Many people see my sharp, open and disciplined disciplined mind.

What they don’t seem to see is that mind was structured as scaffolding to protect and repair my big, battered femme heart.

It is my heart that quickly makes connections, sensing the love or fear, the twists or truths in the world around me. It is my heart that took the beating of denial, of isolation, of the pounding that tried to make it into something it never was and never was going to be.

The scaffolding that lets me monitor, protect, control and process the intensity of my own feelings is often seen as very useful to others.   I use it to take care of their needs, to enter their world, to be the concierge that they want protecting and serving them.

While they love how my scaffolding feels protective, creating safe space explore the surprises and terrors of life, it was never, though, was it built to serve them.   It was built to serve me, to take care of me, to protect me.

My mental health is fine.   My emotional health, on the other hand, has always been on the critical side.   As I get older, with less excess energy and much less hope of change, the state of my heart has become dire.

For decades I sent out bulletins on this damage almost everyday, using the best and most powerful language my head could find to express the trauma my heart went through, the damage that keeps growing as I have less and less return to heal it.

I went through all the words in the world that I could find to expose the price of my experience of being pounded down, denied and shredded.

The scaffolding I used to do that work was strong, creative and impressive.   All the while, though, the heart that powered everything I do was becoming more weak, more scarred and more at risk.

Now, when I have to put energy and focus into the scaffolding just to face a world of small insults, of insensitive assaults, it is always at the cost of maintaining my own heart.   While fighting for others is good, a gift, having to fight again for myself while being tied up in suspicion and disgust is always costly.

I am not my scaffolding, no matter how much of me was used to create, grow and maintain it.    It may be what people see, may be what they demand be extended to serve them, to do the jobs they demand I do, but it is not me.

I am, rather, my essence, my spirit, my heart.

And that part, I fear, gets more frayed and flaccid everyday.

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