Hovering, watching, separate, I floated above as my father touched the body of she-me. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t understand then that if God couldn’t stop him, He gave me safety in my mind to fly away. That gift of dissociating served me well throughout the years of abuse but became a habit when dealing with anything disturbing. She-me felt all the pain, I floated and witnessed.
In graduate school a med resident needed practice using hypnosis technics, I guess I must have volunteered. He was amazed at how quickly I went under. I was not. I had been leaving my body all of my life. Coming back to it is the hard part.
I no longer float away but I still don’t know how to stay fully present, how to feel like I imagine others do. I stay apart, participating on the surface, feeling later. Great in a crisis, my feelings don’t interfere until much later. But daily I have begun to ask myself what is holding me back from responding in the moment. Not only protected from harm, I am cheated of deep joy, shared joy, only allowing feelings to surface when alone. What does it take to unlearn even more, to trust that the danger is gone? I know the answer lies in God, the One who gave me the gift initially, Who now wants it back.
I wonder if I can’t use some of the other gifts He has shared with me, gifts of a husband and friends, gifts of the Spirit. I don’t have to protect she-me anymore. I am an adult with choices of what to let in, who to let in, accepting grace and love and hope. Remembering to stay low and not float away, low where real life happens. Where kids get dirty, knees get skinned, wet dogs want to cuddle, cats bring dead moles, a daughter stops calling, a son starts drinking, but also where a sweet voice calls for nanny, a husband keeps reaching out, friends see deeper.
God is asking for His gift back, I can see that now. The courage to trust the One who loved me first will open me up to all those who love me now. I need His help in letting go of this old habit, I do know He was only waiting for me to ask. Today I am asking. Goodbye She-me.