Every day I wake up with the same question: How broken do you really feel?

Sometimes questions follow me around – for a month or two the question lies there, my first and last thought, and at my most distracted moments, my only thought. I sometimes believe it is my unconscious voice, the part of me that needs to make itself heard, gently pulling at the sleeve of my mind, hoping to receive attention.

How broken do you really feel?

It’s easy to lie to yourself, but it takes self management. It takes thought and control, it takes effort to tell yourself lies. And sometimes, if you let your guard down for a moment, perhaps when pausing at the start of a blank page, another voice begins to speak.

I understand my Psyche in a very distinct way; there is a little girl with holes in her eyes who lives somewhere inside and then there is my outside self; the woman with all the labels. Wife. Friend. Sister. Daughter. Even mother, maybe. The little girl has claws and teeth and tears for hair sometimes, other times she is quiet and grown and gentle. When the woman with all the labels starts to lie, starts to pile things up, the little girl begins to ask questions:

How broken do you really feel?

She’s invested in my brokeness – she is made up of it. She carries all of my scars on her arms, all of my wounds. If I ignore her she starts to rage; she cannot be ignored. She must be loved, placated, tendered into kindness – without attention her teeth will grow and her claws will sharpen and before long I will have a beast inside me tearing me up and it will be my fault. I have not listened to her. I have not listened to her questions.

How broken do you really feel?

It’s not a threat but it is a warning. Look at me, she is saying, Look at me again.

Do you feel well? Do you feel broken?

Can you be honest about your pain?

When the woman with all the labels tries to stick those labels over her, she begins to speak, the little girl who needs to be loved. Her healing is my healing. Her scars are my scars. Can I be honest about my pain, my fears?

It’s the only way to keep her safe, to keep me safe, to keep us both safe from the infinite whirlpool of depression. It’s a long way down. Better watch your step.

So I am listening. I am trying to listen.


One thought on “Faltering

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