......there was a little girl who got left behind by the person who was most important in her life.

As she grew, the dream which consumed her was to feel close to him again... she longed in deep pain for the security she once felt in her daddy's arms.  She wanted him to say it wasn't her he was leaving by walking away.  She did not have skills to soothe herself when he became a voice over thousands of miles, no longer arms to embrace and cheer.  

He moved closer, but the vast distance was never lessened.

Her sadness became a shadow which walked in her shoes with her.  The shadow told her lies she didn't want to believe, but refuting them was shouting into a vast tunnel of wind. 'You're not lovable,' the shadow wind howled.' 'I'm a precious child of God!' the girl screamed into the storm, and the wind cackled.  She repeated her assertion under her breath nearly constantly, her words did not feel true, and the mocking wind seemed endless and powerful and sure.  She didn't exactly believe the wind, but her own words rang hollow to her ears.

As she grew, she still felt small, and the shadow wind moved inside of her.  The shadow's truths did not feel true, but she had little strength to contradict.  In time, the shadow's words became as good as true because she failed to find a way back to the connection which had once given life to her soul.  If she was unworthy of love, it hardly seemed possible to love herself.  Force it as she might, it never felt genuine.  She hardly felt real. Try as she might to be real, it never felt true.

She thought for sure that the shadow would get bored and leave if she ignored it.  She was wrong.  It was far more tenacious than she.

In time, there were repeated events not of her own making (or, so she hopes), where her life became as precarious as it always felt.  So nearly gone once and again and again, never quite sure why she was scooped back into life.  Perhaps for some, life gets sweeter through such experience, but for her, it just became more confusing and difficult.  A song she'd sung over and over again with the radio had a line which one day stood out for her, 'and you bleed just to know you're alive.'  There had been so much blood leaked and replaced - was that why?  And what if even bleeding didn't help her know and feel alive?  

She wrestled for several years, allowing herself to feel the pain within, hoping that by not ignoring the shadow inside that she could make peace, and that it would relax its hold on her.  They got to be on a first-name basis, but it wasn't gone and it rarely took holidays away from her.

At some point, she got a notion that maybe if her beloved father could see some of the pain that she'd feel less invisible, more real.  But he confused that for her trying to blame him.  So now she was doubly un-seen.  Unseen in what had always been invisible and also misunderstood for her plea for him to help her learn to love herself and feel real.

She was asked to stop and she did.

Seven going on thirty, they used to say.  Now it hardly seems possible that she's nearing fifty and is still fundamentally not more than seven in her heart, trapped in a time and a loss she cannot escape.

A moment came when it was clear that all the healing that was ever to be with him had already transpired, and she came to understand that they were not equally important to one another, and honestly must have never been.  Some of the sting of the pain softened with that insight.  She had enough adult in her to understand that things aren't always as we'd prefer.

By now, the shadow has become more real to her, in some ways more real than she is to herself.  In looking for love, she's continually found more shadows, always replicating the severed connection... So many guises but all the same story elements.  Always, she is not held as precious as she holds her beloved.  Always there is nothing to be done but shrug and move on.  She keeps telling herself there's a way to break this pattern, to free herself.  Perhaps it is yet to come by Grace.

Originally posted to MsGrin on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Positive Intention and Lovingkindness, and Community Spotlight.

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