How can I describe the feeling of being fragmented to people who have always felt whole? Perhaps none of us feel completely whole. Perhaps we all feel that we have lost a part of ourselves along the way.
As a victim of violence, incest, and rape it took a while for me to become truly lost. My survival instincts were strong. But, over time, the damage inflicted upon me pushed me further away from myself, until I found that I was drowning in a sea of alcoholism and despair, staring at a stranger in the mirror.
It’s as if I had been a beautiful, vibrantly colored stained-glass vase, and my perpetrators a chisel. Each punch, each belt lashing, each touch of violation, tapped a crack in the delicate glass of Light and innocence until, finally, it shattered into a thousand tiny shards. Their razor-sharp edges cut deep wounds into my psyche, my soul. It has been and continues to be, my journey to piece these shards back together.
My vibrant colors, layered with decades of shame, guilt, and self-loathing, don’t shine as brightly as they had before the trauma began. Part of my work toward healing is to uncover the beauty and brilliance that lies beneath these layers. I don’t know if I will ever completely heal, for the tremendous effort required to adhere the shards to one another will always be a reminder of my brokenness.
Fragmentation has kept me from knowing my true self. It has kept me from realizing my full potential as a psychologically, physically, socially, and emotionally healthy human being. To feel fragmented is to feel like the best parts of myself are out of reach. I have only shadowed memories of what it was like to feel joy, to feel love, to feel safe, and to feel the freedom of exploring the world without fear.
I hope that one day I will be able to look in the mirror and see the essence of who I once was before the damage was done. For now, I will simply continue my quest to realize my full potential and strive to feel whole again.