Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Leveraging Resources

Just before going to therapy today I read this article by Alissa Quart about resilience, a need to reframe it because it becomes a kind of victim blaming. Instead we need to consider the resources people had access to, how they were able to leverage them; that's a measure of resilience.

It felt like a door opened, letting in a gust of air and light on the memory from age 5 where I am hearing JJ abusing LJ and TJ. The sound of TJ is so haunting that at first it was the only part of the memory I could call up. It blotted out all other memories of JJ's apartment, taking me several minutes until I could come up with a visual to anchor onto.

JJ became my caregiver when my Mother worked once we moved into the apartments in Gladstone, after leaving my Aunt's home in Redland. She lived in the apartment across from ours and her boys were very close in age, LJ being a bit older than me and TJ just a little younger.

A few years ago I went looking for these brothers, I found LJ. He told me that several years ago TJ killed himself. LJ had cut off their Mother many years ago, but TJ remained in contact.

As I've worked to integrate this memory I have felt caught in a whirlpool of grief about TJ. Why did LJ and I get "enough" resilience and TJ didn't? In a memory that's filled with injustice, this feels so terrible.

Today I remembered that TJ was dyslexic and had ADHD. I was already seen as "gifted, even though it would be 3 more years before it was acted on in school, and that got me special encouragement and praise from teachers. It set the stage for my getting extra support from teachers that I couldn't get from my family. I figured out how to leverage that resource right away. At age 6 I was already good at leveraging resources, just as I was at managing the emotions of unstable adults.

I had a vivid memory of TJ being berated by a teacher for not being able to make a "B" the right direction.

That's where the resilience gap is.

My therapist thinks that this meet might get fully integrated next session of we can get a good block of time on it. Need to focus on not talking about the election and get this memory done. Age Six's memory has been knocking on the door, so to speak.

Got to float today too which helped my pain a lot!

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