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A Rock and a Hard Place

I am in a unique position where I am directly related to the family member we lost, yet at a physical distance to where it happened. This gives me space to find clarity, to sit with my emotions, to reveal what I've been taught to hide, to heal.


But that also puts me at a disadvantage to people who ARE in the space, who ARE in the Anger and Denial stages of Grief. And they want me to join them there. They can't deny the truth if I'm over here shedding light on what happened. They need to contain me, to mute me, to turn the lights off and hide the ugliness of it all.


Welcome to A Rock and A Hard Place, where I live. I've always lived here, and I'm not alone. This neighborhood houses millions. I'm sure many of you can relate.


First - I have hurt people. Not because I sought to injure them, but because I revealed my darkness, and it's related to them. This is part of a vicious cycle, part of why we, as societies, struggle with healing and allowing others to heal.


If I reveal my darkness to you, it sheds light on what's inside. And if they are a part of what's inside, a part of that darkness, then they are being seen and can no longer hide in my shadows.


I can't reveal my darkness without revealing why I have darkness. This has always been the case. This is why most of my work is fantasy and comedy, because they are my coping mechanisms for when I squash down secrets that are bigger than me, and I turn the impact back towards myself.


Here's some darkness for ya: I self harm all the time. I may not use razor blades or burns, but I bite myself. I physically bite my lips until I bleed, and is it any wonder? I am constantly biting back my own words, swallowing my own thoughts, devouring myself from the inside to protect a family image that is more nuanced than can be seen.


I literally am licking my own wounds.


But here's something interesting - I haven't done that today. And I usually do it every day... Much like people bite their nails or pull their hair, it's a stress relief for everything I've compacted inside.


It's been a compulsion I've never been able to break. It seemed no matter how much I wanted to stop, I wanted the satisfaction of doing it more. Of course consciously I don't want to hurt myself, but let's look at this symbolically (as I love to do.)


Lips - the external parts of the mouth, where we take in the nourishment of the world. Lips are sensual. We kiss each other on the lips to express feelings of romance and attraction. We use our lips to kiss babies and animals to express affection. Lips are painted to highlight their shape and become art.


Lips also shape the sounds we make. Without them we couldn't make B, P or V sounds. The famous "F" sound would be gone, the satisfaction of "Mmmmmm" would disappear too. "R" would change to the back of the throat, W leaves us, and it would be impossible to ask "Y."


So lips are connected to pleasure, to purpose, to expression and satisfaction. With our lips we are able to contemplate and philosophize, which is what I allowed myself to do yesterday. And I've yet to bite my lips today.


Teeth - the sharp and blunt bones of our mouth. They are used to break down food, to tear and render until something is destroyed. Animals bare their teeth as a defense mechanism, bite others to protect themselves and show they are a threat to be taken seriously.


Teeth are more than bones though, they have nerve endings within which stimulate our actions and reactions. They trigger parts of our brain, our organs, our ability to sense things.


If I'm using my ability to sense, defend and tear to inflict pain upon myself, that means that there are parts of me capable of inflicting pain. I've always known that - I descend from people who are masters at it. In fact, that's why I turned it inwards. I never want to intentionally hurt others the way some people have intentionally hurt me.


But again.... after I was honest and wrote about the dark thoughts I had... and warned people about... I didn't need to bite myself today, because I haven't held anything back.


But this doesn't stop the fact that I have hurt them. It's hurt them so badly. They read at their own discretion and want the evidence destroyed.


Simultaneously, SO MANY of you have reached out, sharing similar experiences, understanding this pain and loss and the confusion on it all. Some with nearly identical situations. It has opened a door for so many other people to do something constructive with their pain, to unlock something that was wedged deep inside.


There's nothing we do that does not hurt something else. We walk on the grass and smother those plants. We feast for the holidays on the animals and vegetation that we claimed the lives of. We say, "Can I be brutally honest?" When in fact, we can just be honest, there's no need for that brutality.


The truth is I've been trying to be different from them, but I'm not. I'm just like them. I'm capable of hurting people, I misread situations and I've kept it all hidden just like I learned to do by watching how the adults did it.


So when I wrote that post... I ended a cycle. I revealed.


Now I must accept responsibility. I am sorry that my words devastated them, horrified them, appalled them, perhaps disgusted them. I accept that they are furious.


What I cannot accept is that they are hurting my loved ones to get to me. That is a level of cruelty I am born into. If my words hurt ten but heal one hundred, then I'm glad I was honest.


I'm sorry for the pain I've caused, but I found a way to a meet my needs in a way they haven't. I've lost their trust, yet gained the trust of others.


I'm still between a rock and a hard place, so I guess it's a good thing that I love stones and crystals and know how to dig them up. And when we shed light on our darkness, we can see what's hidden within. Those broken pieces and fractals can be appreciated for what they are - without us needing to pretend they are anything else.


~Danielle



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