And I was stuck in an in between…

clock midnight

One of the amazing things about having writing pacts with writing friends is the grace we give each other when we have had a crazy or overwhelming week… the permission for kindness to self over following through on a commitment.  The push to follow through when it is just procrastination.  You can follow my friend’s “pact prompts” and blog here.

My friend pulled a line from one of my writings and gave it to me, saying it could be expanded upon.  That is our pact… we, any given week, have three “pulled lines” from our writing that we can use as a prompt for expansion (or for a total left turn).  This week’s chosen line is from a Writing Your Grief: Round One piece I did back in the December course:

“I don’t believe it will ever go away completely. Baring a heart and brain transplant.  And even then… the body remembers.”

The body remembers.  It remembers everything.  It remembers things the brain never even knew… or was forced to forget by its coping mechanisms.

When I didn’t remember, consciously… the body remembered.  It reacted to things that made no sense for it to be reacting to.

I would startle awake as I drifted to sleep.  The very act of drifting to sleep made me startle awake.  That moment… in the in between… A ‘tween’ place… that moment had something in it that the body remembered and the mind never knew.

It still doesn’t.  But I don’t always startle awake in that in between anymore.  Sometimes.  But not EVERY time.  Not like before.

It was the tween between wake and sleep.  Perhaps the scariest tween for me.

But there are so many more.  There’s the tween between good and bad.  Between light and dark.  Between black and white.

In this show I used to watch, Charmed, there was this episode where a little girl was being terrorized by trolls… but the trolls could only get to her when she was in an in between.  A tween place.  A shadow (light and dark).  A doorway (in and out).  And… midnight… when the world becomes one giant tween place.

I don’t know for certain and I probably never will… but I think that my world came crashing down around me in that giant tween place.  That hour of midnight.

Both times.

That June.  And that April.  Both.

And oddly enough… it was a tween between two months.  At midnight that night… March became April.  Two tweens together… me falling apart.

Happy April Fools.

Advertisements

And it was an infinite…

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to be sharing some of the writings prompted in the Writing My Grief courses I’ve been taking through Refuge in Grief.  Today, I wrote twice to the same prompt, so I figured that was a good piece to start with:  

Day Three, Take Two

“The same leg is cut off time after time.”

This made me think of phantom limb syndrome.  I learned about this years ago watching a documentary about Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack.  I’ve kind of used the logic behind this phenomenon to make my own term of “phantom syndrome”: seeing ghosts of things that aren’t really there.  I mostly created this term when my childhood cat died after 19 years (we had her for 17) and I would frequently think I saw her wandering the house or sleeping where she had always slept, in my periphery.  Misfires of the brain expecting to see what it has always seen.

This phenomenon is different now, with this, with trauma, maybe?  Because this isn’t a misfire of the brain expecting to see what it has ALWAYS seen or experience what it has always experienced.  Not for me.  Not to me; this wasn’t chronic or habitual, right?  The brain can’t have any expectation of this happening again because it happened in this isolated incident, right?

So then, why does it?  It sees things that aren’t there, especially in “like” circumstances, especially in my peripheral vision.  It makes my body feel things that aren’t happening whenever it feels like it.  This wasn’t CHRONIC trauma.  So why does it have to happen over and over again?  Why must the same leg be amputated again and again?  Why is there a novelty in the vast emptiness, endlessly?

Chronic: persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.

Habitual: done or doing constantly.

Chronic: long-lasting and difficult to eradicate.

Habitual: regular; usual.

Eradicate: destroy completely; put an end to.

Constantly: continuously over a period of time; always.

Round and round the words we go.

What’s a “long time”?  What does “long-lasting” mean?  Can something be “difficult to eradicate” if it had a start, a middle and a finish?  What’s a “period of time”?  Words just don’t work here, and that frustrates me.  The definitions aren’t black and white; they don’t define.  Words cause constant failure and disappointment.

Continuously: marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time, or sequence : continuing without intermission or recurring regularly after minute interruptions.

Done.  Full stop.  No more circles.

Instead of trying to make words work for me, when they so clearly can’t… I’m going to make TIME work for me.  Using John Green’s brilliance on math: “I am not a mathematician, but I know this. There is an infinite between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

Infinity: a number greater than any assignable quantity or countable number.

I don’t know what “long time”, “long-lasting” or “period of time” means, numerically or definitionally.  I do know that the experience lasted for an infinite period of time; it’s infinite because it is impossible to measure or calculate.

Just like its damage.

It was chronic and habitual and continuous and constant in the infinite it went on for.  Maybe when my brain decides to misfire, it’s just revisiting its more scarring infinite.  Much like I have to remind my heart that my cat is gone and my mind is just playing tricks on me… I have to patiently remind my heart that I am safe, that that infinite isn’t happening anymore… that that infinite isn’t going to happen again.

And then someone pulled the trigger

caution

I am sure that there are people in the world who are triggered into a downward spiral of thinking and emotions when they read something that has a specific connotation to them and their experiences. Because I am sure that these people exist, this is not a blog against people who put trigger warnings above posts they put up that may contain sensitive content for some readers. I appreciate that people take responsibility for what they are putting out there and recognize that reading about situations can “trigger” certain individuals.

As someone who has endured some pretty messed up circumstances, trigger warnings don’t faze me. Sometimes I read the warning, but I never let it prevent me from reading the content. In the past, depending on where I was, these warnings might have made me bookmark the page for another time; but I always read it. And I’m not triggered.

Everyday, we are bombarded with images, words, sounds and situations we have absolutely no control over. Or I am, at least (if you’re not, I’d love to know your secret). We have only seconds to react to these things. Radio ads, overheard conversations, interactions with or actions of perfect strangers. These are the things that trigger me the most; not a link I knowingly clicked on in the privacy of my kitchen or living room.

When I hear footsteps behind me when I’m walking… when someone approaches a hug from a certain angle or doesn’t let go when I want them to… when I hear certain words spoken aloud or when people say certain phrases to me (phrases that everyone says, idioms, catch-phrases, basic socialization)… when my subconscious peripheral sees something that isn’t there… Then my mind is triggered into a flashback or a negative thought or a lie.

When I read a blog about someone else’s horrible situation, the only thing triggered in me is compassion for them and rage or disappointment over the situation. When I read the comments on the same blog, I am triggered into writing a blog about triggers.