It’s a particularly bad time of year for me. This is what it’s like in my mind:
Lost ones, the others, quiet now
Sometimes they scream and cry
Or they yell at each other stop crying
It whimpers in the darkness
Baby, pathetic wretch, weak
Pull yourself together
Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Are you a man or a mouse?
Do you want trouble?
I never wanted trouble. I just didn’t want to show him I was scared. Never show your fear.
Yet it burns in us like a black hole in our chests
Dark night, dead leaves, and smoke
Alone with the wind and the branches moving
Pain is white hot light then darkness
Sorry I didn’t fight harder
Sorry I lost
Sorry I am bad
I’m bad too, like them
I didn’t fight hard enough, I didn’t win
I couldn’t save them
I’m selfish, I saved myself sometimes
I never could win I tried to
Please tell them I’m sorry, if there’s a God please tell them
Stars align and show me how to die
No it’s not an option,
It’s her decision not yours
So we suffer every day?
We breathe pain every day and you say wait
Wait on the time we’ll feel alive again
Wait for the day we take a breath, even the ones who are dead
We’ll come back to life
Cut you down from the tree
Cut your arms free
Open the box and you see the sun
Move, swim, run
You are alive
It’s not alive when you feel like this
It hurts all the time
Days melt into each other, minutes and hours too
People’s faces confuse us, we forget who’s who
What about the good things?
Only the child, and even that is a struggle
To be what she needs and not fail
To be alive for her
To be selfless
When we want to end the pain
And we see no other way
The tunnel is dark
And we’re tired
Because the fires and death are choking us,
But no words come out of my mouth
Clawing for a way out
Before catatonic comes fear that rips your insides out, crushes your mind from the inside.
These are the lives we live
Outside in fresh air but surrounded by death
Or inside with no air and light
Choked and strangled so many times
When we stop breathing we’re there
And they always scream
Or lie still as if dead
Who would look upon this mess
And believe that we can win?
They’re too close. When I listen, I hear them all, frantically talking at once… If I pay attention I can maybe pick out individual voices from the chaos. The pain comes in waves. When it hits it fills me with fear and darkness; claws of hopelessness dig into my brain. If just one of them gets too close, I feel a little of what they’re feeling, but sometimes I feel a lot of it…like they are stepping into my mind, and I see and feel the world the way they do, and I feel the emotional and physical reactions to the trauma. The waves drown me on days like this. They dash me against the rocks until all I feel is their hopelessness and dread, and I become a shattered shell of a human. Some of them beg for death. They want peace and they know no other way. The physical pain can be insane, but it’s always going to hit a breaking point in my brain where I go away and feel nothing. The emotional pain is worse. It’s torture long after the actual torture is over. The loneliness of my childhood seeps into every cell in my body. These children feel like they’re bad, that they’re too much, and they don’t deserve love. They are alone with their sins, sins that are not even theirs, but they own them anyway. I tell them it was the adults that were responsible, you had no choice. No, they say, we could fight. I asked them what happened when they fought, and they said we lose, we always lose. And the little 5 year old boy looks down ashamed because he couldn’t win a fight against grown men. I have to tell them it’s ok, it’s not a fight you ever could have won. You didn’t fail. It’s ok. Even when you gave in because you were scared, you still didn’t want to be part of bad things. Their evil is not yours to own. They’re the bad people’s sins, not yours.
We feel so alone a little girl says to me. I know, I do too. But it’s ok, because even the worst feelings don’t last forever. Sometimes we’re not alone. Sometimes we feel good. Sometimes we even feel joy and happiness. We’re not trapped in the bad time anymore. We’ve grown up. We’re smart and strong, and we’ve gotten through a lot, together. We will work harder to be there for the hurting ones. We have to, because they are part of us. None of us are bad, even the ones who get mad. We’re just coping in different ways, and we can all learn to cope in more healthy ways. We don’t have to get so angry or scared. We can be at peace one day, it’s just really hard right now. We’ll get through the fear. Nothing bad can happen to us anymore. I know you feel like it’s happening, but it’s not. He’s gone. He can’t hurt us. None of them can. The cop is dead. The bad men who are alive just get older and weaker as we get stronger. We need to keep fighting. We’ve done amazing things so far, and we can keep going. We need to. Our daughter needs us.
I don’t want to be alone anymore. I know, it’s difficult. We won’t be forever. It feels like forever. Yeah, sometimes it feels like the bad feelings won’t ever end. But they will. We’re just going through a lot. We’ve done really well in the past year. We stumble and fall, but we always get back up.