Just yesterday I walked into my living room and found what I thought was a dead chipmunk (a gift from one of my cats). I got the dustpan and the broom and as I went to sweep it up, it lept up and ran. I screamed. It was an unusual sound for me to hear.
Two months ago I shared with my therapist (I think I’m going to refer to her as my growth partner from now on.) that I noticed I don’t scream. There was a bat in the house and as it flew towards me, I noticed that I screamed with my mouth closed. It was as if I didn’t want to bother anyone, make a noise, be noticed. That’s been in the back of my mind since we spoke because it’s as if I stuff down those feelings and I don’t let the fear out. One of the way I’ve used food for 40 something years is to stuff down my fear- or any feelings for that matter. The silent scream was just a demonstration for learning purposes and I was just aware enough to take the lesson.
I now wonder how far back was it that I learned to stuff my fear, to be seen but not heard, to hide. I have few memories of childhood and many of them are around food and guilt. There are also those about not sharing or expressing my feelings. Today, as I prepare to attend the funeral of one of my Great Aunts, I’m reminded of my father’s funeral. I was getting into the car at the age of 12 and I was crying. My step grandmother said “Don’t cry, your father wouldn’t want you to cry.” I can still hear her voice 34 years later. I now know it was an adult’s way of dealing with a little girl’s pain. However, as a 12 year old, who just lost her dad, the message was clear. Don’t express your sadness, it makes other people angry or sad or whatever. Instead, have a cookie. It’ll make you feel better.
I now work to allow myself to feel what I feel, cry when I want to cry and apparently I’m getting good at screaming. It’s all very exciting. 🙂 Yes, I did say work to allow myself to feel. It’s yet to be automatic. I still have to allow myself permission to do it at times. Other times it’s automatic. It’s all a journey and my journey is far from over.