Bea wrote me back. She was kind, and reminded me that even though the little girl feels threatened and scared, she is safe now, Kat is safe now, everyone is currently safe now.
She also said this:
It’s not this story OR that story, this family OR that family; it’s this story AND that story, this family AND that family.
Which got me thinking…….
When I read this, it makes so much sense. When you say every version, every story has truth in it, and they all are connected, it makes sense. But it makes a kind of sense in a broad, generalized way. It makes sense in a “this is how the world works, many layers, all with their own truth but that truth doesn’t take away the truth in a different layer of the story” kind of way. When I apply it to my life, it’s too messy. Maybe I don’t like multifaceted stories when the story is MY story. Things are much simpler when it is 1 OR 2, not 1 AND 2. I don’t know how to fit both stories together. It scares me.
As long as I can say that I am the only one saying things weren’t okay, weren’t perfect, as long as I am the only one saying there was a lot of ugly and my family did all they could to hide the ugly under the rug….I don’t know. It meant I could be wrong. It meant that maybe I really was crazy, or lying or just being a drama queen over normal life events. It meant that nothing was as bad as I feel. It meant that things probably were perfect and maybe I just never was good enough; I was too sensitive, too emotional, a drama queen.
But now….now my mom is talking and telling a different sort of story. And that changes everything. Because it means I’m not crazy. It means I’m not making things up. It means that it’s all real; everything I have said and felt and thought about them hiding truths and burying ugly stuff and being unable to deal with bad emotions. It’s all true. And even though I’ve had some conversations with my mom in the past year that felt like she was telling me in a round about way– through saying we were doing the right things with our kid, and teaching her to feel all her feelings and validating them and always striving to be honest and transparent with her– and that she wishes she could have a do over and raise my brother and I that way…well, this is different. She’s being very straight forward. I don’t know how to respond or feel. In truth, I feel frozen when she is being so honest. It scares me. If everything I felt about my family is true, and being validated now…it means that I didn’t make up what happened with Kenny. It means it wasn’t just a silly game, and a silly crush, like I told myself for years. It means it all happened and it really was that bad.
I feel like I need a map to understand all of this, some sort of paper with everything laid out and all the puzzle pieces fitted together. It’s all swimming around in my head in choppy waters. I can’t sort it. And as soon as I think I am getting it sorted, it all breaks apart. I need a timeline, a map, something. I don’t know. I need to actually SEE both stories put together. I need to see how that works, what it looks like. Then maybe I can understand what it means. Maybe then I can make sense of it all. Or maybe that is a silly idea, and will never work, because how do you map a life, map a history of not just one person, but of their family history, just to combine it all together and figure out how that person got here? Is that even possible?
Maybe I should show up to therapy on Thursday with one of those giant rolls of paper and my colored pencils and sharpie markers. Maybe it’s time to make an “art project” in therapy. I’m sure Bea would say okay, and be fine with that. But can I really make a map? And can I really show up and be that directive in therapy? I don’t know.