Joining in with Five Minute Friday – this week’s word: real.
“What’s real?” I ask myself. I mean, I know the world is real, I know my own feelings in response to my internal and (to some extent) external life are real, because I can sense those, feel those, and therefore trust those, but when you’ve lived trauma, lived repeated emotional abuse, from a narcissist, it makes you face the very real question ‘What is real?’ (when it comes to relationships, emotional interactions).
It makes you uncertain as to what you can trust, in terms of interactions within relationships, because it makes you question what was real. You lose your sense of real because ‘real’ appears to have been a fragile, fabricated, construct for so long….a life based on what you thought was real, when probably very little of it actually was real.
It’s disconcerting, to say the least: years of your life you were lied to, lived with a person wearing a mask (if not multiple masks), felt things in response to something that was not real, could never have any basis in reality. Disconcerting: there’s an understatement. Years of your life – nearly two decades – given to something that wasn’t real: it’s not disconcerting, in reality it’s soul-destroying.
[“I’m better than fodder” my soul tells me on my few ‘better’ days].
You come out of it emotionally blind, each remembered interaction a shrapnel wound to your soul that you live and relive again and again, whilst you blunder, tool-less, trying to pick them out of yourself…but, like little thorns, they somehow bury themselves in deeper more often than not. [Will you ever learn to accommodate them, these foreign bits? These unwanted but deeply lodged wounds?]
[You’re blinded….walking along a long, long corridor, in darkness, feeling your way along, hands along the wall, trying not to stumble, grabbing on to anything and everything that will help you understand and, through understanding, overcome].
Your new real is hard. On so many levels. Your ability to trust knocked out of you so suddenly you’re winded, left deflated, not sure where to turn or what to grab on to to start afresh.
Trust. It’s what the world functions on. [Well, trust or distrust, depending on your outlook]. In my world, it’s always been trust. And when something so very fundamental as trust in others has been savagely torn out of you, where’s your real then?
If you want to save yourself, there’s nothing for it, when you’ve reached this point, but to construct a new real. From a point of vulnerability, a point of fracture, from the point where your old reality was brutally shattered. From the point where your real ceased to exist.
The only way forward, if you want to live, is to build a new real upon the remains of what was. Seek firm ground where, and how, you can find it and rebuild. Slowly but surely, blindly walking that long, long corridor, feeling your way along, stumbling over every obstacle but getting stronger with each obstacle you meet. [“We can’t go over it, we can’t go round it, we’ll have to go through it” the children’s book taunts me every time I read it aloud to my daughter]
It’s a new real. Not a real you ever imagined you’d have to seek. But reality’s like that sometimes: we have to meet head-on what is real in order to continue on our paths. Perhaps our path isn’t what we imagined. Perhaps we don’t even like our new path but it’s our path. [The only one we have].
Perhaps its cold comfort at times, but we have to believe that it’s a path we’ve been led on for a reason. We have to believe this because not to do so would lead us down a spiral out of control, out of real, out of life.
Real hurts. Real means pain, suffering, humiliation, shame. But real also means breath, breathing, my children’s smiles, breeze against my skin, water running down from the shower, fresh refreshing water, rays of sunlight falling on the mountains. Kiwi. Chilli. Ginger and basil. [Tears running down my cheeks because I’m alive, my God, thank God, I’m alive].
Real fractured. Broken, shattered, in to ‘too much to bear’ and ‘concentrate on the little things’. Some day – and this is hope-giving – some day, by concentrating on the little things, the balance will tip from ‘this is too much to bear’ to ‘I accept my new real’.
In the meantime, I thank the Heavens for beautiful little things.
Lifelines, every single one of them.
Each one of them “A kiss to build a dream on”, as Luis Armstrong sings.
I’ll take my little white feathers of hope where I can find them, take them, pocket them, grow stronger with each and every one of them.
My real, more than ever before, a vital tapestry of small moments, each one giving me a leg up to a new sense of strength, to a new – more strongly appreciated – reality.
[I wrote for longer than 5 minutes; around 7].