I have a love/hate relationship with the medical drama, Code Black.
I love it for its unflinching and realistic view of people overcoming various forms of emotional trauma. I hate it because nearly every episode leaves me in tears.
The writers have a knack for development that shows you every broken/missing piece of your favorite character. There’s a wise mentor to the younger doctors who confronts fears by saying things like, “You know what your problem is? Nobody ever told you what you’re good at. Trust me. You’re good.”
I watched that and experienced two overwhelming impulses simultaneously:
- Go find that actor and demand that he hugs me
- Blow up my television and cry for at least a week
If you don’t understand the long-term effects of trauma/abuse and how to undo them, here’s the key:
It’s not enough for me to know something. It’s not even enough for me to believe it. I must be able to feel it. The biggest challenge is for me is to hold on to that feeling. It’s not about happiness. It’s about feeling loveable and worthy and…good. It’s about fixing that hole in your heart that makes holding onto good things so hard.
I know that I’m good. I believe that I am, and I frequently feel that I am. But it is not a constant. It doesn’t remain, unless I stay connected to my tribe. I need a seemingly endless number of people around me that I can relate and identify with.
I’m not conflicted at all about my tribe. I believe and feel to my bones that they’re good and they feel and believe that about me. I experience something far more powerful than me connecting us to each other. That’s my spirituality in a nutshell.
The greatest challenge for misfits is that we’re trying to feel something we’ve never felt. I think that’s most often the point of therapy and religion and 12 step programs and all the transformative pursuits people undertake: To feel love and loveable and loved.
So, what I want you to know is that you are so much more than your past. You are so much more than the worst decision you ever made. You are more than the sum of your experiences. You are free to become. Free to shed your skin. Free to let go of pain. You are worthy and deserving and you can come to feel it. This requires connection to kindred spirits on similar journeys.
You can find us in the halls of NA and AA. You can find us in group therapy, CODA, in grief groups and wherever people are openly saying well-meaning but silly things like, “I’m trying to figure it out.” Or “I’m trying to get my shit together.”
Turns out healing is not something you think your way into. Healing is artistry and spirituality: What we do with our broken pieces is make a beautiful mosaic.