Overcoming a Dementor when you don’t have a reasonable Patronus charm in your bag of tricks

I had to face something disturbing about myself today: I tell lies.
He calls them “small half truths” and I receive that as a kindness which I know I don’t deserve. And I realize that I have been fashioning the truth for years. I could accept it as creative licence for rewriting a reality I don’t accept but that doesn’t feel like it comes close enough to what I owe to make redress.

Maybe it was just a defence that I got too comfortable with. I can know how dirty, tragic, vulnerable I am, but if I let him see it too then I’ll be lost. I need his good opinion of me so badly. But why didn’t I trust that I could be real and he would still accept me? In the moment of not-trusting, the fear became a self-fulfilling thing. And so the real crime here was my own doubt…. doubt that I AM a good person. It’s my fault. I behaved badly, damaged his opinion of me… caused him harm, even.  I don’t know.

I write this much and walk away for a few hours.
Put the kettle on.
That’s how I work lately.
There is so much I’m processing that I can’t get perspective on it.
I try reading poetry or erotica here – stuff that I used to love a few weeks ago – but the words won’t line up coherently and make any sense in my brain.
Some words jump out at me. That’s as good as it gets. I force my eyes to track along the lines but the sound of my voice in my head reading the words is gone. All I can hear is that extended beeeeeeeep that the TV used to make when the programmes finished late at night. I used to like that time: switch off. Enforced single-pointed focus. The time when you knew that the best option was to go to bed, maybe read a book, but you’d be asleep with it on your chest within half an hour. Now I have the option for constant communication with someone in the world somewhere at any time and the circle of people I care about is truly global. It’s eating my neural pathways and turning me into a goldfish.

Whilst hopping around and wondering where this journal entry is going, I read this:

Growing up I didn’t have the luxury of venting, saying negative things I didn’t mean. I couldn’t just say something and take it back later. Being angry wouldn’t have been an excuse. I was angry for decades, and I still had to watch what I said… {A World Where People Don’t Say What They Mean }

My childhood was like that too. You learned to be careful about what you said. Anything you said might be used against you later in anger, twisted around to hurt you by a parent that couldn’t deal with their own emotional lability. Only one person in my household was allowed to vent. And she was also the one that always had to remain blameless, whose virtue and glory we all tried to uphold for the sake of world peace.

But it got me back to thinking about my small half truths.
My mother was like a highly trained sniffer dog, hunting out your little gems of joy and nuggets of experience; a kind of Dementor, only one that couldn’t be deflected by a Patronus charm or thinking happy thoughts. I learned to hide my truths and gems and nuggets of life in places where she couldn’t find them. And you had to hide the trail too, so that her suspicions weren’t aroused. Put the little shiny thing in a sealed container, inside a locked box, in a dark corner of an abandoned room in the furthest reaches of your heart-palace. Brush over your tracks on the way out and wait until you were fully and safely and properly alone before returning and taking the precious treasure out to turn it over lovingly in your hands. This usually took place at night, when I felt safest to travel there. I would stay there for as long as possible and enjoy the silence and the space. The being alone-ness. Then creep back into my human shell before dawn for some deeper sleep before waking up in the Mad World once again: the world of walking on eggshells around this crazy woman that could go off at any time.

And here I find myself, wondering why, despite everything he and I have said about honesty, I’m still covering my tracks and hiding small half truths in places that I hope he won’t find them.

 

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