Bravery- an open letter

[L]- Maybe today L is for Love (I probably wont ever call you that again),

Today you were moved, a new facility, new people to meet, new professionals to fool, new assessments to figure out and ace. I bet these counselors are better at spotting a narcissist and addict, do you think you’ll convince them you’re not like you did [ADDICTION COUNSELOR]? [NEW COUNSELOR] seemed to see through you, but you learned how to throw off those sessions pretty quickly too……. Who will you laugh with when you tell you have them fooled, like it’s a joke and not your life? Did you know the counselor at the jail felt bad for you? My therapist oversees him, he’s still new. So when she went to him one day and asked about you being back in his response was “oh yeahhhh poor guy……” according to him you always are so sad and depressed and laid back….. So go ahead and add another one to your score card.

God it was only this morning, but also…. I think I’ve looked at the new booking images of you at least 100 times, they’re already permanently burned into my retinas. The jail called me twice to make sure I got the victim notification, they heard “I was displeased” about not getting a call last time you got out. I have to wonder, are you afraid? Is being transferred out of your hometown and into a correctional facility where your family doesn’t have sway scary? You look at ease but you look tight, you have tells, that even show up in photographs. I’m worried about you today. I learned to read you a long time ago, you only ever got away with a few lies truly, I just gave up in the end on calling you out on them, I wasn’t up for the fight.

Things are getting better again, today shoved my focus back onto you with the updates, but….. overall It was another brave day. It comes in waves, if you asked me yesterday… yesterday was not a strong day, it was a crying day. I know I’ve told you this but I want you to know this is the strongest I’ve felt in a very long time. I’m getting farther and farther in therapy. I’m able to push you back into my “brain container”–new coping technique– and that’s been pretty huge for me, it’s pretty, a vase, with a big latch like my cookie jar from Gram; solid and sturdy, it closes with a click. It seals everything inside and you can’t even smell the cookies until you pop the latch and it all comes flooding out, that’s about like my emotions right now. It’s all a new EMDR technique….. I hope you get the chance to do EMDR again with your traumas. Today’s bravery was more tangible, more motivational, I WILL NOT let you back in. I’m getting better at my own positive affirmations. I guess that’s kind of why I wanted to write this letter, I’m hoping I won’t even want to write to you soon so it seemed like a good time to get some of this out while you still had a few strings on my heart.

I talk about bravery and recovery like it’s such a sure thing but tomorrow you could have a death grip on me again. I’m never quite sure how I’m going to wake up feeling about you. I blame the dreams I can feel as confident as ever in waking life but the dreams still f*** me up every night. Sometimes they’re about you, sometimes they’re memories, sometimes they’re made up future scenarios, sometimes you’re not even in them but they’re just general fear and chaos; and I’m always losing my f***ing teeth in my dreams. That’s how I’m starting to wake up from them. I know if I lose a tooth it’s not real. How sad is that? But that also means you can’t ever knock another tooth out or I’m just not going to believe it’s real. I think that would really mess with me to go through again after all the bad dreams. That’s the one common thing in every single one. The worst ones, surprisingly, are the ones that are good dreams; sometimes good memories. We’re laying in bed or laughing in the kitchen, or the worst– kissing, and my teeth just start falling out.

The brave days may come and go, but I have faith you’re not long left for my heart, and by long I mean…. you maybe have a few months left some days; years left, others….. If I’m being honest. The thing that keeps me going though is even though I have bad or neutral days in between, sometimes even crying days, the good ones are getting stronger. Remember when [NEW COUNSELOR] constantly asked you where do you feel it in your body? she was trying to get you to associate your feelings with physical manifestations of the emotions….. Well I hope this description helps.

My bravery feels so big in my chest, it’s like a bowling ball sitting right under my sternum. It forces me to stay upright, to not hunch, shoulders rolled back and down. It forces me to breathe into my belly because my chest doesn’t have enough room, it’s physically uncomfortable. I’m not familiar with bravery anymore, but I like it. It’s a new weight which isn’t expected, I thought I would get lighter in this process, not heavier, but it’s a sturdy weight. It keeps me planted firmly down, I’m not so flighty. –Remember my pre-EMDR letter I wrote you? I think I’ll post it here (no matter how misinformed it is), because it shows how desperate and afraid I was to get rid of you, it talked about being a bird in a storm– Bravery takes away that flighty-ness. I guess what I’m describing is confidence? oofta that’s a hard one but I have confidence in myself for the first time in a long time, so long it feels foreign, but it also feels soooooo good.

Love [not always and forever, I promise],

[NAME REDACTED]

PS- It’s tomorrow now, I still feel brave……

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