by Patrick Lennon
Can a body connect with another when one is so splintered inside?
Reshaping the inside to find a change outside, taking my first step in from the edge.
I found a step when I began therapy and met my therapist. It’s hard to articulate making a connection like this, feeling I had trust and understanding, feeling I could share all of me for the first time. I’m not sure which came first, my connection with my therapist or the start of my connection to myself.
Though I doubted it many times, deep down I knew it was possible to connect, because I had fleeting glimpses of this throughout my life. From lonely days spent in the fields near my home with my dog who never asked questions, to even the connection deep in my heart with my father who had almost bled me dry. I would run from closeness, outwardly and inwardly something was ‘not’ missing just lost and the pieces weren‘t set they were splintered. When I began therapy, I felt I was lost and saw many mirages before feeling something real. On meeting my therapist, I began to feel the warmth of this sun and now, the heat from this sun lives within me.
Some of the longest journeys can start with a handshake, that’s how it was for me and how it continued over the four years I was in therapy, a handshake at the end of every session. It was a comfort and I felt I had someone who stood alongside me who helped to make even the darkest journey possible. This was a journey not unknown to me though because I‘d been there before, to the dimly lit room with little pity. It was a room that had visited me many times in my daily living and in my nightmares and day mares. Over time, I developed the resources to visit the room voluntarily, and my therapist would stay with me and became a witness to what only I had seen before, listening and watching as I breathed life into dead words and into a body that had been frozen beneath the terror of childhood trauma.
I carefully walked deep inside myself, opening door after door. I would meet some old faces and begin to reassemble my emotional world. I couldn’t change a hurtful past or right any of the wrongs done to me, but I could change how I viewed myself and my life; change how I viewed a Mothers love and a Fathers destructiveness and most importantly, I could change how I viewed myself, as the young boy and as the man I am now. If I could find an understanding for the conflicting feelings surrounding my love and indeed my hate, I believed I would find an inner peace. I did this and my days changed and my life took on new meaning.
I couldn’t for the life of me forget what was ingrained; the clouded visions in my mind were clouded because I made them so. I wasn’t ready to visit the dark corners but I knew I couldn‘t keep running I was tired. For a long time I wasn’t ready to make the cross over, to join the lines together. I was seeing a different picture, the lines of pain and hate and love twice, weren‘t connecting. Things were blurred and all I felt was a wrong connection, young love attached to old hate, old love plugged into young pain.
This is where the conflict for me lay. I needed to unplug and reconnect my love, differentiate between love and pain. To reassemble the pieces I had to strip off the layers and bear many emotions, trust my instincts and trust my surroundings, trust where I was at in my journey and not push ahead to soon. I went against the tide slowly until the tide turned.
I had carried confusion inside. What I had witnessed from a very young age was a fathers destructiveness for his and my family, hearts and minds all but destroyed. I didn’t see past it, I detached so much, I didn’t feel part of it. Feeling guilt when I didn’t know what I’d done, I didn’t know which way to turn. Always questions and few answers.
Therapy has ended, that part of my journey complete for now. I realise that I can’t answer everything or change where I came from. I needed to find some understanding, turn my perceived weakness into the strength it always was and always is. To balance the scales of love and hate, and love and pain. To do this, I had to turn the lights on in all the rooms.
I could see again why I counted when there were no sheep. Why when my legs and arms couldn’t move, I would withdraw inside and in my mind I created movement, I could walk and reach and turn and stretch. I dug deep as a child and found these gifts, gifts handed to a child or just found? I don’t know but there was a strong will to survive, so these precious gifts were born from this.
I could see a child doing what he had to do to survive. He was clever and strong and not weak minded, he had everything I thought as an adult I had lost. But his eyes are my own, right? They have the same green dullness, and deep behind these eyes there’s a distant smoke from a fire that still burns. His eyes are mine yet for so long we never looked thru them together. I looked away from him while he looked for me. We had to travel alone and keep a safe distance apart till the time was right and I was ready to see him again, a separation between us still held. I witnessed a childhood smashed and yet, unbreakable.
An adult doesn’t begin life as one; a child takes the lead and needs to grow. I needed to go back to the child in me, to listen to him and hold him safe till the time came when we could grow together. My hand was reaching to him and his waiting wanting hand would reach to mine.
I knew there was no going back after I found him, we had crossed over and became one, with body, mind and heart the past and present had entwined. A reconnection happened that was, both wounding and healing, heart piercing and tearful. I had lived for this first moment of reconnection and it will stay with me for the rest of my days. I felt myself becoming whole again, joined in the middle spiritually and it is magical this feeling.
Through my many hours with my therapist, trusting her completely enabled me to trust myself. She would catch me between the eyes, and she didn’t see a weak or frightened man, she seen purity and strength, she witnessed innocence reequipping for life and myself, the adult man embracing the broken and yet incredibly strong and resourceful young boy, as I became whole.
The mirror doesn’t lie any more. I can see what she always said was there. I hold my childhood close and bring it into my future. I embrace my fears, demons, hopes and dreams, all of me. I hold my inner-child and watch the child become the man I am today. My love breathes – and I found it.
As I ask myself the question; why did I first have to lose love in order to find its true meaning?
I understand the answer!
Patrick Lennon is an emerging poet. If you would like to read more of his work you can log onto www.patrickspoetry.com