Like many other people, there are times when I do not fully understand the meaning of my own words. Many times my thoughts have flitted back and forth between ‘bearable sadness’ and ‘unbearable sadness’ as I have argued with myself, “How can you say you have unbearable sadness if you are still alive, Linda?”
My experience today as I wrote about it in my previous post might contain some of the information I most need to answer my own question. At least ten-year-old Linda, locked up in the back of an empty semi trailer for fifty years tells me that she does.
But she doesn’t tell me that in words. As I share a corner of her heart, my heart, our heart I can feel her sadness and it merges a little bit with my own current-day experience. The sadness I felt by the time I was ten WAS too much to bear. The amount of that sadness (as if sadness can ever be weighed, judged or measured) was more than I could remain aware of and continue to live in and with my body that felt it.
Looking at these dual Linda’s today in the process of melding that seems to be happening, I see that ten-year-old Linda IS sadder than 59-year-old Linda. “Thank goodness,” some part of me says. “I could not live with THAT degree of sadness.”
What this tells me is this: “Watch out, Linda — both of you, all of you. This is a delicate and very difficult situation that must be handled with all the care all of you can muster.”
I believe that. Friday I had one of the saddest days in recent memory — all without ‘reason’. I was so sad I could hardly stand on my feet. I could hardly move through the air. I FORCED myself to remain upright and active, all the time knowing my motions were accomplished through determination and will.
I knew enough not to ask, “What is wrong with you?” I know about my nervous system’s set point at sadness, as I have mentioned. But it was intense. I did some very simple things to take care of myself and thought about a hot air balloon trying to take off when it’s all weighted down. I thought about little things I could do to cut some ropes and drop some of that load so I could ‘raise my spirits’ up at least a little bit.
It worked. I was gentle with myself, took simple actions, and floated upwards enough not to get knocked down into my ‘deep well of sadness’ any further.
Today I almost see last Friday as being some sort of a little test — to see for my self how living with the sadness pressure turned way up. Today I also see why I needed my Friday’s experience to look back on, because I will tell you, this ten-year-old locked away in the semi trailer is sad beyond belief.
That’s OK. She has kept at bay the bulk of my sadness from my infant-child abuse prior to the age of ten. How to bear unbearable sadness? There are ways — none of them easy, but we can survive. We do survive.
This girl, by the way, is very quiet and speaks very softly, but she does have questions. Lots of questions, like she has been in a coma for fifty years and has just awakened.
What a trip….