Last night was hard.

C and The Boy were both supposed to call me in the afternoon, after I had called in the morning (The Boy’s mother, C’s uncle). I woke up around 1:30 in the morning realizing that they hadn’t and C at least probably wouldn’t. I could have called The Boy myself at that point quite easily, and I could have worked quite a lot harder to reach C, but I didn’t. I felt too much in my own state to productively do anything.

I fell asleep eventually—maybe after an hour or two—and I can’t quite remember what went on in my mind during that period. I cried a lot and I tried to stay inside my body and my feelings, because I think that basically helps. I did remind myself that C has only been in hostel for 4 days and last year she had been at school for two months before she went off the rails.

I have been aware of a dark, sad part of myself more lately. Veroushka, if you will, but she is less personified to me now.

I have been needing to shop for clothes a bit more, and I have noticed I have not bought colours. My entire wardrobe is black, gray, brown, and navy blue. Mostly black. Veroushka is the closest thing to stylish I’ve got, and she likes black.

Also, I was kind of scrambling for what to wear to my interview on Thursday, and settled on an outfit that is not quite a suit. But it’s black. And I realized I always wear black to interviews. It always makes me feel more at ease. Before going, I felt kind of tapped into a more Russian sense of self, that I associate with needing to stand up to C’s parents for her.

I started to think this isn’t an accident. That kind of exposure of myself in an interview setting—or standing up for C—feels so hopeless it taps into this part of me that has perhaps had to persist in spite of what felt overwhelming odds against me. Like, “I am so sad, but I’ll just keep going anyway.” I suspect this part of me feels Russian because that mood of persistence in the face of terrible sadness was a dominant experience when I was in that setting. I suspect we were all persisting in the face of terrible despair and sadness.

I suspect also what feels the most unacceptable to me is not the trappings of the personality built around that terrible sadness, but the sadness itself. I made pancakes and a Russian potato salad this morning and I am pretty sure this is me expressing that sadness and despair and trying to make a safe space for the sadness. I worked so hard for so many years to dissociate this part, so that over the years it became less and less “me.” I am trying to take it into myself again as a part of myself. Reflecting it back to myself as behaviours might be—probably is—me telling myself it’s okay to feel sad. It’s even okay to feel hopeless.

The thing about emotions is they pass. When the sadness is a part of my experience, it is temporary. When I dissociate it, it remains forever—like a room with a door shut. What’s inside that room is always there, even when you aren’t in it.

I am starting to think that my parents’ trauma-based and abusive behaviour formed a boundary around who I could that was so restrictive, I formed parts. Our parents normally set boundaries on behaviour that we can stay within and still feel like whole people—we just shit in the toilet and don’t pull the cat’s tail and stop throwing toys when we wish we could get our way.

Hopelessness couldn’t be me, because my parents’ couldn’t see it. They didn’t respond to it, or help me cope with it, and it became exiled.

I have been thinking too that, while this hopelessness is something I associate with older experiences, I felt it as a baby. My baby-self felt just as rejected and despairing as my teenage-self.