Last week I walked into the bathroom, with its mottled brown tiled floor, and my foot just walked into an empty pint glass. My husband had left it just inside the door; either from finishing a drink or putting a spider out: I never did ask him…
But my foot nudged it, and it fell.
Somehow, it managed to entirely shatter across the whole floor.
I was instantly pulled back 15 years.
First, I was scared, bracing for the hit. Childhood me felt the panic. Tens of cognitive therapy techniques whooshed past me, and I felt the tension in my body release all at once. Then my mind moved swiftly onto this post that resonated with me years ago:
“Sometimes things break. Sometimes we break them. It’s not the breaking that matters, the how or why. What matters is how we choose to respond to the broken-ness.”
It’s important to understand your history.
I grew up being hit around the head because I knocked over a glass of water and some of it spilled on the carpet; glass intact.
This time, I had broken a glass that was not mine.
And my husband responded like any normal person. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Like the mama in that blog post, my husband responded with love.
I apologised. He didn’t even respond to my apology, just started tidying the glass up, saying he shouldn’t have left it there. Again, he asked if I was okay; did I get any in my feet?
I have believed that I am Broken for 17 years.
Although that hyper-vigilant child still lives inside me, she is quickly overtaken these days, by adult-me, in a loving, safe relationship. I have so many thoughts now about how that brokenness is now my superpower. But that’s for another post.
The fact that I can own the roots of my trauma and turn them around these days still astounds me.
A few years ago, I would have broken into sobs, my body automatically bracing for the hit. Even one year ago, tears would have filled my eyes. But this week, the response was normal, more reasonable.
The roots are deep.
Those roots of my childhood experiences are still there, but they do not define me now. They give me pause, they are the thing that enabled me to be fierce in choosing a partner who was different, and who knew that child. So when we went to bed that night, and I said I was still thinking about it, he didn’t berate me or tell me to forget it. He listened. Because he once had to console me, crying that I’d spilled some water on the floor in front of him, in my own house.
These stories live within us. But through understanding them, through journaling and unfolding the fears, we can reach an acceptance where adult-me can take over within seconds.
Time to find the lesson. To learn it.
I can be my own #MamaWarrior in the story, self-soothing and moving on with my day: no tears or upset suffocating me from inside.
Because when we truly know our roots, we can reinvent our responses, without burning our history down.
Want to understand how your roots can support you in reinvention?