I’ve been struggling lately, assaulted by people who derisively, condescendingly, and relentlessly demean my skills, who believe that I am worthless, who cannot see my value, who try to make me feel worthless…and yet don’t know me in the least. I’m familiar with verbal and emotional abuse, intimately, and the fucking gaslighting and imposed shame. But I’m also learning to reframe these things, to be resilient, to reach within myself for the answers, and not automatically accept this.
And that made me think of the day I moved out. It was wrenching, draining, one of the worst days of my life (and incidentally capped by me locking my damn self out of the new rental house). His unparalleled cruelty and childishness was incessant, and I had to cling to something, shore up my sanity to get through it.
I found the chrome portion-pacer we’d gotten for Kona when he was a puppy. He’s never been a scarfer, so luckily it’s never been much use. It’s about the size of a softball, scuffed a bit by use, but it was suddenly my lifeline. I held it in my hands and visualized my soul inside of a seamless silver sphere, opaque, untouchable. When I was a kid I used to slam a huge, heavy steel wall down in my mind between myself and my mother’s ex. It helped me cope. But beleaguered on all sides and peppered with insults, I needed something more impervious to hide in, and that visualization helped immensely.
The portion pacer now sits among my remaining sand, a reminder to myself of strength and resiliency. Today I was in need of a boost, emotionally, when I remembered a pendant I have had for years, but rarely worn. It’s known as a harmony ball, angel chime, or a pregnancy bola. It’s sterling silver and makes the same sound that the baoding balls (chinese medicine balls) make, kind of a gentle chiming that sounds like stars winking in the night sky.
That’s me. That’s my soul. Protected, inside, but still accessible and beautiful.
I love this poem, because it’s really about the “other side” — the other side of failure, the other side of pain.
They witnessed her destruction,
Then were left to wonder why,
She saw nothing but darkness,
Though the stars shone in her eyes,
But maybe they’d forgotten,
When they failed to see the cracks,
That a star’s light shines the brightest,
When it’s starting to collapse.
~ Eric Hanson – Supernova