Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beware the Jabberwocky

How does one start talking about dark topics? Delving in to things that have been buried for so long? I've struggled with this post for weeks now, trying to figure out how to put into words what has been revealed.

All of this started a couple of weeks ago, where Grey and I spent a session with David exploring why I believed I didn't deserve to have children. I had just finished reading "Sweet Grapes" and was overcome with the realization that even though we could live a life without children, I didn't want to. And yet despite that realization, an equally strong feeling of damnation and deserving the pain of infertility/loss continued to rear it's head. That these wants of happiness were futile, as I was damned to lead a life of watching others move on to raise their families while I was meant to watch.

So, we did what any good psychologist would do; we dug. The more we dug, the more it became apparent the life-long trend of feeling inferior and deserving of misery: from double-standards from my childhood where I was punished or threatened for sins that others were easily forgiven for, to witnessing my family embrace life decisions of other family members while laying the costs on those who were trying to simply escape. Even now as I think about so many events, it becomes clear how backwards and destructive all of this was. Yet, it's something I have a hard time shaking. And infertility and loss feel like they are deserved because of who I am.

At this point, David asked me about the Gatekeepers. I swear one could have heard a pin drop at that moment. David continued probing, asking me what they were saying and wondering what they were holding back/protecting me from. And then David asked me about the Jabberwocky they are guarding.

 Through the Looking-Glass, 1872; illustration by John Tenniel

"Jabberwocky" is a nonsense poem that was written by Lewis Carol in 1872. Since it's conception, it's become a mythical creature with an undefined appearance other than having sharp claws and a fierce bite.


by Lewis Carroll

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Here's the thing about Jabberwockys: we all have them. Some of us can define them quite well, as we stare them in the face on a daily basis, but most of the time they are a shapeless, faceless terror. We know they exist and it scares the hell out of us. Hence the Gatekeepers; those guardians we've put into place that protect us from the Jabberwocky, keeping it caged. Their job, as cruel and destructive as they may seem, is actually to help keep us safe from the Jabberwocky.

There's a problem, though. As necessary as the Gatekeepers are during those moments where we are in danger, those loving guardians can hinder us in life. The abuse and jeers to steer us away from the Jabberwocky can hinder us, preventing us from living full lives. So it becomes important to reach out to the Gatekeepers, embrace them, thank them and then to ask them to step aside. To face the Jabberwocky, in all of it's fury.

What's been hard as of late has been that the whispers of the Gatekeepers have turned into dialogues, communicated mainly through my dreams. Instead of finding peace, I've been running through childhood homes, terrified of being caught by those who don't want me there. I've had visions of children on conveyor belts, winding through factories only to be perfectly packaged for their "parents." I've tossed and turned while reliving painful memories. And I've woken up crying after seeing images of my dad.  

In a lot of ways, this is a dangerous period. It's hard not to feel like there are moments that I'm losing my mind as I reflect on all that has happened. I'm fortunate in a lot of ways because Grey is helping me during this time, holding me as I shake and cry while helping me explore the rushes of anger I haven't experienced in so long. There's also the internal desire to stop, to run from it all and go back to a place that's far less scary and a hell of a lot more comfortable. What keeps me going is the promise of a better future; of finally being well. Knowing that the pain is acute because we are resetting a broken skeleton and forming a new foundation not only for us but for our children.

I'll be honest: I feel so weak at the moment. Today I see my Gatekeepers: a girl of about 6-8 yrs old and a young woman who is 15-18 yrs old. Both of them are jeering at me, while visually warning me not to approach. Yet, I can here the roars of the Jabberwocky too. This faceless terror that has been sealed for so long and yet been the poison that exists in my life. And as much as I want to turn-tail, I'm preparing myself to open the doors to this prison and do battle. To face what has been hidden for so long.

I just hope I don't lose myself in the process.


  1. You won't lose yourself, you'll find yourself.

    You are so brave for facing your demons and even more so for sharing about it.

  2. Hoping that when you do battle with the Jaberwocky you walk away the victor.

  3. You have such a beautiful way with words Cristy. Its a pleasure to read your posts. I admire the strong woman behind them whom I know will do battle and come out the victor. Stronger than she ever knew she could be. Hang in there my friend, you can do this.

  4. This is an incredibly powerful and almost poetic post. You astound me!

  5. This is some deep stuff but I continue to be amazed by your writing. It sounds like you're approaching a major turning point in your treatment, and as hard as I know it is, I know it will be worth it. Always better to face your demons than to run forever. Trust in your support network and the expertise of the professionals you're entrusting to guide you during this hard work. All love, care and strength to you!

  6. I really don't believe that you'll lose yourself. Your writing tells me that you're more self-aware than most people, and I think that's a very powerful thing. Even though it's painful and frightening, I know that you can do this. If anyone can slay the Jabberwocky, it's you.

  7. As always your words are so elegant and truly amaze me.

  8. You are strong and brave and powerful. And you've built a support system that will help you through this fight. I have a feeling what's waiting on the other side is pretty amazing.

  9. This is a very painful process to have to go through, but very necessary as I am sure you realise. You are being very strong and I really do admire you for that. I underwent counselling last year and it uncovered a great deal of painful, unresolved issues from when I was a child and a teenager involving my family and especially my father. I believe facing these issues and finally resovling them, where key for me in finally finding happiness and letting go of many deep & dark insecurities that I was holding onto.

  10. The longer I read your blog, the more strength I see in you. Soon you are going to be sailing through the skies with your bright red cape with a capitol R stitched on it. R for Resolved.

  11. You sound far too switched on to 'lose yourself'. If you did, I don't think it would be for long. But what do I know?!!

    Childhood stuff is sooooooooo ingrained and hard to shake - even when you identify it and shine the light on it, still keeps coming up, in new and strange ways. Horrible when there's no solace in sleeping/dreaming too. An extremely trying time. I wish you all the best navigating this Jabberwockiness, you sound very brave and with a fantabulous man at your side.


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