This country of resensitization is foreign to me, its landscapes and even its sky unfamiliar. In this borderland between trauma running amok in my body and mind, and a newfound sense of awareness and ownership of the damage done, I am finally experiencing all the feelings I locked away for so long. Sometimes I feel that all I’m doing is complaining; I rage about the atrocities visited on my body and soul, keen the losses of time and relationships and myself.
Sylvia Brenton Perera writes of complaining in her book, Descent to the Goddess:
Complaining is one voice of the dark goddess. It is a way of expressing life, valid, and deep in the feminine soul. It does not, first and foremost, seek alleviation, but simply to state the existence of things as they are felt to be to a sensitive and vulnerable being. It is one of the bases of the feeling function, not to be seen and judged from the stoic-heroic superego perspective as foolish qvethcing and passive whining, but just as autonomous fact–“that’s the way it is.” Enki’s wisdom teaches us that suffering with is part of reverencing.
The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the origin of reverence as:
revereri “to stand in awe of, respect, honor, fear, be afraid of; revere
It also explains that the suffixed root wer comes from the Proto-Indo-European root meaning “perceive, watch out for.”
Living in this body that has so much to complain about, I feel I have to somehow get my head around the process of becoming one being, rather than a physical form full of pain and a mind that wants to avoid the suffering. The moments of intense feeling, in which I can touch the still tender wounds, do feel like something to watch out for and perceive, rather than turn away from and pretend they don’t exist. My judgemental mind tells me I’m indulging the pain by bitching and moaning, but I feel the truth in Perera’s words; when I complain, I am expressing things as they are, without trying to alleviate anything.
And I am in awe of the feelings. They are ginormous and when they arise, they take up all the space in my body, and so they should; they have waited a lifetime to be seen and honored. I can’t say that I feel particularly welcoming towards them yet, but I aspire to be able to perceive their arrival and offer them reverence and acceptance.
In this time of transition and growing awareness, I walk in a place between; I move from the being who did everything, anything, to survive and escape the past, to a new entity who sees and accepts all that other being carries and slowly aims to discover who she is. There has never been time or energy for me to know myself. Now I have both, as well as the agency with which to embody the pain without breaking apart.
This landscape is mine; it is me. All of it. I am all the messy and painful feelings, aching to be known. And I am the trembling joy of movement and song. I am the woman who talks to her plants, appreciating and encouraging them and the one who coos to the birds. I am the one who jitters when driving, as well as the one who notices these feelings and responds with acceptance and skill. I am the rage, the desire to destroy and the one who holds it all with grace, as much grace as possible, so no more damage is done.
I will roam about this place until every feeling is noticed and felt, even if I must spend a lifetime doing it. I have already lived through violence no living being should have to endure. I don’t often feel courageous but I’m beginning to know that I must be, otherwise how could I still be here at all? Perhaps, amongst all the other abandoned feelings, I will find and feel awe for my bravery.