The blood poured from his pointy nose down his face, cascading down his kissable lips, mingling with that regrettable soul patch. The dark red splashed in stark contrast against his broad, pale chest. He stood at the end of the bed, gathering his shirt from the floor and bringing it to his face simultaneously trying to stop the raging flow while staring at me and attempting to staunch away my fear.
I had just busted my boyfriend right in the nose. Hard.
Horrified was one way to describe how I was feeling but I was also so damn relieved that none of his roommates were home. I did not need them to think of me as a freak, well even more than I was.
He sat down, pinched his nose, and looked at me. Really looked at me. His calculating eyes roamed over my shaking body, my sweaty brow. He watched the rapid rise and fall of my chest. I pulled the cheap blue and white checkered comforter around me, trying to hide me, trying to find me, desperately searching for some semblance of safety in its folds. I felt naked and exposed. My eyes followed his as they scanned my body and eventually were drawn to my bloodied, still balled up fist.
I stayed in his bed for a few moments longer staring at the darkened, soaked pillow case, knowing I should find my pants and get out of there. But I couldn't. I wanted to apologize, I wanted to explain, I wanted to fix his face, but I just sat there.
Hot tears began to well in my eyes and I wondered if I would ever be able to be normal. If I would ever stop having night terrors? If I would ever fully trust a man? If I would be able to trust myself or others? If I would ever truly feel safe? If my boyfriend would simply ever be able to surprise me with a kiss when he joined me for bed?
The questions swirled around demanding answers and expanding taking up all the space in my head. I didn't know the answers I just knew I needed to leave. Quickly, I scanned the carpet and saw my discarded jeans and made a grab for them.
"Don't go Jenn", he quietly pleaded in a nasal voice.
Shrugging and not trusting my voice, I slowly put on my pants.
"I should know better, I shouldn't sneak up on you", he stood and returned with a dampened paper towel and wiped off his face. "See? All better. No need to go."
But there was.
I chewed my lip, biting back worries, words and my past. He knew about my night terrors, he knew about my past experiences, he knew even after all these years I was still skittish. He knew a part of me no matter how much I wanted to trust him, no matter how much I wanted to wrap myself in his arms and feel safe, I would tend to that seed a doubt that was planted long ago. I would unknowingly nourish it with fear and water it with my tears.
"You shouldn't have to worry about getting decked while kissing me on my head while I sleep", my creaking voice got out. "You shouldn't be punished for what my head cannot shake. You shouldn't have to'know better'. You shouldn't have to deal with my yelling out terrified while I'm sleeping or me not trusting you".
We sat in an overwhelming silence.
He surprised me and scared me by whispering, "But I want to".
The tears that had been threatening to fall made their treacherous escape down my cheeks. Their flow went uninterrupted for what felt like an eternity. Hot streams pent up for too many years poured out fear and resentment. They began the erosion of the wall I had put up. The wall built by pain and regret, the wall I had put up brick by brick fooling myself into believing that keeping others at bay would keep my heart safe.
"I cannot promise to keep you safe. I cannot fix your past or change your experiences or memories. I cannot promise to keep everything bad away from you. But I can promise I want to help rebuild your trust. I want to help you heal. I want to help you-when you are ready-face your demons. I can promise to be here when the world is overwhelming and scary and sit and talk with you and help you find the light when only darkness seems abundant..."
He went on for a while, but that is what I remember the most. He did not run scared. He did not get annoyed or scream at me. He was real and honest and has kept to his word for these past fourteen years.
That was not the last time I freaked out. That was not the last time he had to reassure me.
It was however, the beginning of me realizing that broken does not mean bad. Broken just means you will never be the same as you were before. Not that you cannot repair yourself or continue on your journey, just that it will be in a different way and with problems and what you learned in life to guide you.
The Japanese have a beautiful way of fixing broken pottery with lacquers mixed with gold, silver or platinum called kintsugi. Instead of hiding the cracks or devaluing the art and disposing of it, the breaks and cracks are illuminated and repaired by the bright lines. Repairing cracks with these valuable materials is choosing to find treasures in life's scars. It serves not to simply fix the art and make it pretty again, but to show that this piece had a history, maybe a broken and tumultuous history, but it persevered and survived.
Not everyone has the luxury of feeling safe. Sometimes, the years have chipped away the person's ability to trust and let down their guards to let in the good around them. They have patched their cracks with ugly shades of thick pain, regret and fear of being hurt again. The light and love cannot permeate them immediately. Eventually, it can. Light has a beautiful way if shone on something long enough, of fading and destroying it. It may take weeks, months or years but you know what?
It just means you need to have a persistent and willing light to wait and wear down their damn wall and envelop that person in an overpowering love like they never experienced before. They might buck, they might yell, they may scream, they might fight you, but I promise you, they need it. They need someone to reassure them not everyone and everything is full of darkness and danger. It is okay to bring your light no matter how many times they try to extinguish it.
You have to remember they are used to the calming, clutches of the darkness no matter how frightening it is because that is their normal. They have been taught to hide their past. They have been urged to forget the pain they endured. They have been taught there is no safe spot and no one to trust. It may be tiring, it may be torturous but you may have to keep going in the damp cavern many times until they realize your light is not meant to burn them but to help lead them on their own journey.
Sometimes those we love, our broken friends, the ones who have gone through unimaginable hells when we have only been blessed with heaven on earth need time, they need our understanding and compassion. They just need to be shown, that their past is does not need to be hidden. They do not have to forget the lessons they learned. They do not need to forget who they have been or the things they have done.
We need to show them, that their brokenness is not a safety blanket for them to clutch tight to. Their brokenness can be a beacon to themselves and others. They may not only experience good and happy things from this moment forward but we know they are survivors, that they can overcome and dominate. They can create their own safe spot.
We have to show them we embrace a damaged and broken history and still find them worthwhile and meaningful. They have to know we accept them bruised and broken, and we know that their cracks only make them stronger, more beautiful and more valuable, epecially when they allow us to illuminate those cracks by the brightness of love that we want to show them.
Today has been a Sunday Confession hosted by the prompt giving, cat cuddling, douche-bag hating, cheese eating, make up enthusiast, hilarious, the one, the only Hot Ash from More Than Cheese And Beer. Check out her blog for other brave souls who tackled the prompt safe today and don't forget to stop by her Facebook page to see confessions.