I have struggled with this post all day. And even part of last night. There are two issues - how do I link the topic of being 'known' to the theme of advent, and how do I write about the experience of being known when I'm feeling so not-that.
At a girls' pyjama party tonight I mention my dilemma and someone said two things - 'what do you mean by known' and 'the day isn't over yet.' Solid points, both of them.
1. When I say being known, I mean being really gotten, understood and heard by someone. I mean having someone see, acknowledge, and accept me, warts and all. I had a small moment of that experience last night on a date - L'Homme figured that in my past people had said things about my appearance that still stung, and that I couldn't hold that against him. He was right on both counts, and in him saying that, I saw something about myself that I'd never seen before. But that insight didn't leave me with the experience of being known because I didn't feel like it's okay that those earlier hurts still sting. I know the value of true empathy, and I cherish it.
2. In a room full of amazing women at tonight's party, women who really have heard my stories, who have been with me through ups and downs, and who have shared their ups and downs with me, I could have felt like being 100% myself would be okay. But for some reason I didn't get there.
In my Master's thesis of oh-so-long ago, I argued that an integral part of someone integrating a trauma into their identity and moving forward from that moment instead of being stuck in psychic limbo is the experience of being heard and believed. And for me that just hasn't been there this weekend. All of the people I've mentioned care about me in their way. But never have I felt like it's 100% okay for me to just be, warts and all. Maybe that's my fault. Maybe I don't let people see me clearly enough. But the yearning is still there.
I'm tired now, and even writing this post feels like a Herculean task. To try and make the leap from 'Known/Unknown' to 'Advent/Christmas' feels nigh on impossible. And so for tonight I will leave you with this, the ultimate Christmas acceptance
'It's not bad at all, really. It just needs a little love':