Growing up · healing · Mental Health · therapy

Behind this Door there be Dragons

insectoid_by_jared1481-d349gvsDearest Stephanie. I have long thought that you should have a sign on your door saying: Behind here there be DRAGONS!!

However, though there are dragons, I am learning that they are not a creation of yours but that I brought them in with me – all lumpy and foul-looking with wicked teeth and breath that could kill (not to mention the fire breathing from their mouths.) Bit by bit you are helping me drag them out into the light of day, look at them and say … what? Would that I could simply yell at them with some silly phrase “DRAGON’S DREAD GO BACK TO BED” and watch them blink and sniff and slink away. But, sadly, that is not the way it happens. What actually happens is that I look at the huge, stinky, fire-breathing monstrosities and believe to the depths of my soul that not only are they beautiful but that they are MINE, MINE, MINE and I want to keep them. They are, after all, all I have known.

But slowly, session after session, phone call after phone call, you are helping me to see. At first, all that was there was the faintest possibility … the wavering, shimmering image … of something else. Slowly the biggest and most monstrous of all the dragons morphed into something I could see in all its foulness and yet, was still the hardest to banish, the most tenacious.

Gradually, however, the dragons have become smaller or at least somewhat more manageable. They still pop up in different times and places (kind of like rabbits, you know, plug one hole they find another one). The brain and the emotional self has many hiding places. But at least these dragon/rabbits are becoming a conscious choice of mine rather than the unthinking acceptance of before.

There were times when I felt pushed by you so that it seemed there was no centre to my world anymore. There were many more times when my love for you filled me until all I could do is hold onto it. I love you. I hate you. How hard is that? It is, I am finding out, the hardest thing of all.

I want to be held by you. I want to relax into your strength and let you push those nasty dragons away. But I am learning that there is no way to truly get rid of the beasts except by standing up to them, looking over each one, seeing them truly, warts, foul smell and all, and then, finally, choosing to send them away. Choosing to send them away. My god, five tiny words that describe nothing of the pain, terror, tears and (yes) laughter, that making that choice involves.

I owe a debt to you far greater than the pecuniary details our relationship had to navigate. When all is said and done I owe to you my awake and aware self, a self that allows me to decide and choose for myself rather than for the “others” I was tied to all my life.

*Image credit to:

*some slight resemblance to the language in Sheree Fitch’s awesome picture book “Sleeping Dragons All Around” should be noted. 🙂 It was intentional!


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