These past couple weeks have been hard. And not that cute hard where I’m just overwhelmed by school work. No, it is the triggered, how-can-I-escape-this type of hard, where I just want to crawl under a rock and NOT watch the news. I could write a blog about it, but the truth is my blog has always been a safe place. It has been an outlet for raw moments of my anxiety, an extra zone to work through an issue in therapy, or just a place to express moments of joy. Even giving this intro pulls forth the moments of feeling my soul being torn from me, and feeling thoroughly alone through my traumatization. So instead, I will be blogging about what it means to me to finally be able to laugh, sing to music off key (not to mention as loud as I want) in my car again, and to look forward to my future instead of being entrenched in my past.
For a long time there was no laughter in my life. There were moments of joy, but actual ribs hurting laughter was non-existent. Instead catatonic binge watching of Lord of the Rings was my reality. I only watched LOTR because nothing in it could remind me of my life. So on it played, with my body unmoving and unseeing. Laughter came back to me slowly. It began with condescending smiles, and transformed into my obese dog farting so viciously that my husband and I are overcome with mirth (we obviously have the sense of humor of 9 years olds). When I even chuckle, I know what a privilege it is. There is no guarantee that life will be pretty, or that trauma will not happen. There is also no right that a person will be able to escape their pain. I know for me, I never thought I would. Laughter is the most beautiful sound in the world.
I remember walking into therapy one day and quietly revealing that I did not sing in my car anymore. My voice did not crack, there were no deep cries of sorrow. Instead it was flatness. All I felt for a long time was this bottomless depth of not caring. Even more aptly, I was left hollow. Noticing that I did not sing along to my favorite songs anymore was just another expression of it. I do not remember when I started singing in my car again. There was not a moment of AH HA! Instead it subtly started, until finally it was as if the absence had never occurred. Something so simple, can so easily be taken for granted. I used to. I never thought about it. But when it was gone, I would be acutely aware of the scenes in TV shows or movies where girls would go on a road trip and be lost in their lyrics, or when their heart was broken and they’d angrily scream break up songs. They had something I did not - a sense of being grounded in this world. Today, I sing in my car. I was not gifted with vocal chords of the gods, but I let lose my joy. I also feel gratitude every single time it happens. It is a reminder that today I am present. I love when it pours forth.
Today I have actual goals. Sometimes they are half-formed, fuzzy ideas of what I want my life to look like. Other times my ambitions are so clear I cannot imagine how I did not see them sooner. I have plans for my life, specifically a five year plan that is constantly evolving (because I’m completely indecisive and completely okay with this). Plans were something that I thought I had lost forever. I took a gap year off from university originally because I thought there was no point. Calling it a gap year meant I had not actually given up on dreaming, when I actually had. I was lost in what had transpired. Occasionally I would come up for air, but I never escaped the pain. It was an unwanted, unappreciated, gift that consistently reminded me what was taken from me. Imagining a future was for people who had not survived what I had. The worst part? I was stuck on victim blaming myself. Saying phrases to myself that I could never say to another human being. But there it was, the shame almost as strong as the mutilation to my very sense of being. Only the past existed, and I was drowning in it. At this stage in my recovery from it, I rarely think of the past. I am too busy plotting how to get my obese dog on a diet without my husband noticing, or how I will get my son into a full time preschool so I can work next summer. I have a future I look forward to cultivating, which is fucking unbelievable.
I cannot control which news stories pop up on my phone (at least I don’t think so, I have no idea how technology works), and I am powerless over what feelings the said news brings up. But what I can change is what I choose to take away from it. I could so easily become lost in the memories again, they are still there and I still address it them in therapy, but I would rather live for today. I was dissolved into nothing for too long, and I would rather focus on what I have evolved into rather than what was done to me. #MeToo is an incredibly important movement for this world, and Dr. Ford’s testimony was bravery epitomized, but it triggers me. It drains me remembering what happened to me but also how non-unique my experience was. I could become embroiled in rage, liquefy into complete hopelessness, or I could say how amazing it is to live again. I choose to focus on my happiness, maybe it is selfish, but god it is better than watching 18 hours of LOTR straight (which I have done way too many times to count, and yes, I realize this is not something to brag about). Today I choose my bliss, because fuck I am grateful for it.