“Trauma tries to erase us. Oppression tries to erase us. Ignorance tries to make us disappear so we don’t mess with the tyranny of the status quo. We were taught to stay silent, to smile while bleeding, to pretend it wasn’t so bad. We were tricked into thinking our stories were shameful and stupid. Writing and speaking these exquisite truths – the truths about our story, our gender, our sexuality, our races, our biochemistry, our memories, our dreams – and revealing the ways in which we heal and keep on healing, this is how we fight for our lives. And this is how we win.” – Caroline Harvey
A friend posted this quote on Facebook recently and it instantly resonated with me. There are some days where I just feel instantly defeated from the beginning, like the cards in the deck are stacked against me while I’m still asleep and I just have the misfortune of waking up to everything being piled on in a way I can’t look away from or ignore. And then some days, I wake up without the overwhelming sense of the world crashing down on my shoulders. Those days, I feel like I can pause, at least for a moment and breathe and even if that’s the only moment of peace that I get within my skin for the rest of the day, it’s a relief. Lately I’ve been lucky to have had a string of good days, those days where I can breathe throughout the day, where I can smile even, where it doesn’t feel like my skin itself is the enemy, muscles twitching uncomfortably, leaving me twitching and agitated.
When I left the hospital last week, I was glad to be home not just because psychiatric units are uncomfortable and assuming of all of your agency but also because I felt ready to be home. I know that things will never return to the way they were two years ago when I had not begun to scratch the surface of the years of trauma that I had shoved down and assumed buried forever. I’m not the same person that I was then, but in some ways I think that’s for the better. There are some ways in which my life is more difficult now, for sure, but I think that person was on a collision course with something very dark and if I had not begun to deal with my scars, I would still be hurtling along that trajectory at a frightening velocity. I am still fighting with myself to not pretend many days that things are okay, to make out that that things are not as bad as they really are because it is what I’ve always done and it is what I was taught to do. But the road to recovery is a much slower one, the path is rocky, it’s uphill with many switchbacks and the truth is that there’s no quick way to get through this, much as I wish there were. I’m not patient, but I’m learning because that’s the only way to be these days.
Tomorrow I hope for peace, for as many breaths as I can have it for. That is my goal. Start small. Not that reaching for the stars is bad, but too much is daunting and that doesn’t accomplish anything in the long run.