It’s time for some brutal and painful honesty tonight, gentle readers.. The type of honesty you don’t want to admit even to yourself: the type of honesty that brings the hot painful tears to both the reader and the author. The type of honesty that only freshly opened, never healed, very deep wounds can evoke.
First, you should note I’ve no clue how long this will be or where it will go. You take this journey as I take this journey; blind and fucking batshit crazy until we reach our port of call.
I’ve thought long and hard about my situation, my life, the absolute bullshit I’ve endured, what I let happen to me. Yes, let. I have been victimized, but the victim is one role I don’t fucking play. I was, am, as culpable of what happened as my ex-husband, no matter how I want to cut it. I stayed, after all, regardless of my reasons. I let him hit me, attack me, beat me half senseless, beat me nearly to death, quite literally. I stood firm in my resolve and refusal to falter or take a knee with him when, for my safety, I should have bowed. But I remain proud to this day that I stood firm, stupid as it may have been.
I’ve often thought the re-living of each night was the worst part… The PTSD dreams that woke me as I screamed out every bit of rage, hurt, anguish, disbelief, and hope I never screamed or uttered while he attacked me. I’ve woken in a cold feverish sweat, throat constricted, unable to breathe because I couldn’t get those screams out. I’ve watched those nights replay hundreds – literally – of times while I could do nothing to change them in my mind. I’ve hurt friends & family, physically, while they tried to restrain me when I sunk so far in those flashbacks I didn’t know who I was, who was hurting me, who was helping me..I just knew I was being hurt and I had to fight back, but I couldn’t. You can change a dream, gentle readers. You can never change a memory…and when PTSD flashbacks hit, all you can do is ride them out and hope to fuck someone is there to catch you when you wake from them…that someone is there holding you telling you it’s okay, because right now, it really is, despite what your traitorous mind is telling you. And those moments, those hours, those seconds hurt so. fucking. much. You wake to realize, again, they were real. The scars throb. You are weak and helpless from fighting those same demons again that you just can’t seem to escape. And when you’re extremely lucky, your eyes unfog to see a face you trust and love staring back at you….eyes filled with worry, concern, hurt, tears because there is nothing they can do but BE there.
Even years later, these moments can come back and rip you apart again. A slight movement out of your periphery, a sound, a smell…it can all rip you back to ground zero again. And after a while, you gain control of a sort and can ride them out, but they don’t hurt less. And even then, you hope, you wish for that face, that hand, that whispered word of someone you love and trust to let you know you’re okay. I have been very lucky that a handful of times, someone HAS been there. Only a handful, yes..but a very god damn important and appreciated handful.
But this is not what I am writing about, really. I’ve found something that, now that I’ve a modicum of control over my PTSD, feels even worse.
There are days, hours, minutes, times when you just fucking hate every god damn thing and person in the fucking world. Bar no fucking one. You don’t want to see the fucking world burn; you want to pour the kerosene and light the god damn match because FUCK YOU ALL. There is nothing beautiful, nothing sacred, nothing worth NOT setting it all on fire for. There are no redeeming qualities, people, actions, times, places, emotions…nothing. You want to scream your rage at everyone and everything. You want to break something beautiful, because that is what happened to you. Something beautiful and sacred inside YOU was broken, stripped bare, ripped apart and pissed on by someone you fucking loved. SOMEONE YOU FUCKING LOVED. SOMEONE YOU TRUSTED. Someone you gave everything, more than you had to give, to. You were a fucking fool. You were played, an idiot and you let this god damn shit happen to you when you fucking KNEW better. And you let your love and idiotic hope get in the way. YOU did. It is their fault for hurting you on purpose..but it is yours for staying when you knew you should go. And all the old guilt and pain tears through you again. All the shame..the tears.. You can almost feel the blood gushing over your skin again..not trickling; gushing. You hear the words shouted, whispered, spoken in a distant echo in your head, and you can’t help but wonder if they were right all along… You don’t want to, you want to fight it..but you wonder any way. And even when every part of your being knows you’ll snap out of it, it’s just a moment, an exhaled breath in time, you wonder. You hurt. You choke up from the unreleased screams. Your fists clench, nails digging in to your palms. Every fucking nerve on your entire back and shoulders is on fire, wanting, NEEDING a touch to stifle their vibrations. Your heart and soul push against the physical confines provided by your body, trying, please, let me out, please, fuck, stop the hurt, god damn it, PLEASE.
You blink to hold back the tears, or to release them. You sniff and realize you’ve been holding your breath. You try to smile. You try to focus on something, anything, anywhere, anyone good. You force yourself to take calm even breaths. You try to hide every ember of pain brought suddenly, forcefully back to where it cannot be ignored. You know you’re not worthless. You know you’re not useless. You know people love you, and you love them. You know you are alive and don’t want to die. Suicide never crossed my mind, it never will, but for some, it does. It is not an acceptable option. This, too, shall pass, and you know that, too. So you sit, pace, stand.. lean against that wall, counter, wherever, slowly clenching and unclenching your fists. eyes closed, tears running silently down your cheeks to make a pool of pain at your feet, your lap, wherever.
You come back to reality, painfully squeezed through all your hurts, another re-birth, covering you with fluids of love, hate, tears, desolation, hope, and sometimes fresh blood.
You take that one shaky cleansing breath to steady your nerves however much they might steady..close your eyes and try to shake off that heavy shroud of your past that still threatens to overtake the heart and soul you’ve managed to rebuild since it happened. You feel the old wounds ooze a little less..but never quite heal. And you avoid a fucking mirror or looking at yourself at any and all god damn costs..because, no matter how old, the scars stand out. They pulsate and throb and bring a poignant reminder..and they always do. You can try to ignore them, but you always.. ALWAYS.. feel them, no matter how large or small. And you fucking hope.. pray..scream..wish..that this is the last time. You don’t know how much more you can take, it’s been so god damn much…and no matter how much you love yourself, in these moments you hate everything about you, no matter how trivial.
And deep down.. you know it’s not the last time. And you worry…was that the worst? Will the next be it? Can I withstand another?
The simple answer is yes, you can. If you so choose. But sometimes giving up tastes so good on your tongue…you can feel the waves gently lapping at your feet, and all it would take is walking in to the ocean of hurt, and succumbing. For some, this is suicide..for others, it’s just..letting go and giving up fighting the hurt this time. And succumbing..well, let’s say it’s harder to come back from. I’ve never been much of a quitter..but even I’ve had issues trudging through my hells alone. And it is always alone, no matter who is with you…unless you have that significant other who TRULY “gets” you inside and out…so I hear.
Every crack, every chink in the armour adds up. And without it being patched up, repaired, they just add to each other until you break. No one can repair the cracks fully themselves. And not every wound scabs or scars. Some just ooze or bleed freely until someone comes along who can kiss them gently and make you really want to heal.
So you find ways to cope.
You smoke. You dance. You fight. You love too god damn much, or none at all. You sing. You cry. You drink. You hang from hooks. You get new tattoos or piercings. You paint. You fuck the pain away. You reach for any, all coping mechanisms that will cause a cessation of the hurt, the betrayal, the shame, even for just a moment, a breath, a single blink of an eye.
The scary part.. the absofuckinglutely most painful, horror-causing and terrifying part..is that the only REAL way to get rid of it is to hand it to someone else.. Let them hold, mold, and caress it all. Let them look at it inside and out, sideways, every which way…And let them throw it away, step in to you, put their arms around you, and SHOW you you’re not that person any more. You’re not in that place. You’re not your past. THEY are not your past.. And give them access to ALL of you..your fears, dreams, hopes, hurts, loves, hates, passions, numbness, to your heart, soul, being…and hope they not only don’t judge you poorly, but love you despite it, and allow you to do the same with them and their pain, with them.
As with happiness, pain is better when shared, not because it grows as with happiness, but because the burden is lessened. As with love, it is not done until it is given away. As with life, sometimes you just have to ride out a storm to see the beautiful full moon-lit night just over the current downpour.
I guess, in the meantime.. suit up and don’t forget your poncho and wellies. They won’t do much good; you’re going to get soaked. Cling to whatever you must to get through these times. Write a fucking blog! Share the shit you don’t want anyone to fucking know, because you’re supposed to be the god damn strong motherfucking rock who can’t break. Write your tears across a digital notebook..leave a written representation of each and every scar. Talk to a friend or loved one who will just shut the fuck up and listen. Dance. Paint. Drink. Fuck. Write music. Scream. Just hang on to whatever you can…I can pretty well promise this won’t be the last fucking wave of the storm..but if you can hang on to something.. just one small god damn motherfucking thing..one chance, one hope, one smile..you can make it past this wave to a moonlit respite.
And for fuck’s sake, appreciate and enjoy – fully – every respite you get. Chances are you’ll get caught, alone, standing outside enjoying the view, and be drenched again.
PTSD is a rocky ocean with no land in sight. You are a small dinghy, often with broken oars. Fuck it. When the storm comes, dance in the god damn rain. The storms will always come; you only have this chance, right now, to decide how you fight this bout.
And I always dance..even when I bleed or cry or hurt…even if I’m flat on my back or curled around myself on the floor. What other choice do I have?
Your past will come undone
when you lay it in another’s hands
The wounds will scab, the scars will fade
If you’ve strength to trust they’ll get it done.
The fears can flee, the hurt can change
The pain recedes, dreams re-arrange
Nightmarish screams now moans of pleasure
Tears can dry; replaced by laughter
Wipe away your tears, my dear
Let me hold your pain
Let me swallow all your fears
Until you dance again.
Let me pull you close to me
Let me quench the flames.
Wipe away your fears, my dear
Let me heal your pain.