Those feelings came rushing back with a vengeance on Monday. Quite unexpectedly, I might add. But isn’t that usually the case with deep trauma? I honestly don’t know, which is why I’m asking. I only have my own lived experience. And therapy. Lots of therapy.
Disclaimer: I’ve already apologized to my wonderful friend for how angry and hurt I was when she had nothing to do with how I felt – and didn’t even know I was feeling that way toward her.
I’ve typed out a more detailed version of the series of events, and yes, they were unfortunate – purely my fault. I’ll give you the TL:DR, even though I suck at actually condensing things most times. I had expectations of hanging out with a friend. The girl time fell through due to poor weather and prior commitments. Then, instead of getting a direct invitation to hang out at a later date, a very loose “we’ll see you there if we both end up going” was extended. There isn’t a single thing wrong with either situation. There was never a full commitment to hanging out. There was never a full commitment to the future event. It was “we are thinking of going.”
After a busy day of errands, fixing things around the house – including removing 4-inch ice dams off the roof, and general snow removal for what felt like the one-thousandth time, my brain got ahold of the first “we aren’t hanging out,” and jumped off the emotional cliff. The second “I’ll see you if you’re there,” removed all safety lines and I fell straight down into a near-total emotional meltdown.
Some of it was exhaustion from working the weekend and then not giving myself a proper break on a day off. Most of it, however, was the resurfacing of old trauma that I know I’ll continue to work through for some time to come.
I spent the better part of half a lifetime feeling unwanted. I’ve touched on this since starting my blog. The church told me “if I acted on my feelings” I was unwanted. I felt unwanted by parents who believed what the church told them and would certainly disown me if I came out in any way. I felt unwanted by brothers who I knew wouldn’t understand why I felt so different from them. When I came out and was immediately asked to move out of my house and then quickly after for a divorce – you guessed it. So. Very. Unwanted.
My therapist helped me frame it, “just because they are feelings, doesn’t mean they are true.” It took over 6 months before I even started to consider that feeling unwanted might not be a truth. It might just be a feeling.
As I started to venture out into my community and make connections with people, that feeling would rise up time and time again – especially as I sat alone in my camp chair at community concerts. Or alone at a bar – I guess I look very unapproachable?
In the last 6 months, having connected with a new friend (the aforementioned friend I had to apologize to), those feelings have started fading But not disappear, as I so quickly found out. I have more work to do to release the trauma.
Hearing that we wouldn’t be hanging out. Not hearing a direct invitation. I was not prepared for how strong that feeling of being unwanted and unlovable would be.
I’m here to say I made it.
When I found myself in an eddy of emotional current that allowed me to breathe (also – I took a cold walk in the snow, as it was snowing and starting to get dark), I apologized to her and realized – trauma.
She wasn’t trying to hurt me. My brain has a trauma wound freshly scarred over, and it felt that same wound re-open; it took off in the wrong direction.
Feeling unwanted is a wound that very nearly pierces through to my soul. It is deep, dark, and still so raw and so easily reopened.
I know there will be a day I can pull out my scar and show the person I care about most. I will say, “this is where I came from.” Then, I will look deeply into her eyes and say, “it’s just a scar with a story,” feeling fully wanted.