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Thimbles of Support...

Receiving support, for some of us, this does not come easy. There are so many of us in the world whose participation in relationships is for what we can give, not what we can get. I don’t know how often I felt unseen, unimportant, unvalued, unattended to, unpresent in some of the most important relationships of my life.


I never knew my inability to receive support from others was a trauma response. When I finally learned that, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Landed in that place in my gut where all truth resides. And it is lodged there, and now, every single time I do the thing, the thing where I shirk my needs for others, do the work that could and should be done by others, I realize how unsupported and unloved I truly am in some of my most intimate relationships, I feel it. And it hits hard.

Generally speaking, I am uncomfortable. And I have been more so since realizing that it is me who has attracted and kept all these people in my life who are hell bent on not seeing me, valuing me or showing up for me. It is like I have this riddle I am trying to solve, except I didn’t even know I was trying to solve it until a couple of years ago. And now, I just seem to turn it over and over in my mind, always thinking that I have made so much progress, then being brought up short when I finally see that I am doing it again. This violent self sufficiency. I am there, in the mix, allowing everyone else off the hook, doing it all myself.

To be honest, I am really not sure I can do it differently. I read something the other day and I am reposting it here because I have pledged to myself to read this every day for a month, in an effort to remember. I share it with you so that perhaps you might remember too. Or, if you are one of the takers, one of the people who is so comfortable allowing your wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend to wash your clothes, cook your meals, listen to your woes, shop for your life, do all the things that a loving partner does for you, perhaps you might realize that that which you take for granted comes at a very great personal cost. And maybe, just maybe you will stop and show up for that person in a way and manner that would be healing for them and for you.


I didn’t get this way by choice. I got this way by necessity. Necessity that was reinforced each time I risked intimacy, love or even friendship. And it was a lesson I learned over and over again resulting in the same fucking thing. Receiving support is a very tricky business. And when you have spent your life being terrified that support is not available to you, you don’t need it or you wouldn’t know how to ask for it if you could ever dig up the courage, then it becomes a steadfast pattern that is oh so hard to break, even when you see it operating in your life...over and over again.


Receiving is hard. Giving easy. I am not really even there most of the time. I give not really even to get anymore, I just do it because it is habit. It requires nothing of me, then in the same minute, it requires everything. It is a life long lesson to be seen while being unseen. For being present and gone at the same time. For being the person who takes care of everyone else, who most of the time doesn’t have enough self esteem to even know she isn’t getting her needs met. It was years before I could even tell you that I had a need that was not being met.


I have seen a lot of people give to receive. But some of us, give because it is all we know how to do. And giving becomes the shield, the layer between us and you. We keep you away with all this giving bullshit. And you, you are so self obsessed that you don’t even notice. Well, until we stop, then it is all our fault for not meeting your ridiculous expectations of us.


I have picked some doozies that is for sure. Last year was the year I walked away from many of those doozies. But it was not the end of this particular lesson. It was actually just the beginning. Every moment before I woke up and left last year, just more fodder for my trauma. I absolutely believed as evidenced by my actions, that love was transactional. And my role in that transaction was to give.


And what I know now is that I leveled the playing field by not really being there. I mean I was. I did the things. I said the things. But me, the real me, wasn’t even in the same zip code. Also a trauma response. Let people close but never in. And the walls to your inner most person so translucent that the others who are likely not paying close attention, they don’t even notice the barrier. Or you. Or that there is something off.


And then when you gather up all your self worth, which would fit inside a thimble, but it is the most you have ever had, and you rise up and say how you really feel, those people leave you. Or attempt to get you to stay by trying to empty that thimble of worth and get you to believe you are not worthy all over again.


I have left so many people and things that were so important to me, only to find that I mattered nothing to them. My absence in their lives just another blip on their radar screen. There one minute gone the next, not even important enough to even conjure up a concern about where my particular blip went. And then, in a few moments, it is like I was never there at all. And that I have learned is a very true statement.


I have been a ghost that you could see, touch, feel. Until the apparition that is me, finally stops the haunting and disappears into walls so opaque that even X-ray vision wouldn’t help you find me.


So hard to live this way. So hard not to.


What I realize now is that it is a traumatic response. One that is hard wired into my brain, heart and soul. I cannot just announce with flair that I am DONE and move on. I cannot, because it regrows while I sleep, it is present without my knowledge or consent. And sometimes it feels like the only reprieve is solitude. The only way I can steel myself to this most fundamental way of being is to resolve to not engage at all.


I know I am not alone. There are many who have survived and this is the result. Walking through life, appearing to be present but having a wholly other conversation with yourself. Knowing that your best and highest value is in what you bring. And knowing that despite all that showing up and doing it yourself, the idea, the crazy fucking idea that someday someone will show up and support you...is just another pipe dream. Because you would never allow it, because you can’t. After all the years, after all the starts and stops, you cannot allow anyone in that close to see that you actually need something. That you aren’t capable of holding up their world. That you, in fact, need and want support too.


So for all of you who resonate with this, I give you this. I didn’t write it. But fuck if I didn’t need to read it.


“You are worthy of having support.

You are worthy of having true partnership.

You are worthy of love.

You are worthy of having your heart held.

You are worthy to be adored.

You are worthy to be cherished.

You are worthy to have someone say, “You rest. I got this.” And actually deliver on that promise.

You are worthy to receive.

You are worthy to receive.

You are worthy to receive.

You are worthy.

Worthy, sis.

You are worthy.

You don’t have to earn it.

You don’t have to prove it.

You don’t have to bargain for it.

You don’t have to beg for it.

You are worthy.

Worthy.

Simply because you exist.”


Jamila White

Thank you Jamila. Thank you.



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