The thing about writing notes to C is that I also read them. The little, hurt parts of me also get to hear those sentiments, and they understand they apply to them. I understand it applies to me. Last week, I wrote her a long note—I mentioned this, I think—about her still being her. I had the idea to do that, because that is something she might feel confused about. In various states, she might feel, “I am no longer me.” She might not have a sense of the constancy of her own self. I wrote her a note about it, and I also heard it, and probably I have been mulling that over ever since then.
I was thinking this evening about C’s text, “Mom goodnight.” The very sweetest and kindest and most loving of all of her texts, and really it felt to me the most Healthy Adult of them. I was thinking of that this evening, trying to process it a bit more, and I really felt overwhelmed with the sadness. It’s not that no one else has ever wished me goodnight before, but I was taking it in more fully perhaps, and I just had that feeling that no one had ever wanted me to be safe and feel loved at night. I have really never felt that sense of connection at night, before going to sleep. As a child, no one cared if I felt loved and safe. We did all the normal things: read story books, cuddled, and then my dad came in and raped me. There was this veneer of normal and nothing more. It wasn’t really that winding down towards peaceful, relaxed sleep, because no child who knows that sexual abuse will follow can ever calm down during bedtime storytime the way that ritual is intended to do. I was never soothed and put to bed. I performed in a masquerade briefly, before the ugly truth reared its head again.
But C wanted to tell me she was going off to sleep and she wanted to have that moment with me that my parents didn’t care to have.
It created this feeling of conflict inside, that it isn’t possible for this to be true. I held onto that, kind of examined that perspective. It seemed to be important. I was making dinner and holding onto that sense that C’s wish to be close to me before sleeping was not even possible, because I was not worthy.
I began to think these things are related. I am the same person. I am the person my parents could not love and who felt profoundly unworthy and I am also this person, whom C loves in her own fractured way and who is worthy. Everything bad I think happened really did happen. Every bad feeling I remember I really felt. I am that person. I was that person, and I still am that person.