"I felt safe enough with Angelo to let go of my guard"
Jessica shares her story of survival:
Having my sense of boundaries violated by my family throughout my youth has left me a mess for life. I usually spend the majority of my time trying to suppress my memories and regulate my strong emotions of anxiety and fear of failure, disappointment, betrayal, and not being a regular human being. One day, I felt so sad that my friend was avoiding talking to me. To me, it felt so brutal. To me, it was the last straw the broke the camel’s back. I felt like a cargo airplane that was carrying weights that surpassed the limit. I was going to crash because it had too much burden in it. I was stressed about successfully continuing my education, living on my own, managing my anxiety, and dealing with personal past issues. I felt that I was about to crash – I couldn’t stay up in the sky anymore. I needed to throw off some of my cargo onto someone before I crashed into the ocean and sink. In other words, I was what my friend and I would call as being in “survival mode”.
I looked into an office that I never noticed before and saw an inviting but strange red couch. I observed the man to see if he was safe to approach. I figured he was safe after seeing students walk into his office and then exit with a happy grin and a granola bar in their hands. It was an interesting experience. The room was very colourful and it was filled with cool lotions and trinkets, such as a Mr. Potato Head collection. As I got to know Angelo, I realized he was funny, caring, encouraging, and determined for me to continue pushing through my life obstacles. Not only did this man intrigue me, but the room also made me feel nostalgic and safe.
Eventually I felt safe enough with Angelo to let go of my guard, allowing my personality and strange sense of humour to come out. I told him what I had been through in my youth and he helped me see how it was affecting my education, my life, and my health. He also helped me put things into perspective, encouraged me to do daring things such as playing floor hockey, and try to take things step by step. He helped me to not give up my pursuit of continuing my education and manage my anxiety issues. Thanks to him, I managed to finally graduate high school on a good note.
Speaking of notes, I like to think of myself as a musician. I went on hiatus in order to deal being in “survival mode”, but now that strong desire to play again is bubbling up in me. I feel that I am a mess of out-of-pitch musical notes that were coming out of a defective clarinet, but now that I am getting help from Angelo, I feel that the notes are beginning to be in tune again and are starting to flow out from me. I don’t know what my melody is, but all I know is that I'm slowly finding a way to compose my life into a stable and beautiful song.