The Chest


Oh good gracious me!!! I stumbled across a huge word file on my laptop today when I was looking for some writing I did around the time my dad died (it’s the anniversary of that horrid event this weekend). The document I actually found was writing I did 6/7 years ago during my NHS therapy with Em. It’s painful to read what I wrote then but also amazing to see how some things have really moved on and how other issues remain stuck. Therapy is clearly a long trek for me! I might get round to putting some extracts here eventually if I can bear the shame 😉 But for now – here’s the piece of huge cringe that I wrote to Em after my last session with her back in 2013 (and proceeded to send her in the mail!). The plan had been to see her in private practice after three months of ending in the NHS but it actually turned out to be three years before I got back into the therapy room with her… and last week was the anniversary of three years more work… I’m surprised she ever agreed to see me again after my teenage self clearly got poetic! Haha.

The Chest

The dust of half a lifetime lies thick on the lid

Carefully, I trace the words ‘KEEP OUT’ with my finger tip-

Those words roughly etched into the surface

during in a time of past desolation.


As though it were some mystical chest

I gaze down and wonder at it


But I know this box

The one I keep my secrets in

Does not hold treasure

I know too, that finally, it must be opened


The lock.

Cold metal.


Still holds firm.

Even after all these years.


I look away…

turn the key…

The bolt gives way


Hinges creak loudly and the cool air

rushes in

to fill the dark, silent space within


Deep breaths.


Staring down

At the clandestine hoard.

It is not quite as I remember it.


Some items have been neatly wrapped and carefully placed inside.

Difficult to handle things, thrown in in haste, are strewn untidily.


Slowly, slowly I begin to unpack

each individual fragment of a memory:










A broken heart

A broken soul.


This jigsaw requires careful handling.


Piece by piece

one at a time

I free these parts of myself from the mausoleum

Some are so fragile they threaten to disintegrate

Others razor-sharp and still poised to draw blood


Little by little

the picture emerges.


Tentatively I hold out my hand,

“Look at this”  I say.

I half expect you to run screaming out the door

I know I want to.


But there you are- still.

And for that, I thank you.

4 thoughts on “The Chest

  1. Q (formerly known as Quemada) July 6, 2019 / 4:55 am

    I know that experience, of reading things I wrote years ago–four years ago or twenty years ago!–and being amazed both at how far I’ve come and also at how much I still struggle with some of the same things. It’s a long, hard road to make those deep changes.

    If you can, try not to feel ashamed of whatever your younger self wrote. She wrote what was true for her, back then, at the time. She was trying to make sense of things in the best way she could. Of course she didn’t know everything you know now. But she was working toward becoming the wiser self you now are. xxoo


    • rubberbandsandchewinggum July 6, 2019 / 6:46 am

      Thanks Q. You are right. It’s all part of the journey. I’ve always written in one form or another and it was actually really interesting to see some of the older stuff I’d written when I had my breakdown about my GP and all the attachment patterns I know about now coming out then. That’s partly why I started blogging. I wanted a record of this journey…so that one day I might look back and go ‘blimey, I’m proud of myself for the work I have done and the changes I have made’… and even now I am but also am astounded by how hard it is to shake off the deep rooted stuff.

      Hope you are doing ok xxx


      • Q (formerly known as Quemada) July 9, 2019 / 6:06 am

        The progress we have made is beautiful and admirable. And yes, it is REALLY hard to overcome the deepest wounds. A lot of people don’t even try to do it. So in that sense, we are the brave ones, because we are struggling to be more than we were set up to be, to live more fully than we were raised to live.

        Liked by 1 person

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