A Herd of Elephants


Dear Elephant, or should I say elephants? I feel like there is an entire herd of you sitting in the corner of my mind. Or is that the monkeys? Who can be sure? The sheer weight of you implies “elephants.”

It’s too much to bear most days; there are too many of you. I wonder how many others are hauling a herd of elephants on their backs, or in their minds. My heard – they’re a mixed bag of blessings and curses. Three sisters; the first, we call her Dissociation. She lost her way among the hopelessness of trauma. Hiding herself in the corner, while distracting herself from the chaos of it all. Numb from too much, for too long. Even the strongest of animals has a breaking point.

The middle-aged sister of Dissociation was lovingly given the name Control. She was born from the need to manage a life void of any real parental supervision or compassion. They said they loved her, but their actions spoke differently. She had no power over those who were tasked to protect her. She had no way to make them understand, so she took jurisdiction over the things she could. Managing every moment of her life – their lives. Quietly and patiently watching, reading, and feeling every moment – every change of the atmosphere. Control sits and waits for her opportunities. She steps in where needed, far before she is asked, and she sets the atmosphere. Making every effort to keep everybody happy. If she can’t do this, she can’t do anything. She’s worthless. At least that’s what her sister says.

Her sister is Shame. Shame was born masked in filth and disgust. She was wanted in the womb, and unwanted in the flesh. Not at first – it was a slow build. She was hidden away until she was old enough to talk. They thought she wasn’t listening – they believed she couldn’t see. What they could not know was she sat alone with her empathy.

She didn’t have to see it – she could feel it.
In every word, and sideways glance.
In every balled-up fist, and victim stance.
Through the walls, and in her soul,
She felt and felt every blow.
The light dimming in their eyes.
No more love in disguise.

Then, Shame moved in to tell her lies.

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Isaiah 61:7



Photo by Alexandre Chambon

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