In the Venn diagram which makes up ME I know three parts.
One is the traumatized betrayed child who huddles within my psyche. I—the part of I that dominates my existence—cannot reach child-me. Nor can child-me reach I. Child-me hears my thoughts when I try to reach that part of me, but rarely responds.
One is unknown to me. Unkown-me lurks in the shadows of my mind, whispering horror and hate. It is the part of me that is driven by a despair and seeks self immolation and dissolution.
And the last is I, the part that is the dominant part of myself, my psyche, the part that I think of as me.
These three and perhaps others I have not yet recognized create the ego-system which is Jessica. (Will I ever really think of myself as Jess? It is the name I have taken on, intend to make mine legally as well as practically. But Jessica is still name that comes to me in moments like these.) I am multitudes within my solitude.
The part of me which dominates this ego-system is the part that is driven to live and heal—though for a long time I did not believe life and healing were possible. For years I would only say that I could not give up. And so I fought on, even when I believed no success was possible.
Though I didn’t realize it, for a long time my greatest fight was with myself. The unknown that seeks destruction and dissolution warred with this part of myself that sought life and healing. It is, I believe, no virtue within me that tipped the scales in favor of I, only luck and chance that put the people who made healing possible in my path. If I possess a virtue that contributed to my survival it is only this:
I am stubborn. And shown a possible path out of utter defeat I walked it even if I had to walk at a crawl.
But the unknown I was (is) stubborn too, and very often I found that I had unknowingly sabotaged myself as my two parts warred inside me.
Sometime in the last decade—I could not clearly point to when, this part of me firmly gained the upper hand. The unknown within me is not defeated—unknown-me fights on. But unknown-me no longer has power. Unknown-me fights a losing battle.
Perhaps, unknown to I, I have had an ally in this battle. Today, unknown-me managed to win a small victory of sorts, undercutting my ability to function until I gave up on getting anything done today. I still often have days when I can’t get anything done, but they are most often do to autistic overload, or (until I started getting treated for B12 deficiency a few weeks ago) physical exhaustion. It is rare today that I am unable to function due to self-sabotague.
I went for a walk and spent some time examining what went on within my mind. I fought with unknown-me while I (A fourth I?) watched and analyzed. And at some point I stepped back from warring with myself and asked myself “where is the child?”
It has been… to long since I sought out my child self. Years ago, realizing I could not reach that part of myself, I stopped trying, instead focusing on those areas where I could make progress.
But today I sought my childself. Child me remained as I remembered me, unreachable, endlessly crying. But today, when I talked to child-me, when I asked myself what I might do that would help, that would heal, that would free myself, for the first time, child-me had an answer.
Don’t stop, I told myself. Whispered through my tears and pain and grief. Don’t stop.
Myself couldn’t touch my childself. I could not hold me or comfort or aid.
But if I can claim one virtue, it is stubbornness.
No, I promised myself, I won’t.
One day, I will find a way to free my child-self, heal my unknown broken self, perhaps (dare I hope?) to reintegrate my ego-system into one self again.
But until that day, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other.