“So, what if I have?” Sharon replied defensively. Not absolutely certain what Jane was referring but fairly sure she knew what it was.
“It isn’t good for you, you know that don’t you?” Claire continued, concerned for her friend.
“You just don’t understand.” Sharon replied angrily.
“Maybe not,” Claire agreed, “but I would like to.”
“Why?” Sharon asked defensively. “So you can convince me to get rid of it?”
“But I care for you.” The compassion and love in Claire’s tone were obvious, as was her intent. “And I don’t like to see you hurting yourself.”
“I am not hurting myself.” Sharon countered, “and I never asked for this! It was forced on me!” Her words trailed off as her thoughts took over for a moment. “And anyway perhaps I deserved it.” Her thoughts found voice.
“Really? Did you really deserve it? Still deserve it? Still have to continue paying for it?” Claire asked, reaching out and grabbing her friend’s hands and looking her in the eyes.
“I had no choice.” Sharon told her, pulling her hands away and turning her head so as to break her friend’s stare.
“No, maybe you didn’t.” Claire agreed but with pan. “But you do now.” She added deliberately.
“What am I supposed to do?” Sharon challenged. “Just give it up, forget it was ever forced on me? Ignore all that is has cost me?”
“So what?” Claire continued to challenge. “You are just going to go on holding on to it?” She searched her friend’s thoughts. “Simply holding on to it? Being hurt by it and continually paying for it? Day after day, week after week, nightmare after nightmare?”
“What choice do I have?” Sharon asked, as the tears formed in her eyes. “If I let go of it all I will have waisted everything I have paid so far.”
“But if you keep holding on to it you will keep on paying and you know it. Is it really worth it?” Sharon asked challengingly.
“But what if I really did deserve it and what about everything I have already paid? What about how much it has already cost me?” Karen asked. “Do I just write that all off? Forget about it all? As if it was all for nothing? Forget I ever paid for it? That I ever owned it?”
“Oh Honey,” Claire gasped as she grabbed her friend’s hands and with tears in her own eyes looked deep into the eyes of the friend she loved so much. The friend she knew was still hurting so very badly.
“Can’t you see? You have never owned it, it has always owned you and will continue to do so until you let it go.”
It’s a simple little story really isn’t it? Short, interesting, true to life. Something which a lot of us can relate to.
The fact is that it is not so simple a little story after all. It is in fact a conversation about a life of complex, deep-rooted, harmful pain. The results of years of poor communication, bad messages, harmful words and resultant corrupted and unhealthy self-image.
And the most tragic part of it all is that too many of us can relate to it because too many of us have lived it, are still living it.
We bought into the lies and the ridicule, the accusations and the negative criticisms, the rejection or misuse or abuse. And we bought into it with such a high price and one which we keep on paying “day after day, week after week, nightmare after nightmare“.
Repeatedly convincing ourselves that perhaps we “deserved it“.
Doing so because: when external voices are repeated often enough or by enough people they become our own internal voices.
Doing so because: we have to convince ourselves repeatedly as a result of the fact that somewhere deep down inside we doubt it’s validity and thus keep on arguing with ourselves.
Doing so because: to question whether we did really deserve it might put us in a position where we would have to question or be critical of those we love and trust despite the fact that they were the loudest of those external voices.
Doing so because: “if we really didn’t deserve it, if we are really not that person, then who am we?”
Doing so because: “we have paid so much for it already.”
Doing so because: “We haven’t yet realized that we don’t own it. It owns us!”