My child is back
Sitting in bath, leaning forward, about to pull out the plug. Pause. An instruction to just stop. I know what’s there and I know who sits huddled deep down below in my heart, my stomach. And I let it come: first a deep sadness, I wretch, a single sob. I ask for more and there she is. My little girl. Let’s call her Niks.
And isn’t that the weirdest thing. I first discovered Niks when in therapy with Andrea back in 2007. Andrea is a psychologist, now based in Australia, who was living in a home in Emmarentia which reflected her way in the world – messy, big, arty and experimental. On a weekend women’s course we walked a rope representing our timeline to see where we felt slow, where our energy was stuck. We drew a picture of an ideal future and we also brought a photo of ourselves when we were little. My little girl. I promised Niks a few things that weekend: to protect her, to let her play, to let her know that she was loved by me and I would never abandon her and if she felt I had, I was sorry. I was scared of Niks’ vulnerability and had made such strides in moving away from her ugly and hurtful insecurity that I had become seduced by my new adult strength. But she was I, and leaving her alone and shunned grew a sadness in me.
And it’s now 2013 and I had forgotten about Niks. I met her once again in Sandton psychiatric ward in 2008 and felt her similar sadness. And now I seek her out in the bath.
The last four years have been about finding my place as a mother, depression, working on my marriage, self-recrimination, break-downs, relationship crisis and emotional work ups and downs. Trying to get better: therapy, church, meds, work travel, scribbling and self-help. Moving as far away from Niks as I could.
And Niks is still me. I make a deal with her, again. A different one this time. Yes, I will protect her, because I am strong and know how to be a mother who provides stability. Well, I do now. But I am human and will self-destruct and fall and may check out again and I don’t want Niks to feel abandoned. Like I would not want my boys to ever feel abandoned. So I pull down the power of God, in two funnels and call loudly for His strength, demand His energy, to surround and flow around Niks forever. Especially for those times when I stumble, get distracted. I then promise to introduce Niks to my new man: the only way I will ever learn to trust again in love and life. I have kept Niks hidden from this man and the world because I associate Niks with helplessness and pain. But its double jeopardy – without openess and trust and Niks out there and playing, she remains sad as I keep working so very very hard to keep her suppressed, safe and ignored. I feel safe with my man blocked at the inner wall.
To invite her forward and send her naivety out there? The choice has been made.
I let the tears fall between my legs, pull out the plug and spend the night snuggled up to this man in my life, with Niks waiting excitedly for some freedom and fun.