Possible Trigger Warning.
They had done it again. Blamed her, accused her, criticized her, devalued her. “Same old labels just slightly different words”, she thought to herself, “still hurts just as much though.”
All they see is a motionless target. Still, silent, lifeless, emotionless almost.
But of course she isn’t.
With the eyes of her mind and through the tears of too many bitter memories she looks down at herself and sees a small girl naked, cold, alone and ashamed. Naked except for the myriads of labels that cover her. Bitter, unfair, shameful, unjust labels.
How much she wants to rip them all off and thrown them back in their faces. For if she did indeed dare to rip them all off and throw them back in their faces what would she be left with? Who would she be?
And besides, wouldn’t they then see all the scars and marks that she etches onto her own skin in response to the labels that they unfairly apply?
So she stands, just staring and seemingly not moving. Well outwardly at least.
Yes, outwardly she does nothing but stare. Inwardly however she takes their labels, their vile labels and goes to the storeroom, a cupboard, somewhere between her heart and her head, and unlocks it.
Reaching up to the top shelf she pulls down an old suitcase. It is large and battered and overstuffed.
Overstuffed from years and years of baggage.
So overstuffed in fact that she has had to tie it shut with a leather strap.
The same leather strap that her father used on her all those years ago when she was young enough for him to bully and control.
With shaking fingers and nervous mind she unbuckles the strap and quickly pounces on the lid with one hand before the overstuffed suitcase burst open.
With her other hand she carefully collects all of the most recent and hurtful labels thrown at her and then deftly. skillfully, quickly opens the lids stuffs them in and closes it, jumping on it to force it closed.
Once again with he drags the strap across the case and pulls with all her might until finally she can get it to buckle tight once more.
Nervous and afraid, weak and wounded, she lifts the huge old overstuffed suitcase once more high onto the shelf and then slowly closes the door pausing just before it seals shut.
“It’s going to burst open!” Her mind tells her. “It’s too full! There’s too many labels in there! One day it is going to burst open!”
“But what do I do?” She asks the silence. “What do I do with all their labels?”
Dedicated to S. and to all those of us for whom this rings true.
I pray that one day you will be able to trust enough to let someone open that cupboard, take down that suitcase, remove that strap, open it and sit with you, and go through those labels one by one.
And that together in love and safety you will be able to destroy them and to see that none of them are real, or deserved, or helpful and that one day you will indeed be free from them all.