I once thought about repressing some of my most traumatic childhood memories.
I figured that If I could bury them deep inside me, they wouldn’t wake up to haunt my very existence.
Little did I know back then.
I chose to go that route, to swallow the shame, guilt, fear, and rejection that consumed my innocent mind and bury it deep within my bones.
In my teen years, I did just that.
I didn’t know better—I was guided by my mind, and repression was my answer.
Today I look back at my decisions that once seemed to add strength and value to the choices I have made, what have they done?
Memories of my childhood are now a blur.
The good and the bad are patched up underneath my skin.
Conversations about them hold clouds of fog above my head.
People, places and feelings are all clustered visions of fear and darkness.
Somewhere Inside me something doesn’t feel right.
An uneasiness sits and withers away at my soul.
Had repressing my memories granted me a more fulfilling life?
Today I hold the scars of my past deep in me. Although they are sound asleep, many times they awaken with a sudden cry for help.
They want to break through the barriers that I chose to create for them.
Their “safe haven.”
They open me to new realms of existence.
Their tender vulnerable voices that I heard back then, are now rising to surface and are resonating through me, in ways like never before.
What I once thought was safe, secure and trusted in my own judgement I’ve come to realize it had eaten through my spirit.
So I sit with this feeling.
This naggingly uncomfortable
Bitter and unloving feeling
That has held me down
That has stitched me up in time.
And in a fragment of a second
What feels like something that could never happen—
One stitch has become undone.
My body clenches with anticipation of what I have unnerved.
And so seemingly I feel a sense of tightness begin to release.
I begin to gather the feelings left inside me.
I search the depths of me to combine and seek and gather the pieces that I’ve stringed together.
As I do so, another stitch falls apart.
I am unleashing
My desperate cry
My stale breath
That’s been buried deep within—
And I suddenly feel
A new awakening has begun.
This time it’s all too powerful to want to hold in.
This feeling yearns to come out
In a overwhelmingly
cathartic emotional release.
Stitches unraveling quickly now
As what was once a mind-filled agony
Is now a heart felt choice.
It numbs the mind and fills a moment in time too deep to lead a life of fulfillment.
It weakens the character and causes suffering.
It angers the heart.
I know this now.
I know this all too well.
I know that in order for me to forgive myself of my past I must find it in me to rectify all my anger.
This is not a story that will unfold so easily, since the stories that we learn in our childhood that so seemingly go from Once-upon-a-time to happily ever after.
But this story of mine has a lesson: It has taught me to be vulnerable, and that if I listen to my heart, my soul will guide me.
That depth belongs to the ocean and not to the spirit.
My stitches have not only etched a scar into my spirit, they created an emotionally beautiful one.
Author: Ella Langer
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash