Trying to explain what my trauma is like, and how it affects me, feels like trying to explain why my heartbeats, or how two clouds overlap in the sky. It feels beyond me and also to close to me to see. It is something that I cannot articulate but will try all my life to put into words, because these words call me home to myself, and may just call someone else home to herself.
There is the afterglow of intercourse, the nourishment of conversation, the clinking of wine glasses, and the smooth texture of soft cheese. Then there is laughter from the gut, there is the satisfaction of a job well done, there is the exhaustion that comes after a long, full day.
There is all of that, but only until the wire is tripped. It’s unspeakably wonderful until
the damn wire is tripped and there I am inside of the worst memory I have only I’m not there
I’m still in the moment I was in when the wire tripped, but now the moment has the memory superimposed over it like words stamped across
a poster with a photo as the background. My reality becomes the background and
the memory is the words that traipse across, obscuring
any real view of the photograph itself.
The tripwire could be a word (mine or someone else’s), a thought, the recollection of a memory (perhaps brought on by a building, or driving down a certain street, or hearing a certain stringing of words on the radio). It could be the harmless lack of a response to a message I send, it could be a
breakup. Once it is tripped, I am stuck. There isn’t texture, there’s no glow inside, I’m not sure I even have a body.
No one has seen me, no one ever will. I may never feel anything positive again, and I am utterly, truly alone. I am utterly at the memory’s mercy, anyone it says
that I am with no hopes of being
anyone–or anything–else, ever. Existence becomes static rather than dynamic because
I am triggered. Memory clouds my vision. Was there ever a clear photograph behind the words or has it always been these blocky, irritating words that obscure anything beautiful.
The words aren’t right. The essence of trauma eludes me, even now, as it has me wrapped inside its’ talons. Mercy is that every time I trip the wire is another chance
to put into words this ruthless phenomenon that I and so many others experience daily, weekly, maybe foreverly (I don’t know):
trauma. It is ours, though, and we carry it courageously forward.