I’ve had a really rough start to 2017. Really rough.
I’ve avoided posting here. I’ve still been writing: I’ve written poems, prose and scribble. I’ve written pages, paragraphs and post-it notes. But I’ve not shared them here (with the exception of Broken Mirror). I didn’t want to turn emhawkerblog into emohawkerblog.
Something I thought would never happen to me – never thought could happen to me, and certainly not at the hands of the people who did it – happened to me. And to my children.
I’m not going to go into the details of what happened. But I’ve learnt that one of the hardest parts of dealing with trauma is allowing yourself to define it as ‘trauma’ in the first place. It’s deciding not to worry that people will defend the perpetrators as ‘good people’ who did what they did out of ‘love’, that people will ask if what happened was ‘really that bad’, or that people will point at your actions, or your non-actions, or even your children (?!) and suggest that you somehow brought it on yourselves. That the perpetrators are in fact, somehow, the real victims of the situation.
I’ve retreated into myself this year. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I think my mind decided to protect me without seeking my permission.
It’s tried to protect my children, too. I’ve consoled them, cried with them, tried to make them laugh. But laugh at other things, not laugh this off. Never laugh this off.
How do you teach your children that some things are just inexplicable? That you know that they don’t understand why or how something happened? That it’s good that they don’t understand why or how something happened, because there is no acceptable excuse for what was done?
That you’ll do all you can to keep them safe, but sometimes mum and dad just can’t protect them? That we’re just as shocked at what happened as they are, and that sometimes you just can’t see things coming?
It is so difficult to walk the tightrope, trying to make things seem okay in your kids’ worlds without glossing over awful things. Trying to ensure they understand that something was every kind of wrong without belabouring the point every time they ask about it.
Not to mention constantly worrying that your anxiety is feeding into theirs.
I don’t feel like me at the moment. I feel more like me than I did some months ago, but I’m still not ‘me’. Sometimes I don’t recognise myself at all. I feel permanently anxious. I’m jumpy. The sound of the doorbell still makes me panic. I constantly check my surroundings, peering out my front window before leaving my house, scanning number plates in the street and examining faces in crowds.
And I’m devastated. I’m angry and I’m scared and I’m anxious and I’m jumpy and I’m gut-wrenchingly, soul-crushingly devastated.
I used to think of myself as an optimist. The glass wasn’t just always half full; there was clearly more water in it than not.
But not so much these days. And that’s okay. I’m not aiming for optimism anymore. I’m aiming for feeling safe. I’m aiming for more laughter. I’m aiming for control. I’m aiming for balance.
I’m aiming to see that the glass is neither half full nor half empty. The glass has some water in it up to a certain point, and then some air, and that’s just how it is.
Life is what it is. Life will bring what it will bring.
And I will feel safe in it again.
I wrote much of this post some weeks ago. I’m feeling safer these days. Not safe. Not yet. But safer.
I have missed this space, but haven’t wanted to ‘infect’ it. So this is my wordy purge of icky feelings to make way for the positive. PUUUUUUUURGE. It’s helped. It really has.
And now, let’s get back to regular scheduled emhawkerblog programming.
What form should that take? What would you like to see around here? I’m all ears! And by ears, I mean comments section.