There are many things in the trenches trauma that need to be attended to. Having survived the aforementioned long enough to become an advocate, there are fence posts that I am slowly putting in place to not only survive, but to thrive.
Abuse stole my personhood. Every shred of it. Never will I leave that personhood unprotected again. That means many things to me, allow me to explain.
To be a person is to have legitimate needs. I need to eat, move, sleep, AND have a safe and stable home. I need to have enough time not only to think, but to feel, and to think about what I feel. Anything, however good, that takes me away from myself is no longer good.
In my immediate family I have several precious people that I care for, myself notwithstanding. These people will not be loved, known, and nurtured if I am not present. Only I can fill that role. Only I can tend to these growing toes that nightly fit under my table. I know what it is to need a mother and not have one. They will never know this need. Anything, however good, that takes me away from them for too long, is no longer good.
I also need strong and stable interpersonal attachments. While I don’t need a spouse, I am deeply grateful that I have one. His personhood has been precious to me since before he was mine and will be precious to me long after death does us part. Since I have a marriage, I need that marriage to be deeply honest, connected, strongly attached, and finely attuned.
I need friends. I have a few. Those few are go to the wall people; drop, stop, and come at a call people; defend me to the death people; knowing in my knower sort of folks. They not only know what was done to me, they know who “dun it,” and they are ripped right off. They are friends who spoke up, showed up, and stuck up for me. They are few but they are mighty. Those friends I stay connected to. I stay in their loop. They read twitter to stay in mine :).
I also need to contribute to the world around me. I need the brutality to be turned somehow to beauty. I need the sorrow to flow softly into the sweet. It is and it does.
Yet even in my deep need to contribute, I feel so finite and limited. I am and I accept that. I have an urgently felt need to love and live well, giving out of the plenty of my personhood not the poverty of it. When I choose to give of myself in some way, I give the full weight of my cognition and compassion.
That is why you won’t likely see me at most of the very important rally’s and abuse conferences. It is also why I sometimes sit quite while others shout. It is why when I do count the cost and throw myself into an event, an outing, an occasion, you will find me slip away to think, to feel, and to think about what I feel. These fences, they are dug in the bedrock of need.
I know you understand. The good is not always the best for me.