Pretending is what I have always done best. Writing out my heart has broken down much of the wall standing between me and freedom.
I don’t need a wall anymore, but I know it’s still there. I think I keep it, because I find comfort in its presence. It was built to protect me from all the things, and has many times saved me.
When I’m feeling disconnected, it serves as a piece of old furniture that might remind me what home smells like or provide the safety of “ghouls” during a game of tag.
The craziest part is there aren’t any skeletons left in my closet to keep hidden, and the only feelings the wall induces is loneliness.
It’s like a heavy sweater I know I probably won’t need, but bring to the party, “just in case.” Awkwardly, I carry it from conversation to conversation, trying not to focus on it while it weighs on me. I want to set it down, to ask someone to take it from me, but I’m also terrified to let it out of my sight. Because even though I can’t remember the last time I needed it, even though it doesn’t even fit me anymore, I can’t imagine being without it.
Alcohol helped until it didn’t, cigarettes gave me a corporeal excuse for feeling lousy, and I have no more vices left. Sometimes I wish I could just unknow the fact that nothing will ever fully take the sting away. I just have to hum along until the song changes. Time and experience has taught me that it will.
I know that everything is okay — that I’m not in any of those horrible places right now. I’ve self-talked myself off the ledge and reminded myself 1000 times that I’m safe and surrounded by love. But my system doesn’t always trust me, and I’m wired for sound just in case.
Just in case something terrible happens, I’ll definitely be prepared. Just in case I’m not 100% safe — in case he’s not who I think he is. In case there is danger lurking where I can’t see.
Because trauma has changed me, and my reality is not always reflective of what’s real. Writing these truths has has shined a brilliant light on the sick circles I run. It helps remind me how far I’ve come and the work I still have to do.