How the Fox Survived

I’m Kassie. I was little once, but I was always big. I just got to a place where I didn’t want to face myself, didn’t want to think or remember, and I curled up into myself, like I was cradling myself as carefully as a baby.

I went to sleep and self-comforted for years, wishing I could actually feel loved and worthy of love. I wanted comfort and felt guilty for even wanting that. I stopped wanting much. Just cried like a baby, like a baby when you can’t tell what’s wrong with her and why she’s unhappy. I couldn’t tell anyone what I wanted. I just cried.

I don’t know how to tell this story. I was little once, that’s how it starts. I was little and people made me feel like I didn’t deserve care, like I deserved abuse. My father started it. It’s his fault because of the choices he made to hurt me, use me, and let others do the same.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t waiting for something ugly to happen. But when it’s your daily experience, your only window to life, you can’t go through your whole childhood feeling one emotion. Your emotions come and get tangled up in everything that’s happening. So it wasn’t as simple as me being sad and scared all the time. I experienced every emotion about it that I could. Love and hate. I was simultaneously turning away from and pursuing the only attention I could get.

I was little. I was always trying to find the path that would get me somewhere I wanted to go. The way to act that would get me a treat. I wanted to feel good and I wanted to be comforted and heard. To get those things in any way at all, I had to do shit I didn’t know was far beyond a four-year-old’s typical experience.

You don’t know it’s wrong when you’re little and it’s what your life has always looked like. It’s like when they tell you the Earth is round. That’s what you learn. Thing is, they could have said it was flat and you wouldn’t know any different.

So when I could make decisions for myself, how could I really do different than what I knew? By that time the ways to the places you think you want to go are well tracked and worn into neat little paths for you. So you take those paths. And it’s still his fault.

Things happened that I don’t need to repeat here. The point is, I shut down in the end. I couldn’t take it anymore. I became four again. That’s the beauty of being a part inside a host, you can do shit like that. You can make the whole system go real quiet while you lie down in some corner and cry yourself to sleep every day, while your host survives by being mostly numb and oblivious.

Then something amazing happened. Her name is Willow. She found Janice first and saved her, and then shortly after that she found me.  I was four, and I got to be four in a very real way. I just took a couple years to be four with her. She taught me every single day that I could find new paths to my happiness. I could get what I wanted, what I thought was impossible. I could be loved and held and given treats just for being me. Just for asking.

I ate a lot of cupcakes. I mean, I ate a LOT of cupcakes. It sounds dumb, but I just wanted treats for doing absolutely nothing. For asking. For being me. I got all the cuddles I could want. And it wasn’t easy because I had to learn to want cuddles first, good safe touch.  I didn’t let myself want things I thought I couldn’t get. Cupcakes were easy, real love was harder to accept. But I got there in the end.

The day I got there, and this wasn’t long ago, I grew up again. I was ready to be me. I thought I could forget what got me to this place — my history. But you can’t turn your back on yourself and your truth. Something bubbled up. Then came the strength to deal with it and face it and claim it back. Because it would make me stronger, it would make me a hero, never a loser. I wanted to be that hero.

I’m newborn 32. I feel baby-skinned and a little fragile. I’ve found a new world to be born into, one where I’m who I am and I’m worth getting the things I really want. It’s a beautiful place. I feel reincarnated into my own life, the life I wanted.

I am here. I am real. I am the Fox standing next to the Deer and the Wolf. We all have threads of this story. Every string is a little tangled,  little frayed. But we’re honouring it all.

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