. I knew it would be possible for the emotions to surface this time. I decided to just allow whatever would happen to happen. I thought of what my T said to me on Thursday morning, "Think 'I am' statements, as in, I am a person who cries."
I let that thought repeat in my head as AF worked on me. I felt deeper and deeper intensity as she worked. She has incredible intuition and is able to find the problem areas. Also, I was able to guide her to the places where the most pain resides. Eventually she made her way to an area in my abdomen that seems to hold my grief and anger. I was frightened but also very much wanted to let the barrier be broken. As she worked I could tell the emotions were stuck. I knew it would require some force to break through the wall. I kept hearing in my head, "I need you to hurt me." I tried for some time to avoid the thought. I thought it would upset or worry her. She could tell, however, I was holding something in. Eventually I asked her to use more force, to help push the poison out. She was hesitant, but followed my lead. It goes against her nature to hurt someone. I knew I was asking a lot of her. I needed her to trust me as I trust her. And she did.
She used enough force to cause quite a bit of pain for me. In reality it wasn't much force at all.
I feel the need to explain what I understood to be happening. She was working primarily on the fascia of my abdomen to smooth it out (I don't know if I understand this correctly). And, she was working on the stuck energy in my body, to get it to flow and release. There was so much knotted up in several areas, and so much locked energy it was very tender, hot, and sensitive. It only took a small amount of pressure to produce a significant amount of pain.
I did my best to mask the pain so she would feel confident to proceed. I'm sure I wasn't actually masking it at all. She is able to read me perfectly. So, I was really just comforting myself with the idea I was masking pain from her.
The truth is, she put a great deal of trust in me to not cause myself to be harmed in this process. She is amazingly courageous and has a miraculous ability to rely on intuition. In this sense, we were able to rely on one another's intuition. For me, it was about how far to push the pain in order to break the barrier to my emotions . . . to let Little Intrepid cry. Little Intrepid was in there wanting to voice her feelings and needing to be held. I was determined to take care of her.
That was the thought that finally broke my emotions loose. I was thinking of her and what she went through during the first rape. By this point in AF's treatment I was panting and having myoclonic jolts. I was thinking about the first rape and how very much I needed comforting afterward. I felt myself wanting to reach out for my mom to hold me and knowing I could not. Finally the emotion ruptured and I began to shake with tears. At some point AF pulled me into her arms and held me tight. The tears barked out of me with great spasms. Or, they seemed that way to me. After a time my mind slipped into a flashback and I ended up curling into a ball on the floor. I kept feeling him in me, hurting me. I felt the stinging and confusion. I felt my mom putting those pills in me. I felt alone and lost. I felt sad and afraid. I felt so very much pain. It was like a chasm inside of me, endlessly deep and black.
Major trigger warning about the spoiler
In my mind I could see my mom facing away from me. I became incredibly angry and punched the floor. I pulled back and punched again with more force. I started to pull back again to punch with full force, but AF grabbed my arm. Gently. She would not let me hurt myself. She ended up holding me again for a long time. She comforted me with her words as I cried into her shoulder. She told me to let it out. She told me I was safe. She rocked me as I cried and shook, for I don't know how long. We ended up sitting on the couch and she just held me, reassuring me. I was so afraid it was wrong for me to need this and to want to be held like this. I asked several times and she replied each time it isn't wrong. She pointed out I would do this for my children and I would do this for her if the roles were reversed.
Finally our dinner called. The timer went off for the potatoes. It was weird to transition back into adult Intrepid. I wasn't sure how to do that. But, cooking dinner helped. Afterward we ended up watching a delightful movie and just sitting together. She could see I was in pain. She had me keep an ice pack on my abdomen through the movie. It helped quite a bit. I massaged her feet, feeling it was the least I could do. And, in return she massaged mine. It was very relaxing and helped me feel fully restored to my adult self.
We finally turned in at about 11:30 pm and had a good night's sleep. I had a fair amount of pain in my abdomen. I felt lighter. I felt relieved. I definitively felt different. I felt tender and vulnerable, but not afraid or anxious.
Most importantly, I didn't feel ashamed. I didn't feel I had done something bad.
I woke in the night a few times from nightmares, but they weren't terrible. I was able to get back to sleep quickly. We got up within a short time of one another and made breakfast. I felt another pang inside me and could feel myself pulling back from her. Of course she noticed it and commented. She asked me if I was in pain, if she could treat me. I didn't need to be treated, I needed to be held. I wanted so much to ask; I was afraid. But, I thought again about Little Intrepid. I had a commitment to her, to voice her needs and do what I can to meet them. I told AF I wanted to be held. I said I had been wanting that but was afraid to ask. She told me never to be afraid to ask for that.
She sat down with me on the couch and I curled into her with my head on her shoulder. She grabbed tight around me. There was something about being held with such strength that felt overpowering to my adult barriers. I wrapped my arms around her and tried to listen to Little Intrepid. She was pretty far away, afraid she would get in trouble, afraid of allowing herself to be held. I started talking to her in my head and telling her how sorry I was for everything that happened to her. How much pain I knew she felt. AF was stroking my hair and my back saying comforting things to me as the same time. Then, suddenly, more tears came. They weren't the racking, coughing sobs from the night before. They were more quiet, more sadness than anger.
After a while she brought me a tissue for my nose and I cried a little more. Finally I realized it must be time to leave, or even after the time we were supposed to leave. She had an event to attend and I was afraid I had made her late. It was late, when she checked the time. We scooted out of there and made it back to town just in time. We had a lively conversation on the drive back. I felt strange transitioning back to professional, adult Intrepid.
I have been home now for about six hours. I am still transitioning. My body aches all over. My left wrist and shoulder feel like I punched a floor. My muscles all through my rib cage are sore like I have been through a workout. My abdomen feels a little like it was punched several times. But, there is no bruising.
My body is bearing the signs of the great battle it just fought. It has had to hold and protect those emotions and memories for all of these years. I pushed it into significant pain in order to push out the toxins, like lancing a boil. And, now, although I am sore and on the edge of exhaustion, I feel lighter. I feel less toxic. I feel less anguish.
I feel loved.