Okay, so I have been meaning to write for awhile. I felt the itch and scratch somewhere in my brain. What I couldnít figure out was about what? Then a small series of events happened. Not bad. They just happened.
So heres the first thing I need to confess. I have bad days sometimes. Like this October, I got randomly triggered by a book I read. Then things came crashing down around me. The good part was it only lasted two weeks. I still managed to be a high functioning member of society. I wasnít completely drawn into that dark place I sometimes go. That was a big deal. Because A.) It means Iím learning to cope better when these things happen and B.) Its not as scary as I once thought-meaning I wasnít going to be locked into a super depression that felt never ending. So thats good news! Yay.
In the time or rather over the last couple years as this has become an ongoing thing, Iíve drawn into myself. For a couple reasons. I donít want people close to me to have to deal with me when things are not great. Its my problem, its my past, and its my healing. I just donít want to burden someone with all that Iím going through. Its so painful in the moment for me. Why would you want to share that with someone? Friend, lover, relativeÖwhoever. Plus there really is no guarantee they will have any understanding of what its like to face your past or what having a past like mine did to me.
I donít want your sympathy. I donít want that kind of reaction. Its so disempowering. It makes me feel so small. Because in its own way, sympathy without any understanding feels like what Iím going through is minimalised. Or that Iím a victim. When really for me, this is the hardest thing Iíve ever had to do. Is face the ugly truth.
I hope I donít sound angry. Because I love my friends, I love my relatives. But there are these times when I just donít let people see this side of me. The ugly truth side.
I realized though lately, its not just that. Its because I think its ugly. I donít know where I got the idea that dealing with childhood trauma is ugly. Maybe because that is how it makes me feel. The anger, sadness and reliving memories is not pretty. Its painful. Iím not really sure how to make those feelings or the trauma a good thing. I think my own perspective of the ďugly truthĒ is pretty deeply ingrained.
It gets deeper still. I started to isolate myself when I would remember or get triggered. Which happened over the past few years. Its yes, because I really donít want to burden anyone with this when I myself am barely handling it sometimes. The other reason, is I feel ashamed. Iím supposed to be a strong person, the epitome of my ancestors who survived unspeakable things. But going through this makes me feel weak and at times so useless. I feel shame in that. Other times because I could cry for days. I could lie in bed all day. I donít want people to see this side of me that barely functions.
On the other hand, I totally get why people going through similar things like me drink or get high. Sometimes I think it would be nice to do that. So I donít have to feel anymore. Thats just not me. Cause what would be the point of facing my fear and then drowning it so I canít feel. I think I did that enough as child, and yes I know its how I survived; but thats part of the problem. Not feeling. Being numb. Or in my case just pretending like everything is okay and walking it off.
Now though, I realized being so isolated is not healthy. Its probably not a very safe way to live life. Since I realized I donít really have regular contact with a group of friends or relatives on a regular basis. Which means if something bad happened to me, no one would know. No one would think to check either since I kinda overdo it on being independent. Which really is not a good thing.
I have times like this summer were I was super high functioning and super social. But I kinda let that slide. I realize its because I intentionally isolated myself. I let the ďugly truthĒ live and breathe to the point that my shame of my own trauma affected myself esteem. I donít feel good about myself. Because a part of me is also scared of dealing with my past, Iím scared of how this will affect my life. I donít want anyone to see that. I hide it.
I think though, that its always been my process. I deal with things on the inside. Which has its good and bad merits. In some situations its a good thing to a have a solid poker face or a stanch walk it off walk. But when that rules your life its not a good thing either. Which I think why writing has really helped me stop internalizing everything, beating myself up and generally being super closed off to the world. Its helped process the things I canít talk about or god forbid share with a real human being!
In contrast to all this is my face. I have a tattoo on my forehead. You canít miss it. I did it because I had a dream that the spirits marked me and etched this into my face. I didnít do it for a long long time. Since I knew things would never be the same. People stare, say fucked up things, and avert their eyes like Iím a monster. Its funny to being in the east, like when I lived in Ottawa. Indian people would give me dirty looks, mean eyes, stink eye. It was awful. I didnít expect that from other Indian people. Non-Natives I get. Since yeah I know I look different. Different doesnít do well in this world. I didnít think though that I would feel bad about it. My dream was a very special gift and I chose to honour that dream years later. I realize though that one of my greatest weakness is not being a soft, kind person. Like how they talk about, ďwalk gently on the earth.Ē Thats not me. Iím generally known as an angry person or have ďthat kindaĒ reputation. My tattoo though I realized is to teach me to be kind to those that give me dirty looks, who ask me fucked up things, and generally treat me badly. To be graceful and to be like those elder ladies we all know who can kick yer ass but be the most elegant at the same time. I have not even come close to mastering this. Since my anger still gets the best of me. Which happened the other day when I went out with a friend. One day maybe I will be a better, kinder, loving person I hope and not let these little moments affect me. One day!
Add to this equation, academia. Then all this Iíve been writing about becomes a soup of sorts. Iím working on masters program at the moment focusing on sustainable housing. I want to keep my word and build my dad a home. Its my big dream to build somewhere our family can come too. That is safe and warm. That has love and good feelings. That was made just for us. I started out this fall trying to figure out what I needed to know and examine while Iím in school. So I started looking at the history of the indian act and federal indian housing policy. Granted Iíve pretty much only skimmed the surface. It was quite the traumatizing read! I wasnít thinking I would get triggered by reading eurocentric thought on Indians in the ďnew worldĒ but I did. Man, I was more mad that it affected me! Since this is not new to me, I just had to research and ďproveĒ facts. However, in the process of all this I had to present ideas. Which is fine. Iím totally okay with public speaking and presenting. No biggie. Only problem was I assumed people knew more. It just left me feeling on the defence even though all this history, policy and its impacts on our communities is fact. I wasnít presenting a conspiracy theory or anything that didnít happen. Iíve just felt drained from answering questions. The conversations were really good, really respectful. It wasnít until days later did I realize how tiring all those questions made me. In my defence I did my best to try to be accurate as I could. Overall Iím so blessed with this opportunity since it challenges me to be better in its own way. But it is challenging. I hope not to drown in academia this year. I hope to do a good job and learn what we need to make this house a reality.
Overall, Iím okay. I just had a few setbacks and few moments of enlightenment. Good or bad enlightenments it doesnít matter. Since it will all lead to the same place. Seeing things for what they really are. Standing full on in front of the mirror. Cause that mirror shows me my bad habits, my ingrained ideas that need to be changed in order to be a better person. Which yes, I havenít figured out the how quite yet. I feel worn out. But I know for a fact Iím getting better. Its super slow, kinda like the UN processes-just kidding. Political joke insert here!
And yes, I've committed myself to not being so anti-social. Even though I'm so used to just heading out rather than hanging out. I will make more of an effort to not be so closed off from the world. Even if the world doesn't understand me or like me. I can still be a part of it. Haha...or gives me dirty looks while I'm walking down the street! I need to just smile at those people, even though I really really want to tell them off! ha! I will not tell people off, I will not tell people off! Just kidding.
So if yer reading this, I hope that my thoughts about my own healing help you out. I write because it helps me think, process and face my own self. Because it lightens the load a little bit. Either way, I donít have real answers just new thoughts which eventually lead to thinking differently. Thanks for reading.