In my style, I’m going to wind my way to what led me here. To writing about one rotting tooth.
This last weekend, I decided to have my first active appointment with the therapist who deals with repressed memories, among other things. It was basically an appointment to establish a backwards life line. We started at my current age to the beginning of the decade-age, and by chunks worked back to my earliest memories.
Something interesting happened that I wasn’t expecting. I expected emotional responses. But I didn’t expect anything starkly physical.
While discussing Doctor Horrible, I could feel my body go numb. Like, truly numb all over. My emotions matched, and I simply gave data about what we went through in our marriage. That was strange in itself because… I loved him. As compared to my first husband, who I could admit early on in my life that I married out of fear… I had not only fallen in love with Doctor Horrible, but had chosen to love him fiercely through many difficult times and situations. I thought, going in, I was going to weep, but instead, I instinctively numbed myself to him and it, except when I couldn’t.
When I couldn’t stay numb, was when I said I felt a certain way about the time after finding out Melody had been assaulted, and to clarify, the therapist said, “so you felt like her protector?” I had, I still do, but I’d never given that feeling or responsibility a title before, and to hear it and accept it felt scary and heavy and holy. The knowledge that it was only God who held me there for her, stung me. I cried. I felt completely inadequate to the task, even though I knew I had done it with Him.
When we got to the period of my life with my first husband, I laughed almost the entire way through. The only time I stopped laughing was when I mentioned my grandparents giving me a life-line, sending me care packages and letting me know fully that they loved me even after I’d run away from home. I started crying to feel that love wash over me, love that filled me when I had put myself in isolation with a crazy man and my parents were understandably too hurt to reach out to me the way my grandparents had, love that I come to understand more as I grow older… love I learn to honor more each year. But that knowledge has come with regret. My grandmother died without me telling her how precious that love was, without really knowing I’d escaped my crazy husband, without hearing me tell her she’d been my best friend during my childhood. I had this brief opportunity and moment with my grandpa, but the thought of him now being dead, too, washed over me, and I couldn’t help but weep, laying on a table. I knew I felt regret, but I wasn’t expecting what happened next. Shooting, blinding pain in my right shoulder blade. The therapist asked to touch me and applied pressure under me to relieve the pain, but it remained until I allowed myself to cry it out and talk about other things. Then, the pain vanished.
When we got back to my school years, my body became cold. I started shaking, and while I registered that I was, it took me a few minutes to realize my body was telling me what this time period meant to me, uncontrollably – fear. When I stopped talking about my childhood, within less than a minute, I was not cold and I wasn’t shaking. Suddenly, my body felt heavy… but not in a bad way. It felt like I settled.
I’m bringing this all up for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because, I came home and started digging for what emotions these physical responses were linked to. It wasn’t very surprising, actually. Shoulder pain is linked to regret, which while feeling overwhelmed with the knowledge of my grandparent’s love, I was feeling intense regret.
This led me to starting to wonder about other ailments and their emotional connection. Like my tooth. I’ll get to that, in my next post.