October 17, 2023

Why do you wake?

I wish I could speak to the little girl I used to be. She had blue eyes that ate half her face and look perpetually worried or scared in photographs. She wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to sleep on her parent’s carpet. Not their bed. She doesn’t trust them enough for the vulnerability it would take to climb in between them. Not that they’re bad parents. They do their best with what they’ve got.

When her mom brings her back to bed and asks why she’s waking up like this over and over, my childhood self answers
I know, but I won’t tell.

Fuck I wish she had.

I don’t like kids that much these days. Don’t relate to them. Don’t want them. Maybe it’s all connected. Because I don’t understand my childhood self, because girlhood felt like a war zone to me, I can’t fathom enlisting anyone else.

But her… her I would love.
Gosh I wish I could go back and love her.

I have this image in my mind of her and me. I kneel down to her level and she looks at me with such angst. My brows are furrowed and I make an effort of softening them. I don’t want to add to her worry. I won’t tell her it’s all going to be ok, I’m not going to lie about the shit show that life is, even from our privileged position.

In my vision, I slowly reach out a hand and she scuttles backward like a stray, but I smile, and I wait, and eventually she lets me hug her. I feel her tiny shoulders sag and her eyes water and I pick at the barbed wire around her heart until my hands are shredded.

I’ll take the pain, though. I’ll take it all for her to go through life with a soft heart.

I only ask her one thing. The one question I still rack my brain over to this day.

What is it that you know but won’t tell?

I'm so deeply convinced her words will change my life, that it will unlock the 2908 days' worth of memories she has from before she was seven on that trip in Italy, the ones I can’t seem to access. I beg her to tell someone, anyone, the reason she wakes up in the middle of the night.

My blood-stained hands release the wire constraining her heart and I wait. I wait for her answer to give me the strength to do the same with my own.

maybe i can help :)

I am no shrink or life expert. In fact life throws me a lot of lemons. But I'm pretty good at making lemonade, being resilient and (I've been told) giving advice. So, if you need an outsider's perspective, I'm here! On love & relationships, on family issues, on work, on anything really. I'll give you my take and maybe (hopefully) it'll help. 100% anonymous of course.

Thank you for reaching out! I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. If the problem persists, please reach out to hello@amjane.be