I hold on to my nightmares and hug them tight – I’ve done it for a long as I can remember. They’ve been my faithful companions, never leaving my side, always there with me no matter where I was or how old I grew.
I’m struggling to let them go.
Part of me wants to, to not focus on the bad memories and terrifying feelings they evoke, but there is a small but strong part of me that holds on. It’s irrational and stupid, but when the nightmares come I wake up frightened and feeling sick, then I calm myself down – I start to separate the reality from fiction so everything is clearer in my mind, ground myself in the present, and then pack it all neatly into a box which I shove into the back of my subconscious where I hope to not see it again.
The focusing on what was real, clearing it from the twists that dreams add, it helps me to feel like I’m prepared for anything bad ever happening like that again. That somehow if I keep my thoughts clear I’ll know how to protect myself, or cope, to stay stronger. I don’t ever want to be helpless and have my control taken away from me.
I don’t hold a grudge against my past, or those in it. I’m not angry at it, I’d sooner it have been my story than someone who I loved instead, but it scared me so deeply that to let it go feels like ripping off a part of myself.
That battered mangled limb may be toxic but it’s a reminder that I can survive too, even if it hurts.
Letting go of my ritual is frightening – I don’t want to be weakened and unprotected, I don’t want to hurt again like that. I can’t.