The messed up quote above by Erin Hanson “What if I fall? Oh. But my darling, what if you fly?” Is one with special meaning to me today. I have been flying in and out of my safety nest now for about three years. My therapist finally told me that I’ve out grown him, that I am quite capable on my own. But my fear comes quickly. My fear of failing. Even while having to return to him time and time again after feeling so much better and after working so hard for the life I have, lead me to believe that I was a failure.
I was beginning to believe I had ‘failed therapy’ and there was no use even trying anymore. But, instead, I have learned that life after abuse is a lot of back and forth. The forward motion is wonderful but sometimes we go back in time. Sometimes we wake up from a nightmare or sometimes something reminds us of something awful. All the feelings I had take over like it was yesterday, and all of the things I’d accomplished since then just vanish. All of my hope and dreams take a back seat and I find myself sitting on the steps sobbing again. Failed.
But no! It’s not failure. It’s realizing that I have finally left that life and how hugely opposite my current life is now. Those short treks back in time serve a purpose to remind me of the contrast my life is now. They remind me to stay the course and to steadily move forward despite the difficulty. Really? What could be more difficult that the actual leaving, anyhow? Leaving? With all of its secret preparations, the lies to stay safe, the hushed conversations, the quick plan making, the changing of subjects. Leaving? With the constant fear of being caught, or of not getting out in time? Leaving? The real threat that anything, I mean anything, could happen to make him angry. Leaving? I don’t think anything is quite as hard as that.
So I remind myself, that when I go back in time (which could happen for no apparent reason) I am merely reminding myself of how great my current life is. So, back to the point, failing therapy didn’t actually happen, even when I had to go back again and again. I’ve been flying in and out of his nest now for a long time. I know, deep in my being, that this time is the last. Somehow, it seems so very final. He promises, as always, that if I need to see him that he will always be there. Immediately I think, liar. How can he promise that? Then I realize he’s not lying. He truly believes if I need him again that he will be around for me to visit. I relax and accept his statement.
I ask him, instead, if he’s kicking me out of the nest so I can learn to fly on my own? His answer, was quite different than I expected. He tells me, instead, that I have been flying all along. Then I ask him, “but what if I fail?” He knows me well, he knows more than I ever expected him to… and he answers me, “Oh. But what if you soar?”
So now I ask myself? What if I soar? What happens then? My life has been challenging under anyone’s measure. Often I wonder how I got where I am, just like others wonder how I managed it all? Then I remind myself, I got where I am because I chose to go down this road. I made difficult decisions, I took the hard road, I pushed and I struggled, and sometimes I crawled and I screamed but all in all I learned how to fly. I learned how to fly on my own. Now, what if I can soar? I will attempt to soar. I will open my wings and allow the wind to hold me up. I will do what I must. And, I will likely go back in time again. It will be OK because my wings will become stronger over time. And one day, I will truly soar.
And what about my safety nest? What if I find I need to land for a bit of time? What then? Will that then mean that I have failed? No. It will mean only that my wings are tired and I need only to find my course again. I know that storms will come, I know that there will be many times in the future where I could forget how to fly. But I also know that I can heal and that I can gather myself a hug and renewed energy. Then what will I hear? I will hear his voice asking me, “have you taken care of yourself lately? What are you doing for you?” For these words will be what I need to hear, old habits die hard and I need the reminding.
So the question remains? “Oh. But, my darling, what if you soar?”
thank you for reading,