Strawberry Print

There are a lot of stories to tell and everybody has been too busy to tell them! Suffice it to say that the majority of our system’s drive to shoo the fog out of our innerworld has been due to in-system romantic couples searching for one another. The two major pairs (that I personally remember/am aware of) have located one another, so things have calmed down considerably. Leaving us with subsystems that feel much more individual and much less tangled with other alters. 

We here in the Star Fissure System have a penchant for hiding alters behind other alters in the most convoluted and tricky ways imaginable. This is the kind of thing that you learn when you spend 22 years with an extremely sadistic abuser who knows that several of your alters still believe that she could become a good person, and have trauma-induced savior complexes.

Thank God that’s over with.

But yes, hello! I have recently emerged from dissociation non-identity. My name is Charlotta, named after strawberry shortcake (the dessert, not the character) in the most convoluted way! It has to do with good memories of a lovely and safe person, being gaslit by less lovely and safe adults, Ukrainian desserts horrifyingly bastardized by the people who raised me, and cartoon characters re-branded for a different audience. Way too much detail to go into right now, for I am here to talk about sewing! And Jennifer, briefly. 

Jennifer’s subsystem is my subsystem’s protector, and because of the aforementioned abuse we are often indistinguishable from one another. It is likely that I contributed to some of her posts. But we are safe now, and I feel comfortable talking as myself.

For a while now, my system has had little energy for anything productive. We haven’t even come close to unpacking, and we’ve been married for over a year! 

Because of this, our system has focused on conserving energy. Simple meals, waiting on complex projects, dissociating away a lot of our unhappiness with the mess of our living space.

I talked to our therapist about this last week. How nothing important feels worth doing, and how the things we care about feel like an energy vacuum. And she told me to do something that surprised me. 

Make strawberry shortcake. Even if it’s the only thing we eat that day.

Why strawberry shortcake? Well, we keep remembering somebody from our distant past. A kind and loving adult who put us first, taught us to value all life – even that of scary insects, and who used to make us strawberry shortcake.

We don’t yet know with 100% certainty who this person is. The most obvious and simple answer is that we were adopted and she is our bio mom, but we are still waiting on a DNA test to hopefully get some answers to that. She could have been a babysitter, a family friend, a disowned relative. What matters is that she is an actual other person. She is not an alter.

Our memories of her kept us alive through the abuse that we experienced. They kept us from giving up. As odd as it may seem, if you have read some of our other posts, our system as a whole does not get stuck in despair very often. And, when we do, we usually have the internal tools to get ourselves un-stuck. 

We had evidence, from a very early age, that life could be beautiful, peaceful, extraordinary and full of joy. It was only because of this single, kind adult. But it was genuine. And it has stuck with us for our entire life, even in times when we could not remember her.

So if she, whatever her true identity, is the reason we are still fighting to be our authentic selves, why are we not relying on her more? 

Make strawberry shortcake.

I confess, I did not make strawberry shortcake this week. The kitchen is a mess, and I don’t have baking space. But I did do something else. I bought strawberry print fabric, and I am going to make a skirt.

We remember wild strawberries being a significant and frequent experience with this kind person. We even have a little in our system who sees themselves as a jar of strawberry preserves – holding a memory of a time when we ate something sweet that we weren’t supposed to and didn’t get yelled at or belittled over it. 

The person who raised us for most of our life (even if she is our bio mom I do not want to call her that) made sure that we never had wild strawberries, even though the plants sometimes grew in our yard. She made sure to eat them herself, and she made sure to tell us about it. It was so bizarre, looking back, that this fully grown adult woman created a ritual, every year, of eating all the strawberries in the yard and smugly telling her child about it. If we weren’t adopted by an insanely jealous abuser, I have no idea what that song and dance was for. Part of me doesn’t care. She can keep her weird rituals and I can gradually forget what her face even looks like. 

The point is that strawberries, besides being cute, happy little plants and some of the most delicious berries in the world, are important to our system. And I look forward to sewing a cute skirt out of strawberry print. 

I know that ever since buying the fabric – even before starting the project – we have had more energy. Alters have been drawing again. Alters have been WRITING again, and that’s the main thing. You know we’re seriously depressed when we stop working on novels. 

I’m sort of excited about where life is going. I’m still scared to trust the feeling, but I am confident enough to start to move towards it. We are all waking up, and I am dreaming to see what our system looks like as we continue to emerge from this perfectionism-induced brain fog.

-Charlotta

 

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