Friday evening was quiet. Susan did not turn on the TV, taking the opportunity to write and sketch in her journal. She does that a lot. Occasionally, she will ask if I want to see what she has drawn, or read what she wrote. Most of the time I avoid her journals as they contain more information than I want to know about her abuse.
This time she asked if I wanted to see some of her sketches. I agreed. This time her sketches were of herself and her “associates.” This I can handle as they are in small ways, as real to me as they are to her. As she flipped through the pages, she came to one and said to the effect it was one that I would prefer not to see. I appreciate that she respected the boundary I’ve set when it comes to her graphic drawings.
I had just settled in on our couch when she said, “Would you like to color?” I agreed to the activity. She went to get her coloring books, crayons, and colored pencils from the stash of children’s toys we keep for her littles and sat on the floor to have some fun. Once we got going, I asked who I was with.
“I’m Elizabeth!”, came the cheery reply. I said hello, and as I always do when I know someone is out, explain to them that I don’t always know who is presenting themselves.
Elizabeth is the person I would say presents themselves to me and I know it’s not Susan. She is the one that asks to go out for ice cream. She is lighthearted and possibly represents the child-like innocence that sadly gets squeezed out of us by the process of growing up. We don’t have endure abuse and assault to lose the wonder within a child. She must feel safe around me. I know there are others inside of her that feeling toward me are described as fearful, distrustful, and loathing. The problem is they don’t show themselves often or if they do, it’s only briefly. They could be directing Susan from just below the surface. It’s all so damn confusing. Who the hell is the real Susan anyway? What parts of her will go away when she works with them and the memories they hold?, assuming they will go away or at least recede toward the horizon. What if what the true parts of Susan are the ones that dislike and distrust men? There is at least one part of her that sees me as an abuser. Will she ever see me as someone else?
We sat on the floor coloring with crayons for an hour. My legs started to fall asleep. Then I got what I called a “dead end”, that feeling you get in your ass when you’ve been sitting in an odd position for too long. After Elizabeth and I finished a couple of drawings, we decided that it was time for something else. That night I felt good that I could be of some help for Susan, and angry over why I had to do such a thing.