I spent the last two hours dancing with Ava.
It started like any other one of her who-knows-how-many-hours-long-screaming-sessions… She was starting to get worked up. She was tightening, shrieking, turning red, screaming so loud her voice would disappear mid-scream… Lately, when she goes into this fits, I feel all sorts of things. I feel so much negativity when she starts these fits… So much that sometimes I feel like I can’t think. Sometimes I step out on the porch, just for a reprieve from the ear-splitting screams.
Dread. Fear. Anger. Frustration. Helplessness.
But this time, I just looked at her. I had set her down, feeling the tenseness creeping up into my own arms. The tenseness resulting from frustration. The kind of frustration that makes you want to scream. So I had set her down in a blanket, but this time, I just looked at her. Her little face was cherry red, crocodile tears spilling out of each eye, her hands shaking, her fingers grasping, reaching for who-knows-what. Her heart was broken, her world was ending, she was alone, and worst of all, she didn’t know why she felt the way she did. All she knew, was that those feelings were there and there was nothing she could do to stop them. And then I realized…
She’s just like me.
Her heart is broken and she doesn’t know why. She knows what she needs, but she doesn’t know how to ask for it, and she can’t put a name to it. Even though there’s someone right there she feels alone. Utterly and terribly alone. If she can’t see me, even for a split second, that aloneness turns into abandonment and desolation. Her heart is breaking and her body is reacting. She can’t help the tears. What started as something small, maybe even something minute and now obsolete, has now escalated into hopelessness and despair. That feeling is so overwhelming, so gut-wrenching, so awful, she shakes and sobs and cries out of desperation, out of longing for something, and finally out of defeat.
We’re feeling the same things. Though, we’re feeling those things for different reasons I’m sure, those deep, rooted emotions, and the literal feeling those emotions provoke… They are one in the same. She cries out, hoping for someone to save her, someone to rescue her from the overwhelming emotional turmoil, someone to help her. For her, there’s hope. For her, she believes and hopes that someone is there for her. Someone loves her and cares and will make it all better. I’ve been conditioned not to. When I cried out, I was often met with hostility, contempt, ridicule and amusement. Crying out was the Achille’s heel; nothing more than exposing my weakest point, offering myself up for humiliation and degradation.
It was at this moment, seeing her like this, that I realized how alike the two of us are. It was at this moment, seeing her in this light, seeing myself in this light, that I realize how damaging the way I was treated was to my future relationships. I realize how that treatment has affected me even now. I see how much it hurts, and I see how easy of a cycle it could be to continue.
I will never let her feel that way on my account. Regardless of why the pain is there, pain is pain, emotional, mental, physicial. She won’t be forced to internalize it out of fear of what I’ll say or do. She won’t be ridiculed and mocked for her sadness, her fear, her longing, her upset…
I just want her to have a better life than me.
So I picked her up. I held her close, and the two of us dance. We danced. I rubbed her hair, put my cheek to hers, and sung softly in her ear. I was there for her, and that won’t ever change. I held her like that for nearly two hours. My homework could wait. The cleaning could wait. Sleeping could wait. She needed me, and I wasn’t going to let her down.
Just her and I.
Honey and the moon.