Out of the Shadows
Healing is an arduous journey that, for the most part, every human being must take alone. And on some days I question if the end goal, the mythical idea of being healed, is even fully possible. Some of the wounds that hide beyond my guarded surface run so deep, and connect to memories so treacherous that it has taken years to admit they might be true.
Sitting here in front of this keyboard I beg myself to let the curtains come down for just a moment, a moment long enough to pour the pain out onto this page, and it’s daunting.
I feel this whirling pool of shame for the memories that haunt me, and I know that if I allow the light to dissolve my shadows that there is no longer plausible deniability. If you never speak of tragedy then you can try to forget that it ever happened. But with that comes problems of its own.
Because when you lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling in the midst of another flashback, you always silently doubt that your memories are real. You do this, not because they aren’t, in fact, real, but because of all the voices who told you that your suffering never happened.
“I don’t remember it that way.” They say.
“You were always so dramatic.”
“No one will ever believe you.”
“You’re the one who’s guilty, not us.”
Years of training and manipulation taught you to gaslight yourself into believing, on the surface, that maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe you are being dramatic. Maybe none of it ever happened, even though you can see all the images so clearly in your head.
Healing becomes that much harder when the voices of your abusers continue to gaslight you for the experiences that have festered into a toxic waste inside you. Even when you begin to think that you’ve made progress, somehow, it seems that all the waste is still just lying dormant under the surface. Waiting to rear its head when you least expect it.
Deep down I have always felt that writing my experiences might be the only real way for me to heal. The only way to get these monsters out of my head, onto paper, and out of the shadows of anonymity. As long as these memories remain unspoken, they remain potent.
It’s like in all of the great horror movies, you must speak the name of the demon to take away their power. So long as they can hide the truth underneath veils of secrecy and shame, their victim remains powerless. But the moment the demon’s name is spoken the game has changed.
By revealing the truth, you cast light upon the shadows.
No evil can hide from you when you call it by name, but you must be brave enough to enter the shadows and call it by name. There is no other way.
Take inventory of all of the wounds inside your soul, and carefully excavate them, until there is finally room for you to be at home in your own skin.
I know that’s what I have to do to heal, and so…the journey begins.