Trauma Always Leaves a Scar
I cannot always be funny or “on.” I know this.
I have come to terms with this fact over the years; even though it goes against everything I wish I could project. Pretending is what I have always done best, and writing my heart has broken down much of the wall standing between me and freedom. Today I understand it’s not who I am that I’ve been hiding, it’s all the things about me I don’t want you to see.
What keeps that wall up, these days, is my comfort in its presence. It was built to protect me from all the things, and it has, in many ways, saved me. When I’m feeling disconnected, it serves as a piece of old furniture that might remind me what home smells like or provide the safety of “ghouls” during a game of tag. Except there aren’t any skeletons left in my closet to play with, and the only feelings that stupid wall provokes are loneliness and mourning — a longing for what it might actually have been like to ever just feel safe because it was my right.
It’s like a heavy sweater I know I probably won’t need, but bring to the party, “just in case.” Awkwardly, I carry it from conversation to conversation, trying not to focus on it while it weighs on me. I want to set it down, to ask someone to take it from me, but I’m also terrified to let it out of my sight. Because even though I can’t remember the last time I needed it, even though it doesn’t even fit me anymore, I can’t imagine being without it.
It lands me in this space; the space I’m in today. On the couch with a stomach ache because I ate that stupid cupcake to feel better; even though I knew all it would do is make me violently ill. Where I’m activated somewhere in the trauma of yesterday, and so anxious I wish I could set myself on fire to feel anything else. I would give my left arm to settle somewhere between hyper and hypo, and just sit there for a moment before oscillating back.
Alcohol helped me fake elation and lie to myself, cigarettes gave me a corporeal excuse for feeling lousy, and I have no more vices left. Sometimes I wish I could just unknow the fact that nothing will ever fully take the sting away. I just have to hum along until the song changes. Time and experience has taught me that it will.
I know that everything is okay — that I’m not in any of those horrible places right now. I’ve self-talked myself off the ledge and reminded myself 1000 times that I’m safe and surrounded by love. But my system doesn’t always trust me, and I’m wired for sound just in case.
Just in case something terrible happens, I’ll definitely be prepared. Just in case I’m not100% safe — in case he’s not who I think he is. In case there is danger lurking where I can’t see; like so many many times I let down that guard and didn’t see — until it was much too late.
Because trauma has changed me, and my reality is not always reflective of what’s real.Writing these truths has has shined a brilliant light on the sick circles I run, and helped me realize the amount of work still to be done.
Today though, I’m exhausted by awareness. I wish I could let go for just a second to just actually BE anything beyond the fucked up broken doll I see every time I look in the mirror. No matter how many times I change her hair, her clothes, or her scene. No matter how many times I’ve taken stock of the damages or action to fix what’s broken, there always seems to be something more.