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Safe at home

April 10, 2020

My story has always been: my dad was always mad, my family life was hard, and I had never felt safe.

Last weekend I had an intuitive energy clearing session with Anastasia. About 10 minutes in she said, “they’re taking me back to the night you got hurt.” I was ready.

She asked me to walk her through the memory, piece by piece. Each piece setting a marker in time, a dot on a map. I paused when I got to the balcony and asked her if she wanted me to keep going. She said “take me up to the part where you woke up sober and realized what happened.”

I described the decisions I made and why, the injury that resulted, the immediate aftermath, the ambulance, and the lights of the ceiling in the ER. I described waking up in a hospital room, seeing my bandaged legs and my parents hugging each other. I told her about the confusion, the slow realizations of what had happened, the conversation with the doctor, and the life-changing minute of believing I would never walk again.

Then she got to work. She walked me back through each spot on that map of trauma, collecting and replacing all the parts of me that I had lost in each moment. Replacing my sense of who I was, my sense of safety in my own skin, I’m my own life. She guided my soul fully back into my body, firmly reassuring it that THIS is where it belongs and that it is safe there.

We re-traced my steps back to the moment that I was standing at my locked front door, feeling so alone and so afraid.

At that final point in the journey, she told me to give myself a hug. To tell that version of me that it’s going to be ok, that I am safe and not locked out of my home anymore.

Anastasia said something about going back to the time before that moment, to before I felt unsafe. And I told her, I didn’t feel safe long before then. I couldn’t think back far enough and landed on my old story of, “I’ve never felt safe.”

….

Today is Friday and I took the day off of work. I looked up a recipe and made soup in my kitchen while listening to Harry Potter on Audible and the rain outside. I had to look up directions on how to do just about every step of the recipe, and accomplished each task slowly and successfully, one at a time. I kept the kitchen clean as I went.

I took a picture of my fogged-up kitchen window and posted it on Instagram, saying how nostalgic it made me feel, remembering being a child in my home while my mom made us dinner.

Just as the soup finished, I made my way to the couch to call my therapist for our weekly Friday session. Something in me felt… slow. I didn’t feel sad, exactly, but I felt quiet. I felt something and wasn’t sure what it was, or why I felt it.

Since I couldn’t describe how I was feeling, I described to him what I’d been doing; the soup, the cooking, the cleaning– when I got to the part about Harry Potter, I started crying.

I’ve been in therapy long enough to know that when emotions want to come up, to let them. Crying about Harry Potter seemed strange, but I trusted that as we continued talking we might uncover a deeper meaning.

I told him about the picture I posted on Instagram, and how maybe I just miss my mom. Maybe I’m crying because I’m alone in here and don’t have anyone to share the soup and the clean kitchen with. That no matter how cute or clean I can make my apartment, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re living through an unprecedented global crisis and that I’m living through that by myself (in the physical sense, at least).

That didn’t really seem like the answer (I am at peace with going through this as someone who lives alone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard sometimes) but then the work I’d done with Anastasia last weekend came to mind, so I shifted topics and recounted that experience for him.

I walked us both back along the map, back to the image of hugging my 25-year old self. I recounted for him the realization that that moment wasn’t the first time I’d felt unsafe. How I couldn’t retrace my steps far back enough to find the spot on the map where I last felt truly safe. The old story saying: that spot doesn’t exist for me.

But then it hit me. The fogged up kitchen window.

The memory flooded in. Being home on a week night as a kid. My mom making spaghetti. The kitchen window and sliding glass back doors fogged up with steam. My dad reading in a leather chair, a soft light above his head. Me, my older sister and my younger brother in the living room, entertaining ourselves on the braided living room rug. Classical music playing on the stereo. Our chow dog Mingo laying somewhere, sleeping.

….

I’m making my own dinner and fogging up my own kitchen window. Playing my own classical music.

I’m home. I’m here. We’re safe.

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