Peeling an Onion

It may be a trite analogy, but healing is a bit like peeling an onion.

You heal one wound and then you discover something else hiding underneath.

We all have bruises. Or think of them as snapshots. You were going along in life, and a traumatic event happens. It doesn’t have to be a certifiable tragedy, it could be as little as one casual sentence. Whatever it is, it created strong feelings that you couldn’t fully process then. That young person, a snapshot of you at the time, got stored at that point. And s/he will wait until you return to hear her/him out.

I was feeling lethargic one day, for no apparent reason. When I woke up the next morning and realized that I still felt it, I chose to investigate. When I wake up is an ideal time for me, because the concerns and stimulations of the day haven’t entered my mind yet.

So it was lethargy all right. It felt like powerlessness. I could envision a little Ari, about 10 years old, sulking. He said that it’s useless to try. Nothing was going to make a difference.

I took on my mother’s voice and asked him what was wrong. He told me about how he wanted to escape but he couldn’t, and that he should fight back but he couldn’t, either. And nobody was going to help him. He didn’t want to go to school but he was made to go. He was mad at me for making him go where he was uncomfortable, when what he wanted was to feel protected.

So I apologized and told him that I was wrong. I thought that he shouldn’t run away, that he should toughen up and become able to stand up to the world. But he was right, it was not fair to force him to take on too big of a challenge.

The tears burst out.

The important part isn’t to figure out exactly why your inner child feels that way s/he does. You just have to listen to the stories s/he tells you. And tell them what they want to hear. That they are heard and understood. That what they are feeling is valid and reasonable.

I don’t know if he is ready to grow up now, or if he needs more time being acknowledged. But I’ve done it enough to know how this goes. I dug through many such layers. Beliefs like “I’m not beautiful enough to look at,” “it’s dangerous to be seen having fun,” and “I have to prove that I am worthy of love and attention.”

Who knows if I’ll ever be done, and that’s not the point. Every layer I go through, the less upset and bothered I get at life. And these insights help me understand and help those around me. Many are struggling with deep, grave wounds. My heart breaks to learn of their plights. But me being stuck and suffering doesn’t help anyone. If I move along with my own healing, perhaps I can be some sort of an example, an inspiration to work on their healing.