denialbirdearthI just finished reading the book First Person Plural, an autobiography written by Cameron West, Ph.D. It is about his life and struggle with coming to accept his Dissociative Identity Disorder. Personally, I prefer to call it by its old term: multiple personality disorder.

I am fascinated by how the brain works. More fascinating to me is the way the brain deals with trauma, worry, stress, and lastly, denial. I chose the title of this post because of the metaphor I read in the book: denial comes to me in the metaphorical form of a gardener’s rake. It is used to push and pull the memories, thoughts, opinions, and feelings floating around in our head deep into our minds, so we can bury them — sometimes forever.

Denial occurs across a broad spectrum of issues: Addiction, Abuse, Behavior, Relationships. It can be wielded as a way to survive or continue existing as part of the status quo. But the problem with denial’s rake is that, eventually it becomes a useless tool because all the dirt underneath rises again to the surface. This can occur in a sudden earthquake of enlightenment, or slowly resurface like silty layers of earth, weathered away by a constant tide of destructive, self-defeating patterns.

tilth-rakeI used my rake over and over again, across a series of decades, to bury my feelings and reject my true self. My denial was planted and fertilized over the years through a plentiful supply of Catholic doctrine. I was told to act a certain way, believe a certain way and move through life a certain way. What wasn’t planted in me was the self-confidence to make my own decisions, my own choices, and forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made along the way.

Now that the earth inside my brain has shifted, and new, fresh layers of consciousness are rising to the surface, I feel like I am finally moving out from under the power of denial’s rake.  I am tilling my own soil and removing all polluted  traces that came from living a life according to others, who lived their lives based on outdated religious doctrine and beliefs.

I can already begin to see the shoots of new flowers rising slowly to the surface, waiting to burst through and bloom into a field of colorful wildflowers ready to dance and sway in the breeze; unfettered by the rake of denial that held me in its grip for so long. And, I am becoming the butterfly that joins them in the dance.

butterfly on wildflowers


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