Teaching a caged bird how to fly

I’ve learnt that how I treat my truth ends up being how I feel.

If I dismiss a reaction, I end up feeling lost. If I disconnect from an internal dialogue, I end up feeling absolutely alone and invisible. If I become frantic at an emerging unknown taking up space in my being, I end up feeling like I’m too much and not enough at the same time.

These aren’t exact delineations but you catch my drift. So of late I’ve been asking Allaah to teach me the language of mercy, to teach me how to respond to myself. I know what to do (boundaries, pacing myself, holding space, etc) but I don’t know how to respond to the inner child aspect of me on a continual basis because for pretty much all my life I’ve been fragmented and dissociative. I’ve had a brutal and harsh programming that had me being so cruel towards myself (so I could stop myself from doing the things that others could target me for). Just holding space in silence took me years to learn. I feel like parts of me approach my core in frightened hesitation, dipping their toes and then running back into their fragmented caverns because they have learnt that my inner space has been a war zone.

It’s not easy. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no method other than intuition, patience and prayer. I keep asking Allaah because whatever it is I’m so terrified of that I don’t know, He knows. And what I’m afraid would ambush me, He sees. So I surrender knowing that. But it takes every iota of spiritual discipline of the mind and heart to do. The urge to split up and run is so strong. The fear is strong. The doubt is strong. But the one thing I keep returning to is my knowledge of Allaah. That’s one thing I know with more certainty than my mother being my birthmother. So when words and thoughts clash in my mind and I become confused, I scrap everything and return to the zero point. I ask Allaah to reset me and give me clarity because I know how the truth feels and I know how Allaah operates. Those two things allow me to discern when something is iffy.

A comforting perspective

Creativity helps bring out the moon and the stars in the darkness of the world. The darkness is benevolent and meant to lull you into a restful sleep. It’s just that tricksters and those with poor conscience take cover in the night, taking advantage of it.

It takes a whole lot of creativity to find a way out of vicious cycles of toxicity; it’s called healing. Life’s too beautiful and Allaah is too amazing to let the limited evil loom large enough to cover your horizon. Nothing is worth losing sight of a clear coast.

The good forces you to feel what’s bad

I just realized that… I’ve been blaming myself for my trauma and depression, and everytime I’ve had an attack or breakdown I’d look for what I did wrong and I’d beat myself up about it. For instance, I have severe social anxiety and body dysmorphia and when I go out I imagine everyone sees me the way i see me; I project my self-hate on them. And when a situation makes me feel conspicuous, like I walk past someone in a wobbly and awkward manner or I’m out of breath and I imagine people sideeye me because they probably think it’s because I’m fat (which is true) ; I channel the feeling of helplessness and intense shame by going at myself in my head. I find blame for having done things that contributed to my appearance or not fitting in a certain look, and I resolve to fix it and really get rid of it so that I won’t ever have to feel those feelings again.

Up until today I didn’t have the capacity to delve deeper into the traumatic and damaging thoughts that’d get triggered and the only way I knew how to shut it off was to agree with it. I just swallowed the resistance, internalized it. I honestly don’t know how I’ve survived this long, given everything I’ve been through AND with my sanity AND my heart intact. That’s a miracle, in a literal sense. No way have I been carrying around this much conflict and ZERO love and still found hope and still kept an open heart and mind. That was all Allaah. And there are probably so many ways He sustains and nourishes me that I DON’T realize because of how constricting trauma and fear is. I realized that I couldn’t risk certain things like anything to do with my self-image or being because the trauma surrounding it was too much for me to open up to.

And I feel today I finally got past that. I was at a crossroad where I had a choice of going the shutdown route or to take a new path with the fear in pursuit of me. I went with my heart even when I didn’t know anything beyond the fear I’ve been subjected to all my life.

The first thing that happened was the unveiling of the dense barrier I’ve been hiding behind. I don’t know what happens next because this is undiscovered territory to me, but I will trust the One who kept me whole this long and taught me all that I know.

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