I wanted to thank you for showing me shame. Shame has been like the evil smoke monster on Lost for me. I know it exists. I can hear it and feel it's impact.... I can even see it when it visits, but I don't know how to react-- approach it, run away, or succumb... It took me seeing it in you; reading it over and over; hearing it over and over in such a blatant way, that it took form. It was no longer this obscure smoke monster. It was concrete and visible. I could see that 12 year old you-- the one your father told wasn't good enough and would never be good enough... She was so hurt by those words and accusations. She transformed that message (which was fucked up enough) to say-- you are not good enough. You are bad. You are that. And that 12 year old (or 5 year old or 8 year old) brought that message forward, slowly working it like clay into the shame it has become... And I wanted to tell you today, 2 years ago, and all those moments in between, that you are good enough. I wanted you to know that I always saw you as good enough. I always saw those amazing qualities you possess. I wish you too could see that you are intelligent and kind and thoughtful. I wish you could see that I see that. But as before, words failed me and this shame stepped in to block any kind message coming your way.
I wanted to thank you for your kindness when I got flooded. I have never had someone react to that with kind groundedness. You simply saw that it wasn't about you, which allowed me to-- fast forward a few months-- extend that kindness back to you, and myself.
I wanted to thank you for telling me it's not about me. We were driving in Baton Rouge 5+ years ago and you simply said "Sometimes I have to remember that it's not about me." Sometimes it feels so much like it must be... and not in that "you are so fucking selfish" shame-filled way... In the way that it does impact me. It does effect or affect me (I can never remember the difference between those words which is 100% fitting). But, sometimes remembering those words and that conversation on some random drive in the desolate downtown red stick helps me to step back and remember that it might not be... it can still impact me in little or giant ways and not be about me.
I wanted to thank you for your patience with me 6 years ago. You stayed with me, even though I wanted to run. You stayed. You stayed. You stayed. And eventually, I got it. And for that year or 6 months or 2 years or more, I got it. I was able to step back, stop the spinning and rethink it. Now, 6 years later, when I struggle every moment of every day to stop this message from killing me, I can remember that time and those lessons. I can give myself this gift, even though I am so scared of it... I can walk forward to attempt to give myself the gift you gave me so many years ago.
I wanted to thank you for your anger. I know that's why you haven't slipped. I remember sitting on lunch at a training ride in January. I spoke too personally with that woman and she said "well, at least one of you will save each other from each other." We weren't talking about you, but it applies now too. Your anger makes it so fucking crystal. The exaggerations and hyperbole, though completely unintended, literally save me every time.... in the proper use of literally.
I wanted to thank you for telling me that what I did helped, even though I didn't feel like it did and actually still struggle with thinking it hurt. If we never spoke again I would always cherish you for that message.
I wanted to thank you for the closure, for all the kindness, for all the meanness, for all the apathy, for all the compassion, and for all the joy.... Because today I realized that it has contributed to who I am right now for good and for worse.... It is not who I am... and I can't possibly thank you enough for that lesson.