Thursday, February 6, 2014

Red Pain

I haven't thought about my razors in at least a year.
It's been well over ten years since I threw the last one away, one I had pried carefully from my disposable pack of razors I used to shave my long teenage legs.

I never cut for attention.
I never cut to toe the line between mortality and escape (death).

I just wanted to free the pain.  I felt Red Pain, and when I could see my pain in red, everything made sense again.
I could face school again, as long as no one bumped up against me too close in the hall.
It didn't take long for scars to form, for cuts to open on scars.  Those ones hurt the most, and I knew they did... so I saved those cuts for the pain that hurt the most. 

It was how I freaked out.

It was how I let my two year old baby inside of me out -the one who didn't know a life without freaking out when she felt the urge: kicking, screaming, bawling...

Freaking out, I felt, was NOT okay.  I had been taught it wasn't okay.  Pick up, carry on, it will pass, and in the meantime, dry your eyes, won't you?  No one wants to see you like that.

So my pain went down, down, down, until one day when I needed to see it.  No amount of expression was enough: no amount of writing or music could free the pain.  There was too much, it was too heavy.
Trying to free it with my pen and paper was like poking an insignificant hole in the Hoover Dam.
Slooooooooowwww leak.  Too slow.
The pain from my pen and paper was grey and black and white.
I had Red Pain.  I needed to see it so I could deal with it.

No one ever saw my shoulders anyway.  I never wore anything to show them because good girls don't, and I was good.  Always good, too scared to be anything but good.  So my shoulders took it.

You can't even see the scars anymore.  They've finally -only recently -faded out.

Last night, I found myself longing for my old razors.  The Red Pain is back, and even still -I do not know how to freak out.
I have some sort of barrier in my soul, harnessing pain and harassing me from the inside out.
Don't do it.  Don't scream, don't kick.
Terrified to make a mistake, terrified of consequences, terrified of his reaction.

I need to see my pain now.
I prayed, I took myself to the piano and HAMMERED out songs lyrics that said what I was feeling.

The scars of your love, they leave me breathless.
I can't help feeling,
We could have had it all...
Rolling in the deep.
You had my heart inside of your hand,
And you played it to the beat.

Over and over, harder and harder until it wasn't enough and I needed more.  So I played "Good Life" mockingly, as if the song was some sort of shallow misrepresentation of reality.  Over and over and over.

In sweet progression, I continued trying to release my pain... but it was only black and white pain.  It wasn't enough.  It was a slow leak.  But I kept going.

But the tigers come at night.
With their voices soft as thunder...
As they tear your hope apart.
And they turn your dreams to shame...

He took my childhood in his stride,
But he was gone when autumn came.

Over and over and over, but the pain was still just black as night on a sheet of snow.  I wanted to see my red pain.
I went to the tub, and the water just couldn't get hot enough.

Stupid cold pipes.
My skin was barely pink.  My pain isn't pink.  In frustration I scrubbed my skin, and the pink turned into a deeper shade of rose -still pink, only deeper.
I scrubbed more and harder, trying to let the red pain out.  I used a coarse brush, scrubbing...
It burned, but it never gave me more than pink pain.

It came to me there in my real and vulnerable moment before God and a few angels -which at this point I'm SURE are surrounding my family around the clock, even if we aren't behaving ourselves like we ought to when angels are around -that the Red Pain has already been suffered and seen.

I remembered that He knows my pain.
How in the HELL did He bear it and not die instantly?  The collective pain of just MY life -my cutting, my sins, my miscarriage, my labors, my losses, my grief -it would break me, kill me! 

And there in my red pain, I thanked Him for knowing it.  Because I was suddenly not alone in it.
I still wanted to feel it.
But I also wanted to hand it over.

I have no idea how to hand it over because there's SO much of it.
I have no idea how to freak out and turn that slow leak into a full-on dam break.
I don't know how to freak out.
I don't know how to stop abusing my piano.
I don't know if I can hand the red pain over.  I always handled it myself.  I saw it and dealt with it and closed the case on it.

Last night, I wrapped myself in warm fleece jammies and went to bed, my body still burning but not enough for me to feel any better.

I dreamed I was on stage, sitting on a ledge over the performers.  I was completely exposed, completely naked, and too high up to get down easily.  Everyone could see me, and everyone DID see me, but no one looked me in the eye.  They were looking at my body.
I tried hiding it, turning it... I tried texting my husband for help of any kind -help getting down, a coat?  anything?
But I couldn't reach him.  I had no phone, no way to reach out -no way to get a word out.

At that moment of panic, a warm coat fell over my shoulders.  A woman sat next to me with a smile on her face and talked to me about her kids, her own coat at home, and the program going on below.

You know the difference between knowing and understanding?  Like knowing you're a child of God and then finally UNDERSTANDING it?  It's a totally different kind of education.
For three years before Danny's disclosure, I knew about addiction.  I studied it and became well-versed.
Broken brain
Frontal lobe
Can't choose
No agency
Can't connect

And then Danny's disclosure came, and everything I KNEW... I finally UNDERSTOOD.  I finally UNDERSTAND.  And the pain I felt before is rearing it's ugly head at a new awfully painful level.  I could tell people what I was going through before... I could even kind of feel it.  But now.  Now I can't even tell people what I'm going through because there's hardly an English word out there that sums it up.  Except maybe "bloody." 

My past has been taken, my youth taken advantage of and tossed aside, my trust has been priced worthless, and my love never fought for, though still I gave, gave, gave, hoping to be enough someday -hoping to earn it.

Yesterday I sat with Danny in an online group session, and we were given a big presentation on the basics of sexual addiction.  It was nothing new... in fact, I'd seen an almost identical presentation given by Brannon only months before at The Togetherness Conference.  But hearing it all post-disclosure brought emotion raging back with power and force.

My soul is aching for me to freak out.
It's the Red Pain.  It's back.

When I take things on my own shoulders, I feel exposed and helpless... left to my own designs to figure things out, forgetting that IF I DO FREAK OUT I will feel better, and I will feel warm -as warm as a coat given by a friend when I'm in my most vulnerable and exposed state  -and less alone.
Because then I can HEAR the pain, free the pain, and send it off in a great big balloon to heaven where my Savior will take it.

Only He understands The Red Pain.


  1. I know how you feel. And I'm sorry too!

  2. You are an amazing writer. This post brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry you are in so much pain. I am praying for you.

  3. You are beautiful and so articulate. I wish you didn't hurt so much. It is beautiful to me that you are able to write and share your feelings, your past, your faith and your hope here. I know it is helping others to find peace and comfort in feeling less alone. ♡

  4. Hugs. Wish I could offer you a coat right now.

  5. I just linked this post to my blog. You are wonderful, and I am sorry and I hurt too.