It is true that as I recover from trauma my world both gets simultaneously smaller and deeper. I realize things about myself, my oppressors, and my poly-victimization, that once kept me far from my body, my soul, and my spirit. Things that kept me from knowing what I had known. I realize the rigidity of my own limits, I feel the weight of the wounds differently, more deeply, cradling the crushed bits of my own humanity with broken arms but clearer eyes. I rock the ruined bits to sleep and nurse the needy until it’s nourished and satisfied. These are things that take time.
I realize afresh what it will take to be me for the remainder of the time that is mine; to be present for the ones who on merely. Flung far into history are the days of yes, of I can do all, I can be all, I can become all. Those days are shed along with the skin of dissociation, minimization, repression, and disconnection.
No, to stay and to be a healthy me, means this present reality, this present portrait of personhood. It does. It means no to a good many good things and a good many good people.
Trauma tore off the cellular membrane of my soul, the reasonable distance that ought to be between my DNA and the external world. When it hurts you, I hurt too. When you weep, I walk in the rain weeping and thinking of you. I bear secondary trauma like primary — like it’s me — because so much of the time it was.
I shun fair rides, they are not fun to me. There is no part of my personhood that enjoys feeling as if I am going to fall off a cliff, get run over by a car, be dropped from a high height, or be spun around like a top. I was – for real. It was not fun then and simulating those physical sensations and corresponding emotions feels so much like the real thing it nauseates me to think of it, even as I sit safely still.
I skim articles of brutality, I avoid movies or sports where there is physical violence, psychological or sexual denigration. I took those blows, I know how they feel. I remember the metallic taste as you and attempt to get up. To go on. Gangrenous are those memories, that past reality, indelibly imprinted on this brain, this body.
I want to traverse the world; to write books; to broadcast hope. But I don’t enjoy the trial of travel and I abhor the self-promotion that comes with authorship. I like the fridge to be full of good food, the house to be clean, the laundry done, the candles lit, the children cared for, and the home fires tended. So I hold my little light from my hearth and hope, beyond any reasonable hope, it is enough.