Tonight We’re Revisiting My Favorite Kimono While I Talk About The Actual Massive And Inconvenient Pain In The Ass Healing Is.
As this year comes to a close, I’m sure we’re all sitting around wondering how we did. Well, maybe some of us actually know. The state of the universe is, as always, chaos, and that seems to smash into some people harder than others. And you know, that’s actually okay. You don’t need to be having your best year ever even if nothing really bad is happening to you personally, and that’s actually why I’m here showing you this kimono that I’ve already shown you. We’re revisiting older ground because it’s important to look at where we’ve been as we consider where we’re going.
After all, sometimes we don’t get a goddamn choice in the matter.
Some of you have had the opportunity to get to know me over these two years I’ve been running this shitshow now. If so, you’ve learned two things about me. The first being that I am actually like this and it isn’t a persona, but shockingly I curse significantly less in person. The second, you’ll have to fill in that blank for me. I don’t pretend to know what other people’s observations of me are. That’s someone else’s brand of fortune telling, probably.
What I’m not exactly loud about but I don’t lie about either is that I’ve been struggling a lot this year for reasons I feel like I should have expected but didn’t. That’s my brand of fortune telling. Two things happened to me at the same time, and I’ve had to deal with them both without really knowing how to. The first being that my flesh prison started calling in all of those IOUs I’ve been making out to it for years. I fucked a wrist, a knee, a hip. They’re on the mend, though. I’ll be fine.
The other is weirder and more insidious, and my hope that if I talk about it a little bit that people who read it will know that they’re not the only ones feeling this way. Nobody is in this fight by themselves, no matter how isolating it feels.
I’m safe. Probably for the first time in my life, I am definitively safe, I have been for awhile, and that’s kind of the problem. I had a fucky childhood filled with not feeling safe. I’ve had some traumas and weirdness in adulthood that left me not feeling safe. And so, as many do, I operated for years–decades–in survival mode. Watching and waiting. Listening to the tones in the air. Little changes in body language. Who’s had too much to drink. What’s going on here, what’s going on there, what can I brace myself for. And then there’s the regular life tragedies that happen inbetween living like that. I’ve lost people to age, to disease, to suicide. That last one especially crawls right up my ass.
But there wasn’t time for it then. I had to scream and cry and keep moving because I wasn’t safe. I needed to make money between my headaches that weren’t under control. I needed to navigate drunken family members who were not great to me. I had to keep my ears to the ground because I wasn’t safe.
What they don’t warn you about is what happens when you’re safe. When you make it to safety and there’s nothing to hear, you’ll start hearing screams between the ambient noises in the air. When you make it to safety, and you don’t have to move through the house quietly anymore, you will notice every sound you make.
You have been injured and not allowed to heal. Now the healing begins. Nobody warns you that healing itself is violently painful. Now that you have time, you have to dig through those boxes you compartmentalized all of your things in. You have to face the things you threw into a corner for later, because now is later.
The bill comes due.
And that’s me. Not only am I so safe that I now have time to process all of the things I had to leave for later in survival mode, but there are things that crawl out of the dark that I didn’t remember. And they will take their pound of flesh, too.
The only thing you can do is meet these memories, these feelings where they live. Greet them gently and see them out. Let them come, because they will pass. And if you don’t have to, then I don’t recommend doing it alone. Because that’s actually a really good way to accidentally feed the monsters instead of healing them up so they pass you by peacefully. Your hypervigilance is not a super power, I promise you. And I know that because what I’m hearing right now is just the sound of my main goldfish tank’s filter sucking up some sand, and not a man screaming at the top of his lungs. But yet I still stop what I’m doing every so often and wander through the halls to see if I can find the screaming that feels like it’s just behind the sound of the filter.
But this is not the thing to do. I had to meet that feeling where it lives, and challenge it with what is now. Not so much what is real; of course the feelings are real, I’m fucking having them, aren’t I? But what is accurate. What is now. That’s where we find healing.
And you saw less of me this year because of this. Trying to outrun your own demons is pretty pointless when they live in your own head, because they will always beat you to your destination. Between trying to build myself back up physically and trying to keep myself together mentally, some days I just sat alone in my room staring at the floor until BOOM, it had been four hours in a blink of an eye.
Choo choo, motherfuckers! All aboard the dissociation train! Next stop, your fucking house.
I am paying my bill now. And I’m not doing it alone. I have a great therapist that specializes in my specific brand of traumas (LOL adult child of alcoholics/I watched someone diiiiie), and I have a supportive family that likes me as well as loving me, and that’s pretty damn important. I’m starting to shake some of this off because of it.
If I were to offer you any advice at all, it would be–as you look back on your past self and especially your child self–to be at least as gentle and courteous and understanding with yourself as you would be with someone else. Most of the time, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got, even when we make bad calls. You wouldn’t expect the world of anyone else in your shoes. Are you trying your best now? Good. And your best today isn’t going to be the same as your best tomorrow, and that’s okay too. Recovery isn’t a straight line. But time is moving forward, and so are you. Keep moving, even if you’re looking back sometimes, just keep moving.
Let’s keep moving. Because the fuck else are we gonna do?
So today, to close out the year 2022, I leave you with a showcase of a kimono I bought when safety was just around the corner for me. This one.
I pulled this one out to play with it the other day. I actually do that a lot. Dress up and show no one. I’m working on that; part of my trauma is not really wanting to be seen. Look at the work, not me. Look at the kimono, not me. LOL I am not reaaaal. But I’m working on that. I think the reason I’m so sad sometimes is because I’m ready to be real now, but I’m not sure how to be.
Before I put her away I noticed some seams needed to be repaired around the sleeves. That’s just a thing that happens sometimes, so I started in on sewing those back up nice and tight, and that’s when this whole ass thing popped into my head. Because this kimono has been one that I have worn out in the world before, I feel very attached to it. So if I’m going to spend any time at all talking about personal things, it’ll be because of this one. So I finished up her seam repairs and plopped her up on my iko (kimono stand) and decided to give her a better photo treatment than she got in the last go-round. Here you go:
Back when I posted it the first time, I said that I didn’t side-eye 24 year old Becky too hard about the kamon change that I did. Well. I am now. But not because she necessarily did a bad job or anything, it’s because the job she did isn’t quite accurate to the process, and because of that, it doesn’t hold up. The dye I used to color in the plain-ass kiri (paulownia) mon (family crest) has bled through the paint I used. It took a good ten years for it to do that, but here we are. Behold:
So yeah, it’s getting the side eye now but not with any malice. It’s because I know more now, and I can do better. So you know what?
Go-go-Gadget acetone, I will do better. Because I can. Because healing means going over the things that have happened, and the things you can do, and deciding what to do next. I’ll show you again when I’ve discharged a proper circle and dyed in the gyouyou mon correctly.
Then I’ll put it on and show it off again. And to tide you over, here’s a picture I took on Halloween, wearing this Meiji Era kurohikifurisode and also a hakoseko that some of you know I can’t goddamn shut up about.
Thank you for hanging out with me this year. I hope we’ve had a lot of fun. Thank you for being patient with me this year. And I’ll see more of you next year. Shit’s only gonna get weirder, and so am I. I love you guys. So Happy New Year, my fellow goddamn gremlins.
If you read this and heard me talking to you directly? Good. You know what? I am. Because we’re walking out of this mess together. All of us. Leaving as few behind as possible. The dissociation train has derailed so get in the van, motherfuckers, we’re healing in here.
Until next time.