It was suggested, by the person I am talking to, that I write about “my feelings” regarding the difference between feeling safe vs. feeling threatened.
I imagine feeling safe would entail something like a great duvet comforter. It secures and encircles your body, it provides warmth, and it gives you comfort. A great duvet reminds you, you are home. You are safe in your own bed. It’s soft. It’s comforting. It’s welcoming.
The saddest part of our talk today was when I realized I do not know what safe feels like. Isn’t that sad? I really don’t. I feel like all my life I have been in a “fight or flight” mode. The little 3 year old girl is so much alive and a part of me still. I haven’t been able to tell her… I’m bigger now. You are ok. And I’m your safety. I’m your haven. Because I am ok. I am your love. I am your shelter. I am your protector. I am enough for you and me now.
It’s been hard to digest the things that have surfaced. But it feels great to understand myself and my inner workings a little bit more now. To understand, why I retreat the way I go when I feel vulnerable. Why I shut down. Why I feel the incessant need to protect my daughter from my own demons and from me. I come to realize it’s because I’ve never been able to deal with the feelings of vulnerability my emotions illicit.
Being vulnerable to me equals a threat. I feel threatened by it. Because it was illegal for me to feel vulnerable. It was a foreign concept in my household and that of other 1.5 generationers to be asked about our feelings. No one asked the 4 year old me… “hey, are you feeling sad? Hungry? Angry?” And the more importantly, no one told me it was okay to feel those feelings. Instead, having those feelings meant I was weak or conjure feelings of fear that I would be in trouble for having those feelings. And because having those feelings would be a burden on someone else. And feeling like a burden on someone else was above all the thing I most wanted to avoid, because when you already feel like you don’t have a stable place to call home… you definitely don’t want to be a burden.
I need to give the 3rd grade me a break and bury her now. I don’t need to be my sister and my protector anymore. I don’t need to save my money to buy the pretty paper lunch bags and write our names on it (in my not so good penmanship at that age) so it would look like my mom (who was overseas with my dad) had taken the time to lovingly prepare it for her two daughters. Because no one at that time knew or cared to know… that those things mattered to us. That those little things are what looked like safety and love to me.
Even though, my parents bickered a lot… when they returned for good. In all its chaos… I finally felt stable. But the feelings of feeling safe and secure wasn’t there still. But it didn’t matter, because all I cared about was having my family. Our own home. And I think that’s when I really shut down all the feelings of the past, because I didn’t think it mattered anymore. Does that make sense?