My therapist uses a set of Russian stacking dolls frequently to visually demonstrate the concepts of inner child, layers and defence mechanisms. They sit on the table as we all talk, and cry, and laugh and learn. Sometimes tightly stacked, other times split apart, revealing their tiers.
In my piece titled Parts, I explored the relationship between a number of my parts. Like a stacking doll, each plays an important role fitting around my centre. Some deflect, some protect and some feed my core self and my submission. I’ve had the breathing space over the summer to shed the outer layers, the armoured achiever protective parts that I rely on at work. It’s always a relief to slow down and become softer, lighter and freer. To be able to focus on what and who is most important to me, including myself, without these other pressures and responsibilities screaming at me for attention.
Tomorrow, however, I have to return after nearly two months away. And I’ve cried about it in therapy this week, and this morning. Whilst I recognise that I don’t do change very well and that a healthy dose of anxiety always accompanies a return to work after a long break, I’m more aware of a deeper pull, and which part of me is actually sad and why.
My therapist helped with this as we each spoke of how we’d been of late, given there had also been a short break for the group to accommodate holidays. She said “you are all obviously high functioning and resilient to be where you are today, but what we can forget is…at what cost? What is the cost to yourselves, your inner selves where your core needs lie, in having to develop outer defence mechanisms in order to function so highly in a professionally setting?” And I realised who in me was grieving the perceived loss of freedom, softness and lightness. Because to pull myself back up to that level of responsibility, accountability and leadership I have to don the weight again of those outer layers. And they smother and darken the little me nestled inside and it is she who weeps. I know how easily it is to get sucked back into the treadmill of giving and doing more and more. And I’m not okay with that, more so than ever, as that is akin to neglecting myself for the benefit of others. As has been my way for so long.
So, I wonder how it would look to not full restack? To allow some light to shine through, to not conceal or have the need to protect my worries, stressors and pressure to maintain performance from others. I will always do my best, in anything I do, but I have to be more mindful now at mitigating the cost to me.
Cuiplash will support me in this, and we’ve spoken of reintroducing some things when I’m at work that will help me remain mindful of our D/s where my core softness, freedom and lightness resides, and in taking time to care of myself when I’m in the middle of it all. I know that check ins, affirmations and rules around taking breaks and eating and drinking properly have always served me well and I know I will feel secure in feeling his intentions in these small acts that honour our connection.
Today, I’m going to keep busy and enjoy relaxing with Cuiplash and the kids before all our routines flip back to the busyness of our non holiday daily lives and schedules. I’ll try not to dwell on the anxiety burbling away underneath, and will gladly anticipate the spanking and play that awaits me later, to clear it all away and ensure I sleep well. I’ve an early start in the morning…