Out of the Woodwork

All our love came out of the woodwork.
All our strength came out of the woodwork.
We only notice light
When darkness crashes against it.
We only notice light
Deep in the woodwork.

⁃ Woodwork by Sleeping at Last

For people who have experienced loss, joy is always filtered through the darkness.

It seems to be so difficult for people to truly understand how parent loss as an infant, a child under seven* truly is. Even if those parents are still out there… living.

I have a hard time giving myself permission to feel joy because darkness seems to follow me around. It’s rare I give myself permission to feel abounding joy. My joy feels more like contentment. I have to work for these moments…to create the perfect storm of scenarios that silence or quiet my amygdala, my sensory processing disorder, my anxiety, and my fear. It’s very rare that moments of joy happen naturally because my hyper-vigilance act as a barrier of protection… because while joy is real,my brain tells me the other shoe is about to drop.

One of my psychological symptoms of trauma is that everything looks flat to me. 2D. For a long time, I didn’t realize this wasn’t normal. When moments of Joy happen for me, it flows out more like sap from a pine tree. Slowly and thick. It looks more like contentment. It feels more like peace and in those moments where my brain starts cross communicating, I can see 3D. And I can feel joy.
People who have experienced loss treasure those moments of joy. The joy is deeper. It’s thicker. It’s brighter. It’s cherished. We know it’s fleeting. So, we grasp onto it fiercely and tightly for the moments it is with us. I often get people, including some of my parents, siblings, and family, who come at me sideways saying I am bitter or angry about everything, about my adoption, about my family. They say I don’t talk about the joy.

Let me make it very clear. I feel joy. It’s just so precious to me, I have a hard time feeling and sharing it with others. I am possessive of it.
Because my joy has to come out of the woodwork.

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