There is a certain type of music, of pain, I know better than to inflict upon myself.
I haven’t dared even approach this particular kind, for over 7 years.
The memories of it too ruthless, for me to have even had any hope of survival.
And yet, tonight, my low mood receding further in to the wing mirror on this long journey I am on, for now, I thought it was time.
I stared at my glowering reflection, at the wariness and caution emanating from my eyes and found it quite easy to ignore, to contradict.
I am not a masochist…anymore.
I just need closure from these memories.
I am desperate to heal and disoriented, adrift, but all the while trapped within a maze too perplexing and foggy to navigate myself out of, without facing the inevitable.
This for me is one of the last notches on the ladder, heading upwards, always upwards, towards my freedom.
I am conscious that throwing myself underneath a moving bus would flatten me and bring no healing, and yet with this type of pain, this kind of bus, this music, these memories, I know that by ignoring the caution, discounting the increasing beat of my heart advising me to stop, and ploughing on full steam ahead, I may be opening myself up too soon, in fact I am sure James would not advise it, but it now feels the only option.
I have to endure this to see how far I have come.
It has been whispering to me from it’s home on the highest shelf, gnawing away at me, as the dust collected and my heart slowly unfurled.
My method although terrifying, is clear.
De-sensitization by torture.
Something I seem to have always been very adept at.
The difference now being the power of knowing what I can handle.
The memories will hurt, but it is time.
I am strong enough.
I will move through this, the way I have been taught to.
With a bottle of beer and a bar of chocolate, understanding that for me to successfully complete this process, I will need to be kind to myself somehow.
I switch the DVD to play, and instantly I am there again.
Sat anonymous in a packed theatre in Downtown Disney, filled with thousands of other people, all shuffling, all breathing, all laughing, having travelled in packs from all over the world, hugging their family, surrounded by love, by those who have always been near them and always will be, enjoying the holiday of a lifetime, and about to witness an enthralling performance by Cirque Soliel.
La Nouba. (To ‘live it up.’)
I am sat on the outskirts of their security looking in, abandoned by those who I thought were mine. Left behind with the tattered furnishings, a screwed up piece of paper tossed to the side, about to treat myself with incredible cruelty, inflict abusive and almost brutal pain on myself by witnessing the same show, completely alone.
I see now, after weeks of torment and learning, by choice.
A show I had been to see with my family years before, when… well…before…
Before everything was irreplaceably broken.
Too shocked and too withdrawn to even consider unwinding myself from the tightly wound knot I had become and yet too frightened not to, I sat in that auditorium, and had to physically hold my heart, to keep the pain contained.
I am back there.
Overcome by the memories.
The music swelled intoxicatingly, an ancient Russian lady singing of a broken heart, her rich and heady voice becoming one with a ballerina dressed beautifully in white, fresh and new, just beginning her life, moving on tiptoes in quick succession with the beat, together they become one, her courageous, long languid and lingering movements, telling the story of a time long ago, that didn’t belong to her.
But now did.
The effect is so clean cut and pure I found myself then, struggling to keep my barriers up, struggling to protect my beaten heart as the images mingled with the music soared with ease through the prison I had so carefully erected, each carefully constructed note toying with my fractured heart like a kitten with a ball of yarn.
The ballerina turned quickly and I caught my breath as I watched her hair flying around her, as if in slow motion.
She ran with unbridled speed in to the future, the freedom of security lifting her, propelling her through the air caught and held by sinuous and magnificent enormous red ribbons.
They lifted her up and kept her safe, sure to catch her should she have ever fallen.
A freedom I have never felt, allowed her to grasp her loved one, the one she had chosen and who had chosen her, midflight they clung to one another, kissing, embracing, and independent in their mutual dependency.
A performance maybe, but a deep mutual trust, an understanding of one another’s body, souls and the rhythm of each other heart beats is on show for all of us to see.
Somewhere 50 feet below them, surrounded by hearts beating in unison and excited gasps, the 25 year old me sits in the audience, lost amongst the love, overcome by a loneliness so overpowering I am frozen in to my seat, sitting upright, observing this couple dance me to the top of my own dreams, as if parading in front of me what will never be, and my heart literally shattered right down the middle.
And I had thought it was already broken.
If I could have, I would have run.
I would run and I would run and I would run.
I would have liked to have heard my feet pounding the sodden earth, would have liked to feel the tears like acid, scorching down my cheeks, I would have liked to scream, to throw my body out wide and howl in to the night with the unfairness of it all. To torture myself further, to pound my fists in to the ground and bite down hard on the wet earth, but when my last breath had been taken and my heart was exhausted, my tears running dry in the cold, where would I have found myself?
I had nowhere to go and no one to run to.
Least of all myself.
I did not and could not have ever understood that this wasn’t fated, but self inflicted.
I was 50000 miles from home and completely alone.
Two strangers were sat beside me as the performance from above reached fever pitch and I trembled. An older couple, wrapped up in one another, enjoying the holiday of a lifetime, no doubt excited by the rest of their lives. Building another memory to add to their scrapbook of friendship.
I sat there and shook from deep within, needing to break but unable to find the chink, to release the torment, because even sat there, none of it seemed real and yet I knew it was.
‘Are you ok?’ The older woman clutching her husband, eyes shining brightly, tears brimming by the emotion of it all, whispered at me over the music.
She had noticed I was unaccompanied and she smiled kindly, a lack of understanding passing over her features before turning back to the show, the question forgotten.
Probably the only person in the history of the world to visit Walt Disney world completely alone.
I used to be a masochist.
I can see that now.
I didn’t answer then, and now, as I sit here watching the same show on my laptop, on my sofa, in my lounge, surrounded by the smells and photos of my little boy, of the life I have created and the debris I have accumulated over the 7 years since then, I finally feel I am ready to.
‘Yes.’ I reply, turning my head to face no one, my beer empty and the room completely silent, the baby asleep, but the old lady still so clear in my minds eye. ‘Yes, I will be.’
I am no longer broken in half, no longer fragmented, and yes, I still feel the need to scream and shout and pound the earth, but through understanding I am slowly on the mend.
Learning how now not to.
How could I have failed to notice, 7 years ago, that by doing what I was doing, I was inflicting upon myself unnecessary and relentless agony?
Why would I have chosen to torture myself like that?
What made me think I deserved it?
One day soon I fully intend to start living my life for me.
To make the changes that I want to make to ensure my days can receive some light.
A caged bird for so long, with the door now wide open, I am slowly having to reach for the courage to fly out.
But right now, in this instant, I need to cry.
To let go.
I am learning to heal, and have ultimately realised the importance of being kind to myself by watching and re-living my own personal cruelty.
I think I may have another beer, maybe even reach out and ask for a hug. (Shock Horror! I may be able to actually ask for comfort! To trust in it.)
I will try to remember the choices I am able to make for me, to be kinder to myself, I really will.
I will re-visit this show for real one day, no longer alone on the inside, or the out.
No longer afraid to live.
That will be my freedom.