Welcome to Day Sixteen of Just Jot It January, where the prompt is: “impenetrable,” used any way we wish. Today, I offer you a rare peek into my journal, where I mused on impenetrability and its opposite.
This is also a Mindful Monday post, particularly since I journal after meditating.
As I was jotting down ideas for what I want to be impenetrable in the world/in my reality, the word broke up in my head, and I heard it as “I’m Penetrable.”
And I am – or, at least, I’m far more so than I once was.
The ever-present sense of impending danger I lived with, growing up in an emotionally volatile home forced me to take survival measures – and one of them was building armor over my emotional sensitivity.
You see, every time I didn’t, my mother, father, sister, or brothers would find the open and vulnerable place, and attack it.
My childhood was emotionally bloody, and I only survived by building an imperfectly impenetrable fortress around myself and my feelings.
I used words, and stories, and imagery. The greatest part of my intelligence was turned to this purpose.
Later, I would find a kindred spirit in a half-Vulcan character named Spock – a make-believe man whose very “existence” demanded emotional barriers.
At seventeen, this was one of my favorite songs:
I entered adulthood still an emotional infants who had been raised and damaged by emotional infants. Not everyone who wears the body of a grown up has lived in conditions that nurture emotional growth.
My parents didn’t. And, so, neither did I.
I might have never even realized that…but life gradually found its way into the cracks in my armor.
College helped some, even though it was a small New England school and I didn’t stay long.
Love wielded powerful weapons. Sometimes they injured, but, at others, they healed. It might seem strange to many that the death of my fiance was healing to me, or that the death of our second son was.
But they were.
In both cases, I gave of myself – well, selflessly. Cystic fibrosis demands a great deal of time and energy to treat. A newborn with a devastating brain injury does, too.
I couldn’t give that level of myself and not be broken open.
The losses were devastating, but the gifts…they were priceless. My life is immeasurably richer because these two souls passed through it, and because I opened myself to them.
Because I loved Tim, I’m a better wife to Jim. Nineteen years into our marriage, I’m still learning how to be a better one, and still open to that learning.
Because of Elijah….
Well, because of Elijah, I have kids who look like this, most of the time:
It could easily have been different. I started off as a very different parent – but the death of a baby is so profound a loss that there was no way to keep being who I’d been – nor to keep believing that the lives of his siblings – of all of us – aren’t as fragile.
Death comes for us all, and so the changes we make, we have to make while we’re here, and alive.