“You’re the biggest disappointment of my life,” read a new text I received one morning as I walked through Harlem toward the subway station to catch a train to the Bronx.
I usually tried to let this person’s messages role off my back, but this one stung and stayed stuck on repeat in my mind.
I showed up that day to my clinical internship not fully present because of it. There was little compassion for my emotional state though.
At the time, I was an intern at one of the most challenging hospital placements in New York City, and if I showed any sort of “weakness,” they were on me in seconds to let me know.
I had a conversation later that day where the person tore apart my personality and told me to learn to be okay with silence. Her final words were “to do better” and to shut the door on my way out. I did as she instructed and left to sit alone in a room, where I rocked and cried in a child’s chair feeling that I was, indeed, a disappointment.
“Nobody should ever make you feel that way, Rebecca. If they do, learn to say, ‘F*ck it’ and keep marching,” said my therapist that evening. I sobbed and sobbed into my phone, wrapping myself up tightly in my blankets and listening to the air escape from my air mattress.
“Your homework tonight is to go to the store, get some Ben & Jerry’s, and not give two f*cks about how much of it you eat.” I giggled, as I always did when she swore. She was a badass therapist and the first person who ever got me to say “f*ck.” At one point, she made me punch a pillow over and over, encouraging me to get angry. I always struggled to do this though. I just swallowed it all and cried.
“You know I care a lot about you, Rebecca?” my therapist said as I fidgeted with my lanyard, swallowed my tears, and sat across from her in silence a few months later. “You’re mad,” she then said.
“No, I’m not,” I responded, attempting to smile. She looked at me directly with sadness in her eyes.
“I’m fine,” I continued in denial.
“Why not get angry at me?” she questioned. I couldn’t respond. All I could do was continue to swallow so not to cry.
She was right. I was mad at her. I had made her into the mom I had always wanted and now she was closing her practice and leaving me behind. A part of me wanted to throw her Buddha statue and kick and scream on the floor. Another part of me wanted to tell her to f*ck off.
Most of me, though, just wanted to cry.
Most of me just loved this woman so very much.
Most of me wanted to jump into her lap, make her Miss Honey and me Matilda, and go to her home to read bedtime stories.
We all have different parts within us, and they are all unique. Some are stronger than others. Some maybe we never meet. For me, my strongest “part,” or in DID language, alter, is a small child. She’s five years old and wants a nice mommy more than anything in the world. She’s cute and scared. She wants to learn. She wants to travel, but more more than anything, she just wants someone to be her mom.
It’s been five years now since I worked with Miss Honey in NYC. It hasn’t been an easy journey since she left, but I promised her I’d take care of this little girl inside me. I promised her I’d keep her safe.
And so in her honor, I try to be authentic each and every day with the world, even if it means sometimes saying, “f*ck off.”
This little girl is safe now with me.
She is my greatest joy in life at the moment.
She is my little Rebe, and for once in her life, she’s going to get to do everything, and anything, her little heart desires.
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