A Reservoir of Left-Over Feelings

I once felt I was an object walking around, keenly disguised as a human. A thin veneer of skin covering the hurt, pain, and sorrow that lay underneath. Now I know that I am a whole person who was objectified.

I love this feeling, this knowledge, this acceptance. It took me nine long years to get to this point and I make sure I acknowledge my hard work.  It’s a hard-earned, middle finger to my perpetrators that they couldn’t take my humanity, my person-ness from me.  Where I once had no memory of a past, I now have a congruent, truthful timeline and, even though it’s an awful truth,  it’s mine, it’s my past, and for me, it’s much better than living with blinders on. 

However, learning to live with my past has left me with a large reservoir of left-over feelings. It’s been very gratifying to have worked through all the memories and the feeling/emotions associated with the memories, but I found that there are feelings associated with living with the truth of my trauma. The feelings that can occasionally bubble up at different times are anxiety, depression, desperation, fear, numb, violated, insignificant, grief, alone, unloved, neglected, shock, pain, confusion, anger, afraid, dirty, sadness, rejected, confusion, disgust, small, loneliness, ugly, abandoned, disappointed, hopeless, betrayed.

The feelings can be more prevalent some days, especially when I get triggered and have flashbacks or the anniversary times of the year. They are there, even though I have dealt with and processed the memories. I have dealt with the traumas but these feeling are byproducts of the abuse. The feelings don’t just leave because I have talked about them, written, used art, or emoted over them. It’s okay, I have learned that feelings are time-limited and are like sets of waves, and I have learned to ride them like an expert surfer.

I  also feel lots of love, hope, happiness, contentment, support, and trust, and for that, I am grateful. It makes me smile.

I used to tell myself that if I could take a strainer and scoop out the byproduct of my past I would.  I thought scooping them away meant more room happiness, contentment, hope, and love.  Those feelings are what drives my desire to live. But then I realized that it’s important to have and feel those left over feelings. I wasn’t able to experience them the first four decades of my life. They were repressed, never to be taken out. Now I know that it is a very important part of my healing process, and they cannot be talked, or drawn away. They have to be felt.

I no longer expect that I won’t have feelings about what happened in my life. I’m much more whole, living without the denial of my past. I continue to accept that sometimes the reservoir will get stirred up and wavy, while also remembering to rest and enjoy the calm waters when the waves are still, and peaceful. I will let the byproduct of my past continue to come to the surface, knowing that eventually that feeling will spill over and float away, taken by the currents. Yet I stay firmly grounded, living with blinders off, owning my past, my truth, flying free of the silence that held me hostage. 

image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph


26 thoughts on “A Reservoir of Left-Over Feelings

  1. Alexis, it’s blog entries like this which makes it entirely easy for me to spend at least half the day just sitting and reading through the experiences of others. I’m rather fond of these entries, and as with prior entries of yours the one above is incredibly interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You A. That means a lot that you’ve resonated with what I wrote. I love when we can connect from shared experiences, that otherwise can leave us feeling alone and isolated. I know for me whenever I hear someone feels (or has felt) that same way, I exhale a huge a relief! Have a wonderful weekend! ❤️ Alexis


  3. I’m so glad I read this. Your first paragraph really blew me away as it speaks to some of my own experience. The whole post really spoke to me and I needed to read it today. Fighting against the ‘bad’ memories and feelings — the reservoir — gets me in trouble every time. Perhaps this dissociation is a habit as much as anything. And habits can be changed…..
    Your post ends on a note of hard won victory. I’m so happy for you, it’s visceral: I feel a swelling in my chest. I’m celebrating with you….
    Such fine writing too. Thank you for the hope. Sending warmth. A.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The process you’d described, is you, becoming whole again, owning ALL parts of you, the good, the bad, as well as everything that’s already past, and, all of your collective past moments is what made you into who you are, don’t ever forget that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the concept of healing and what that looks like is so very misunderstood by so many. I think there are many things that will continue to trigger us. I don’t know if they ever fully go away, especially for a lifetime of complex trauma. This was beautiful. I think we do learn how to deal better with them. Seeing myself as a surfer… at this point, learning to surf and ride the waves of trauma is a nice image… and so accurate. We are surfers! ❤ Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tamara Kulish

    I’m happy to hear that you’ve reached the point you have. You’ve cleared up a lot of misconceptions for many people. It’s easy to yearn to move past all the nasty feelings but you nailed it, telling us it’s necessary! Tough to hear, but oh so necessary!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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