December 08, 2002
"But what is real?" By Liz Smith

I wrote the following piece about eight years ago when I wasn't long in
counselling.I was at the stage, which I am sure many people can identify with, where having not been able to cry for years, I had started to cry and thought I
was never going to be able to stop.

The Ronan referred to in it is my nephew who was a baby at the time and is
now nine years old.

I feel it is particularly relevant at the moment because I am working
towards sharing my story with some of my family and can really see how far I
have come since I wrote this.

I feel that if I can, through painting or talking, get in touch with whats inside of me, what will happen will be the most REAL, if not the only REAL thing to happen to me since the abuse itself.

But what is REAL?

When Ronan cries tears, it feels REAL, because I know it touches me.
When any of the children cry, it feels REAL.
When the boy from Bosnia cried on the television, it felt REAL.
What of the fly-covered boy from Somalia? He didnít cry so was he REAL?
Is crying the only thing that can make something REAL?

What about crying itself? Is it REAL?

Is my abuser REAL? Did he make me cry? He makes me cry now and that is just a memory. Is it a REAL memory? Does the fact that it can make me cry make it a REAL memory if the event itself wasnít REAL?

I wish I could remember if he made me cry. Then Iíd be sure that it was REAL. Everything since seems not to have been REAL and that only makes sense if the event itself was REAL. When I know, REALLY know that that was REAL, then and only then can moving forward become REAL.

Can I possibly have lived all or most of my life outside of myself? It appears as if it all happened about six inches outside my head and although it was so near, I couldnít reach it and had no control over it. But people only saw what was happening six inches from my head. Nobody saw ME. Nobody looked for me. I was so lost but nobody noticed that I was missing.

Sometimes now I feel like curling up with my head on a cushion and my thumb in my mouth. But I donít, because what I would need would be someone to come along and tell me it is all ok, and nobody would come because nobody knows. I canít even tell myself that it is all ok because I am not sure that it is. But sometimes I get so tired trying to find an ok place to be, not even knowing if I am going to REALLY be there or if I am still going to be six inches from my head.

To speak of my moving from the Black Hole to a Sunny Place, with no need of a monument to the happenings in, or the time spent in the Black Hole, what am I saying? All that is associated with the Black Hole is ugly, depraved and disgusting and I hate it. If, somehow I am to take it out and show it and share it, wonít whoever I show it to or share it with see just how awful it is and wonít they hate it as well? And because this is essentially me and I hate the ugliness, depravity and disgustingness of it, donít I therefore hate the ugliness, depravity and disgustingness of ME, and wonít whoever I show it to or share it with hate me as well and be right to do so because all they have ever seen before is what has always been happening six inches outside my head.

They might SEE the hurt but they wonít KNOW the pain. I donít know how to tell them, because in order to do that, I have to allow it all to be closer and nearer than six inches from my head. I have to find some way of making it Really Real.

Posted by paul at December 08, 2002 07:55 PM

Dear Liz, what a wonderful piece, its was just as if you were talking about me as if you knew what i wanted to say and have been saying to myself but you managed to put it so clear. thanks

Posted by: Ti on December 8, 2002 08:07 PM

God Liz you certainly got it in one right there. That's exactly how it's been for me, the six inch separation. I was sort of thinking of it like a russian doll, there but seperated.
Thanks a lot

Posted by: Paul on December 9, 2002 03:44 PM
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