As a toddler, I had night terrors, the peculiar feeling of being cognizant of forces at play which can be felt in sleep. Terrorized to the point of screaming. They faded as I grew. Now, I suffer PTSD, as a result of having lived a dark dream. To confront the places of terror, and rewrite my own endings, was my weapon of choice. Many years ago, I revisited places of trauma. Instead of being left bloodied, broken and half-dead, my husband could recite a poem, I could leave flowers, and I could walk away. Not a speck of blood upon me. It rewrote the script, and I felt stronger. Over many years, I began to heal. It is a process, a series of steps. Walking to the letterbox whilst an unfamiliar car with a driver was parked outside was a moment of triumph. Listening to a song which once hooked me into the past was cause for rejoicing. Climbing a staircase, picking up my phone… Learning to be a functioning human.
The past few weeks have been tough. I have retreated somewhat, which fills me with pain, though not surprise. I have had a book published which details my dark dream. The media have interviewed me for hours on end, dredging up every painful moment, then leaving me to deal with the fallout. I was on a train with my daughter, travelling into the city for a day out. As we approached the station in the suburb where one of my villain’s lives, I could suddenly see his face. I could smell him. I recalled his deep guttural voice and the hollow eyes which contained no depth. He was there in that carriage. The other day, it was the anniversary of my fall. The day that changed everything. The reason I have had to pay a few home deposits to surgeons, the reason my kidneys are damaged and I self-catheterize. The reason I had to have a caesarean and was in unbelievable pain in pregnancy. The reason my daughter has to adapt to having a mother who needs to lie down mid-way through the day and can’t do all the physical activities other mums do with their kids. The reason I cry in the shower each morning from pain, so my daughter can’t hear.
A friend met me at my gym and we worked out together. We screwed up at our noses as a smelly, muscle man lifted weights, then had lunch together. I was so grateful she was there with me, my friend. I took my daughter to her singing lesson, and delighted in hearing her practice her scales. I chatted to the teacher’s grandmother, and revelled in discussing the frivolous subject of candles. I had dinner at the shopping centre with my child and husband and did the groceries. Songs from the past came over the speaker, and I was furious. Why tonight? Why are they playing songs he collected and strung together in a cloying, threatening mix-tape? I got home and burst into tears. The distraction of the day was over. I was here with my soul and my body’s cellular memories. Grateful and sorrowful at the same time. How could I not be thankful? Somebody wanted to kill me and yet I am still here. I have married, and had a spectacular child. I have a multitude of friends who love me deeply and I them. I laugh often and much and am resilient. Nothing much shakes me, certainly not the little hiccups in life. Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou!
Sorrow… Hmm, I have that too. As a mother, I grieve for that child, put in an impossible situation and left to fend for herself. She did the best she could. She screams within my heart that somebody hurt her, and it’s not fair. No, it’s not fair my darling. I will spend the rest of my life loving you, and protecting you as best I can. Memories get stirred up, songs are played. Something on the news reminds me of yesterday. I try to take each moment as it comes. Right now, my husband and daughter are playing with our baby guinea pigs, and I am in the office, listening to the sweet trill of my budgerigar, Cuddles, who has decided to join me. This moment is all that matters right now.