The weather has finally turned towards warm, and we’ve been outside almost non-stop for days. Rio learned to ride her bike, as I may have mentioned. Tonight, she rode it about a mile and a half, to a party at a friend’s house and then home again. That kid just blows my mind.
Serena too. Bumping along home in the bike trailer tonight Serena kept warbling, “I short and stout” like a drunken sailor, which kept cracking me up because my best friend and I have this joke about it being “past your teapot” when you’re too tired to remember the words to the little teapot song.
It’s good. It’s sunshine and water and coloring on the porch steps with chalk for two hours while the little one sleeps in her stroller and the kindergartner shows you how she can write WORDS with CHALK on the STEPS.
It’s also Sexual Assault Awareness month, apparently. It is always sexual assault awareness month here inside my head. I think about surviving my rape every day. It’s like static running through every experience. You get used to it after awhile, but it never goes away.
Lately the background noise is a lot louder. It’s like the film of my life has been double exposed, and in one frame I’m seeing today, here, now, the budding garden and my glorious girls and in the next…you don’t want to know what’s in the next frame. I do not want to know, but I somehow suddenly can’t look away.
This actually started for me a few months ago, this resurgence of all my old trauma. I often feel like I’m in two places in time at once. Not reliving the assaults, exactly, but seeing them happen again, witnessing them from the vantage point of my life now, as a healthy, safe 30-something mom.
I can’t describe how much it hurts. In some ways it’s worse, now, because when it happened in real life it was happening to me. Now it’s happening to this scared, vulnerable fucked-up kid I used to be, who isn’t as tough as she thinks she is.
What’s been killing me for months is that I can’t do anything to help that younger, more vulnerable me. I can only remember. I lie awake more often than I want to admit wishing there was some way I could go back in time and save my younger self all that pain. Or even a little bit of it. I’d settle for that.
Today, I realized there is something I can do to help, and I’ve already done it. I packed up some of the pain and trauma of being raped and stored it in – excuse this metaphor please – a little box in my head, to be opened when I was mighty enough to cope with feeling it. And I am now, and I’m feeling it. It hurts like hell, but I feel a little better imagining it helped me twelve years ago to delay this bit of grief and rage till now.
So sometimes I’m not posting and it’s because we’re playing outside blowing bubbles. Sometimes I’m not posting because I’m feeling too fragile and crowded by memories I don’t want to inflict on anyone. Sometimes those are the same times. This too shall pass.