I am huddled in a corner of the kitchen, knees drawn up to my chest, arms wrapped around myself. As if I’m trying to hold tightly enough so that I don’t come apart at the weak spots.
I stare at the knife block. I know she keeps them sharp. I know it’s a dark thought, and it scares me, but the promise of…something…is pulling me like a magnet. What would it feel like to draw the blade across my skin? To see the signs of life, bright red, come rushing up to the surface? Proof that I am, in fact, still alive. Would I feel release? A bit of freedom from the tension of questions with no answers? Would I feel relief? I am, actually, alive–the blood is proof–and I can exhale now.
But I haven’t the courage, or the words, or the will to explain it all…the mess, the why…when they come home and have to save me.
So I just keep rocking, squeezing, and praying, “Please come home soon….please come home soon…”
Truth Hits Close to Home
Many people don’t know this part of my story. It isn’t a chapter most people are comfortable reading.
The truth of this moment–and many others like it–hits too close to home. Raises too many feelings of helplessness. Too many questions of why. Too much guilt. Too much fear.
To spare the people around us from feeling these things, those of us who’ve lived such chapters keep the pages to ourselves. We silently bear the burdens of proximity, helplessness, unanswered whys, guilt, and fear.
And we do ourselves a disservice believing we are alone.
Wisdom Comes Slowly
It has been twenty years since I sat in the corner of that kitchen. I wish I could tell you that I no longer felt helpless, that I am no longer afraid. But I still have times when I feel these things, and I bet that you do, too. The difference twenty years makes is that I know feeling helpless does not mean I am helpless. Feeling afraid doesn’t mean I am fearful. Feelings no longer define me. That monster has been beheaded.
I no longer ask why I experienced these things. In a strange way, I am grateful they happened. A long time ago, the why ceased to matter because it was replaced with a what. What did I learn? What do I now see? What do I feel? What do I know? And perhaps most importantly, what will I do today because of what I experienced yesterday?
You Are Welcome at My Table
That moment in the corner of the kitchen and the other moments like it, changed me in deep and profound ways. They changed the shape of my table and opened up seats for more people. You are welcome at my table if….
…you don’t have all the answers…
…you don’t know all the questions…
…you’ve bruises on your heart that hurt to explain…
…you’ve stains on your soul that shame you when they show…
…you know you’re becoming, but you’re not always sure what…
…you have the courage to be real, even just a little bit…
…come in, come over here, and have a seat by me here at my table. Let us honor our pain for the things it has taught us and speak of the healing we crave.
Please, if you are having thoughts of self-harm, reach out to someone for help. You are not alone.