I feel like… As a Multiple, I just went into my head. And there, in my head, there was no pain. In fact, in my head I could do anything. Be anything. And I was… but mostly, in my head, I was safe. And that made it really hard to leave.
The situation outside only got worse, while things in my head… depending on where I went, got better. I built castles and gardens in my head. I could fly or swim. I could sing and dance. And I did. I stayed in my head for so long that it became it’s own reality. And it made me dysfunctional.
“Bergen. I don’t want to do this,” I said and sat on the floor.
“Why not?” he asked, peering at me from across the kitchen.
“Why does any of it matter!?” I rubbed my hand over my face. “I feel like… I can’t ever be happy no matter how close to having the life I want…”
“Maybe happiness doesn’t come from having the life you want.”
I paused and looked at him.
“Maybe, happiness isn’t dependent upon the life you want. A lot of people think that happiness is about the things you have and the money you have. That’s an easy one… it isn’t. They think it’s about having the right job or the right relationship… They think it’s about having the right balance of things… But a relationship and a job… those things are still just things.”
“True happiness,” Imagination said from the table. “is there whether or not the relationship changes or stays. True happiness is independent from relationships, jobs, people, and places…”
“Then…” I pondered for a moment from my place on the floor. Unable to grasp. “Why have those things? I feel like they then serve no purpose. I’m tired of not knowing this! I’m tired of the unset. I’m tired of the moods and emotions shifting with each subtle change. I want to be stable. I want someone to support me when I’m low. I want… I still live in my head. And so long as I live in my head, talking to you… I don’t live there, in the real world, in the present. I can’t be in both places at the same time.”
I sighed and laid down on the floor. I felt defeated. I felt exhausted. I needed to learn how to shut off the Shadow work. I had been doing nothing else all my life. Since I was 15 years.
“I’m tired of all the mental work, Bergen. I feel like I’ll fall apart if I don’t work to hold it all together.”
I peered up from the floor.
“Be who you want to be. Just become it and do it.”
I listened. I heard. Truth was, there was too much pain to just “do.”
“I need to deal with this, Bergen. But…” I sighed and a tear slipped from my eye. “I feel like there is always so much pain I have to deal with. I cry. I do the Shadow Work. I need comfort. And I need comfort from my Mate, but… I’ve tapped that well dry and there is still more pain and more comfort.”
“Maybe, you are using the comfort to not actually heal and address the pain,” Bergen said.
“Maybe comfort is the avoidant,” Kallan said.
“You have to process this, Joanna,” Imagination said.
“Process this…” I whispered. “I want to scream out to the world. I want to be validated and heard, and I crave to be understood. That my parents abused me so horribly with neglect and indifference and disapproval, and they let others abuse me so horribly that it broke my mind into pieces all because they were so desperate for me to not become the very thing they made me into! And now, not only did they break my mind… Not only did they not avoid the thing they dreaded the most… but they caused it! All because they tried to beat and shame who and what I am out of me! Did you hear me?” I screamed at the room, glaring at Bergen through my tears. “They beat and shamed who and what I am out of me until my mind was in pieces!”
Pieces. The word resonated and I burst into tears.
And there it was. I was staring at the pieces in front of me. Bergen, the man my father wanted me to be. Kallan, the BDSM, sex-loving Mistress who dripped feminine power. Goddess, the Vegetarian and Feminist. The free-spirited, weed-smoking, nudist Hippie. And me… I was the left-overs. The parts of me that my father didn’t approve of, and the only parts left that he didn’t reject. The obedient, complacent, hard-working, silent puppet on strings. I hate puppets. I’ve always hated puppets. Now I knew why. I was one.
“I have always felt like the left overs. The parts of my whole that my father tolerates. Why do I need this so much? Why do we need our parental approval so much? I feel like my identity is contingent on that stamp of approval from my father and my mother.”
Bergen kneeled beside me and squeezed my hand.
“I love sex,” I said. “I love physical pleasure, and I don’t think that’s wrong. I can’t be a wife. I’m not a marriage material. No…” I shook my head. That wasn’t the right perspective. “I’m not… Conformist, right-wing material. I’m not marriage or wife material as defined by Traditionalists. I can’t be what they want, and I’m just the remnants of their abuse mixed with all the things they hate the most. And all my life, I’ve been oozing the parts of me I suppressed.”
“When you danced in the moonlight,” Imagination said. “Dressed in gossamer and rain.”
“When you stepped into the Dungeon and you found your strength,” Kallan said.
“When you soap box and rant… even now, your theater comes out,” Bergen said. “You crave the stage. You always will. And you’re still suppressing it.”
“Almost all hurt can be healed through the written word,” I said. “It’s why Hemmingway wrote so much.”
“Bleed here, Anna,” Imagination said. “Let the pages take your pain. They can handle it. And those who read it, can decide how much they can take in. But stop talking about your pain. Write, Anna. It calls to you.”
I nodded. I knew what to do.