My younger self doesn’t get it. Because from a very young age, all dental work I had experienced was done without any pain relief. Maybe they haven’t invented pain relief back then. Maybe it hasn’t reached Azerbaijan yet. Whatever the reason, pain relief was not available when my teeth were drilled and nerves were removed on a regular basis.
The worst thing was this: I was not allowed to even squeak. If I cried, I was told off. To cope, I pushed the pain away. My knuckles were white and my hands ached from squeezing the handles of a seat. I disassociated, shut down, numbed out. With time, I became pretty good at it. A little too good…
I’ve been bracing myself for days in anticipation of pain, the pain which may not be there. What I am discovering though that all that unexpressed pain, tears and anger are still here.
Not feeling something does not make our emotional pain disappear.
Now that I am relatively safe and the horror of that dental work is behind me, my feelings are here, demanding my undivided attention.
So, in the spirit of this month’s theme, I am sending compassion to my younger self:
- I am sorry you had to go through that pain.
- I am sorry adults did not understand your feelings.
- I am sorry they were not gentle enough with you.
- I am sorry you had to push the pain away.
- I am sorry you couldn’t feel your pain back then.
- I am sorry all this pain and terror were stored in your cells.
- I am sorry you didn’t have enough support.
Sometimes, all our younger selves need is to be seen and to be heard, across the years, stored pain and unshed tears. The next time you notice an old hurt is getting triggered, send your younger self some compassion. It will not change the past, but it might help to melt that old pain away.