Ruthie was hysterical this morning because she killed a spider. There was a big one in the kitchen. Not a huge one, not hand-sized, but big enough to be disconcerting.
This is not unusual. Y-Town is the land of flies and spiders, and the spiders like the kitchen. They tend especially to fall into the sink and then find themselves unable to get out, so we end up escorting spiders outside quite a lot.
Today’s spider wasn’t in the sink. It was on the wall, and we were going to take it outside, but the whole trapping process didn’t go as planned, and there was a very telling crunching sound that indicated maimed spider.
So she cried for a while and said sorry a lot to the spider for killing it. She doesn’t like killing spiders because they are good and they help us by eating up all the nasty bugs. This is what she told me.
And this brings me to something.
You have to like the parts. They need to feel wanted. This is what needs to happen for them.
All of our collective lives, they have not felt wanted. I was scared of having parts. I was scared of what they remembered that didn’t seem like it could actually be real. I was scared of the pain and the overwhelming emotions they brought to the table. I was scared they meant I was crazy or wanted to invent a dramatic life for myself when I ought to have been a boring, middle-class girl from the exurbs.
Also, I just didn’t understand them. How come I suddenly want a brown dress? I don’t like brown. I hate brown. Well, Lana likes brown. Brown is cuddly. I didn’t know about Lana, so sometimes Lana didn’t get the brown dress. She only got it if she could be loud enough to silence me.
They have spent their lives feeling unwanted and unvalidated and unheard. Unheard from inside, and this has led to being unheard outside. Someone—me—erected a barrier between them and the world. It didn’t always work, but the attempt was the there. And the result of that attempt has been a loneliness and a sense of being rejected by the world. They haven’t been able to connect to the outside world. I didn’t let them.
But this doesn’t mean I can just let them run wild now. I cannot have little parts running around now talking to my colleagues or teaching a class. I am grown now, and even an 11-year-old part is going to be very strange and disconcerting as a sudden switch in my personality. Mostly, the only place from whence they find get validation from is me.
On the upside, I do like them. They carry a heavy trauma load. They aren’t always easy to take care of, but as people they are delightful. Ruthie not wanting to kill a spider is delightful.
My dad killed a puppy in front of me. He forced me to kill a kitten. But Ruthie is heartbroken at a squished spider. It’s a breath of fresh air, this tender little heart of hers. She is just lovely.