I’m being totally unravelled.
Its taken a little while to come to that realisation. But I have.
I’ve yet to fully work out exactly why and for what purpose, but I’ve just recognised its what is happening.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago. After I totally broke down, in the middle of the corridor at work. Its what I’m calling my ‘meltdown Tuesday’ day. (Thankfully I work for and with amazing people and I was able to have the time and space to spend most of the day crying, in one of the spare rooms or the office. Thats how most of my day went that day).
What set off this response, on that particular day I hear you ask? A piercing fell out. Yep. A piercing. My tragus one to be precise. One I’ve had in for many many years. When, after having had lots of piercings all over my face and in various places, I made the decision to lose a few I decided to keep some, and this was one of those that remained. And I discovered, when I went to the piercer to get a replacement jewel that its so close to the edge it needs to heal and be redone at some point. Which can’t happen at the moment because my immune system is not working properly and I’m prone to any and every infection going, so no piercings or tatts for the time being. So why was is such a big deal? Well, because as someone once said to me ‘you’re not YOU if you don’t have bright red hair and a piece of metal sticking out of you somewhere’.
Last night I could not sleep due to Salbutomol and steroid induced awakeness. At about 1am, I put on some music. I’m a music lover, and have been known to sit and sob my through something that has moved me from being so beautiful. So, this music was that kind. Deep, powerful, beautiful, calming, soothing and spine tingly music. It was also what Im calling ‘Jesus’ music. That helped me still my mind, and thoughts and focus on God. (I found this album randomly last night, via Spotify and its called ‘Spirit Sound’ by Alberto Rivera and Laura Rhinehart. I’m listening to it right now as I type actually. Worth a listen to)
As I listened to this music, and for the first time in my entire life intentionally laid, facedown, before God I felt this revelation of being unravelled coming back into my mind. The revelation and realisation of being stripped of everything I have been and am. And as I focussed on God, before God, the images of my ‘image’ flashed before my eyes.
Who I used to be. What I used to look like. Who I am and what I look like now. Pictures of the various ‘pictures’ of me over my life time. The blue hair, the pink hair, the bright red hair I’ve been known for for the last 8 years (with a black stripe, don’t forget the black stripe!). Pictures of when I was still tubby (always) but not quite as fat as I am now. Pictures of me with black makeup, full make up, long hair, curly hair, lots of piercings, less piercings. All sorts. And then images of my persona came to mind. How I acted, how I came across to people, what others saw, what I wanted others to see. Strong, confident, bold, feisty, bright, intelligent and many other words that people have used to describe me in the past. I was reminded of the ‘fragmentz’ image, and I was reminded of the ‘Helen’ who used to think nothing of, and would competently be able to stand up in front of 200+ people and talk. Lots of images came to mind. Of who I used to be, who I have been over the years, and how that has looked in character and physically. Reminded of all the former things.
And I’m reminded I am no longer many of them.
Towards the end of 2013, at the same time as making life changing decisions to do with my relationship with God, and some of the journey that has entailed (which has been quite traumatic in places) my health took a significant turn for the worse. And it has continued to go downhill. Life has had to radically change. I’ve had the longest period of time I’ve ever had in my entire life off sick, and I’ve very recently had to officially cut the hours I work. I’ve had to learn to take life at a different pace. I can no longer be the person who is out every night, who does everything, and is on every team and committee and whatever else you can name. I have had to stop all of the volunteer stuff I was doing out side of work. I’ve had to cancel being at many things, many events, many get together of friends, and am fast becoming known for bailing out of stuff because I’m unwell, because in my hopefulness I’ve hoped I might have been well enough and then realised last minute I’m not.
Its tough. Really really tough. And recently the toughest thing about this being unwell thing has been the impact it has had on me and my physical identity. At the same time as going through the process of unravelling emotionally as well.
Side affects from medications have been grim. My body goes through various stages, and I’ve ballooned in weight again. I’ve gone through being puffy and swollen, to my body breaking out in random hives. I have constant pain and itching which never goes away, and at times increases to intolerable levels where I feel as though my body is eating itself. As well as this crazy immune stuff that they can’t quite get a grip on and work out yet, the Asthma reached new levels of seriousness in October when I found my self the closest to death because I was having an asthma attack than I have ever been before in my life. And I appear to be triggered by and allergic to everything and anything.
Why am I telling you this all this, well, to try and give some background as to why I was on several concoctions of toxic drugs at one point which led to my hair starting to fall out.
Is coming out.
I covered it to begin with putting it up. Then I covered it with hats. And then I had it cut. And then the other day I had it cut again. To the shortest I have ever had my hair cut. I’ve also been advised to let it go/keep it to its natural colour. Something Ive not had/seen since I was about 12. Its felt like quite a big thing. Quite a traumatic thing. And at times I’ve felt stupid for making it such a ‘thing’ because I know in the grand scheme of things perhaps its not the end of the world, but …
Why is this so important I am writing about it? Why do I care so much about hair and piercings? Why did a piercing fall out become the final straw after weeks of ‘holding it together’.
Because my hair has been part of ‘who I am’ for so long, just as my piercings have.
As I wrote above, I’m not ‘me’ without bright red hair, or without metal in my body.
Everything- absolutely everything that has happened in the last 6 months has been part of this unravelling. I’m convinced of this. And an amazing friend, who despite distance has been an amazing source of support over the last few months messaged me to share some stuff she felt I needed to hear, which matched my thinking.
And now I am in a place where I am learning to come back before God again, properly, I sense He is saying to me, ‘come before me as you, the real YOU -with no mask, none at all’. And each time I do that, each time I come before God feeling as though I have given everything I am, and totally surrendered myself to Him as I truly am, He asks for more. And each time I get to a point where I cry out to Him and say ‘I have nothing more to give you’ I’m shown that there is still more to give. He keeps wanting more and more and more of me. More to surrender. More to unravel. Through the physical and emotional pain, He wants more, of me. The real me.
Thats never been more so than right now. Each time I cry that out to Him, He shows me something else. In months gone its been my ‘character identity’ especially all that was wrapped up in Fragz. My identity as a survivor, and it has been about and still is about unravelling and working through all the issues of abuse that has left my mind and body so scarred. But in the midst of all this, I’m starting to learn that He wants me. The real me. It feels bloody. And painful.
When I’m feeling more fragile than usual I often wear make up. I can put on a mask, that lets me look into peoples eyes and not feel as ashamed as usual. I’m aware of that, and always have been. I remember the first time I felt confident enough to walk into church again, the new church I’ve been going to for 6 months, without my makeup ‘mask’ on. I don’t manage it every week, but some weeks is enough for now. But I’m aware of it. Aware of what it means and why I wear make up.
But I never realised my hair/piercings were so much a part of this, until I started to lose it/them.
But it is. I’ve realised it now.
And so I’m being unravelled. Properly, 100 %.
There is no where else to hide.
I have absolutely no idea where this unravelling is going to go next but I have a gut instinct its not yet over.