I.You know how I feel.

II. All day yesterday, I wanted to have a hot soak to scrub *that man* (and the last four years) out of my hair. I just took delivery on a gorgeous bar of soap made with patchouli and activated charcoal, so it felt like the right time BUT I was so glued to the coverage of the inauguration that I couldn’t drag myself away. My nervous system didn’t say ‘ok, we’re clear’ until I could imagine President Joe Biden tucked in bed with milk and cookies.

I have not cried so many tears of joy in a very, very long time. It was a really good day.

III. This morning, I got up and watched this and lo, it was very good. Adults. Gods, I’ve missed adults.

IV. I had that soak I wanted to have this morning, charcoal soap and all, and lo, that was also very, very good. I am squeaky clean and can we please just never use his name again, like, ever? I know we can’t forget, but we can do the very worst and most painful thing one can do to a narcissist – ignore him completely. Insist that he just doesn’t fucking matter anymore.

Because he doesn’t. Onward.

V. Nothing is perfect, but things are better, and I’m hanging my heart on that. I keep saying “we’re going to be okay” like it’s some kind of magic spell, and maybe it is. I feel it this morning. We are going to be okay.

VI. I love orange juice. This new morning ritual of juice before coffee is *life*.

VII. Before I fell into my doomed relationship with 42, I was doing really well. I was happy. I had good friends. I was open to dating, and pursued that with varying degrees of success. I loved my apartment and my routine. I loved my work. I was a bit lonely, but it was nothing I couldn’t deal with.

As the relationship began, I was holding it very, very lightly. It wasn’t something I was thinking long term about. I expected him to come and go as he pleased. I expected I’d meet someone eventually who could show up fully and partner me in the way I deserved, and when it ended (because I was sure it would end) I expected us to go back to what we were before, because I couldn’t see how it could be otherwise…

…but he insisted that I was his center. His breath. His future. He insisted that we were meant to be, that we were going to have a whole life together. It was just a matter of time. “Soon, love.” he said, over and over again. “Pinky swear.”

It took me a long time to begin to believe him, and but I did, and it began to consume my every waking thought. I did everything I could to make us possible, to pave the way, even while he did nothing. I partnered him emotionally, financially, and by making space even when he failed to partner me. I told him everything even while he was withholding. I was willing to have the difficult conversations, even when he defaulted to humor or deception to avoid confrontation.

I would wonder out loud (because words weren’t aligning with actions) what the fuck was really going on and he would pinky swear that I had nothing to worry about.

I knew he was lying.

Every abandonment wound I had was badly triggered. I became anxious, depressed, no more fucking fun.

I lost my way. I lost *myself*.

But…

VIII. Today, I am fully in possession of myself once more. I love my life. I love my little nest in London. I love my routine. I love my chosen family. I hate the pandemic because it is in the way of the things I want to do, but this too shall pass and I’m looking forward to the life I will create for myself from this haven I’ve made for myself.

The last two years have taught me a lot. There are things I will never choose for myself again. There are things I will always choose for myself. There are boundaries now in place that weren’t there before. My fawn trauma response has been completely exposed for what it is. I know how to stand up for what I want and need. I know how to refuse to accept anything less. I trust that self that knows when someone is lying – to themselves, to me. I will not align with someone else against my own best interests. Self-loyal. I choose me.

I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come. This whole thing with 42 AND the stuff with my emergency move + the way certain of my bio fam responded to that whole thing AND a global pandemic could have done me in entirely – and if I’m being honest, it almost did – I had a legit nervous breakdown that almost killed me, and I was *absolutely abandoned* by people I depended on and loved when that happened, but you know what they say, right?

Throw me to the wolves and I’ll come back leading the pack.

XI. I grew up being scapegoated. My sister was the golden child, and I was – well – not. That was the theme of my childhood. I was the squeakiest wheel. I was the problem child. I was the difficult kind.

I still am, but now I am proudly so. I am PROUDLY and LOUDLY  the squeaky wheel. I am proudly the one who will ask all the questions you’d rather not answer. I am proudly the difficult one that will not stand for abuse or projection of any kind. I will show up on your doorstep with receipts. I will call you on your shit. I will say no, this will not stand. I will not keep your secrets.

As we left 2020 behind and entered 2021, I shook off all the shit people have tried to lay on me. Every day, I remind myself of the one thing I know for sure: if you see and say things someone doesn’t like in themselves, even if you love them despite those things, even if you stand ready to assist them with those things, they will demonize you if they aren’t ready to deal with it. They will hold a grudge against you for the shit they did wrong. They will project and deflect. Their accusations are confessions. I have seen it time and time again. I *am* an expert in this kind of abuse. I am an expert in how this kind of abuse impacts my nervous system.

I’m not here for it anymore.

I used to be a perfect, willing vessel for other people’s stuff. I was raised to do that. I was the container into which other people’s split off parts got placed. I was the holder of their secrets. I bore the brunt of their unwillingness to do their own work.

I am no longer a perfect container for other people’s unconscious or shadow content. I resign. I rebuke this role now and forever.

Keep your box of darkness. I’ve got enough work to do unpacking my own.

X. Today is therapy day. I like to take these days as they come, since I never know what state therapy will leave me in. I did some Zoom coffees with friends first thing because we have things to celebrate on this bright shiny new morning in January 2021. I scrubbed myself clean of the last four years – all of it – all of them – and let all of it swirl on down the drain and away from me. I’m starting fresh, in full ownership of my little empire.

I am my own safe space now. I’m my own soft place to land.

It’s a new day.

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