Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learning about trauma

I think on the heels of this year, I am traumatized. That sounds dramatic, but I mean it in a very down to earth, functional way. A broken bone is a trauma. A breaking of self - a trauma in the same sense.

This year... wow. I still lack the words to describe what 2012 was. Even encapsulating it to 'within a time frame' feels a little arrogant to me, as if I am daring the Gods to touch 2013 as well. As if, there is a beginning and an end that isn't framed just with birth and death. There is just living, there is just what we have to do each day. The only end is when we cease to be, and every day is a new chance for creation and destruction to arrive in our lives.

I saw a therapist a couple of times this year, once on either side of my trip to Africa. She was exactly what I think I've always wanted in a therapist, and I just can't prioritize it. I go in there and I feel so together, and I know I am not, in many, many ways. I am not together.

I am coming up on the 1-year anniversary of finding out something was wrong. Seeing that tumor on the screen and knowing that it might be something nefarious but not letting myself get scared just yet. How did I do that? It feels like a lifetime ago. Now I do get shaken in ways I didn't before. Lately I find myself looking in the mirror and wondering how being 36 shows up on my face, on my body. Having kids does change you in many ways, but what is aging doing? Why am I suddenly caring about that? I feel more beautiful now than I ever did in my entire life, but these last several days I find myself peering at myself in the mirror. Maybe at some level I know that I no longer recognize myself, and I'm looking again to find something familiar.

I went back and read a lot of this blog and how things went down. I like to write things after I've got some grasp of language for it, which is generally starting to slope down the back end of the experience. I feel like there is no back end to this. It doesn't feel like something that has a beginning and an end, like other things did.

The really interesting thing that inspired me to write was realizing that for the first time in my life and I'll I've experienced, I feel after this year that I've 'gone through' something of note. My life has always been just my life, just like yours is. People react to my story because it stands out to them in some way, but for me, it's just what I lived, there is no comparison to someone else's life (which is SO silly and pointless). But this  last year- a trip to the Redwoods, cancer, Africa, and my mother's death - this feels like I Went Through Something Hard.

In the middle of it all I could say, "It is what it is", and let go of attachment, just breathe in the moment and ride through it. Now I feel like, "WHAT?!" I still feel like I am in shock in many ways. I am meeting anxieties that are new. I am discovering ways of thinking that are strange to others, like the perpetual and constant focus on what will happen when I die, and wondering if it will happen today - will that car hit mine? Will a drunk driver swerve and hit me? Will an earthquake take us? What will happen if I am the only one who lives? What would happen if Randy had to live without me and one of our children, or two of them, or all of them? This is like a ticker tape running through my mind and it never seemed odd to me until I told someone and they were shocked. That made me think- maybe I'm having some anxieties because of What I Went Through. Seems normal, and reasonable.

Here I am, still trying to get my bearings. In many ways I don't recognize myself. In MOST ways, I don't. In precious ways I know myself, exactly who I am, but I feel like earth that has been turned over, the tearing of ways I used to be, now open and in the process of becoming who I am now, who I will be tomorrow. What if I don't like that person? I don't want to be a person who worries about growing old, and yet... I look in the mirror and I hunt for those signs. I know better, and feel silly. I tell myself, this is just a coping mechanism, it is just for now. It isn't drinking, or sleeping around, or doing drugs. It isn't lying, or vandalism. Wait- maybe it is, a little bit of vandalism on my own heart. Oh well. :)

At the end of the day, I am happy again. I am filled with gratitude at almost all times, I feel that these are the places where I recognize myself. I am bitter in some ways but it does not dominate my feelings. It's a secret dark closet where I hide the things I don't want to share with anyone - where I keep my alter ego who is wild, and reckless, and doesn't give a fuck about anyone, or anything, or herself. She is new, I don't know her well yet. Shadow. So many ways it arrives.

Still figuring myself out. Reading a book about trauma, and one about emotionally unavailable mothers. Not reading as much as, it's in my Kindle for when I get the inspiration to crack them. I'm tired of alway having to recover and heal myself from something. Maybe I just get to be churned up/fucked up/whatever for a while, and that's okay.

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