Trauma courses through my veins it races through my mind. Simply seeing a car on the side of the road opened the floodgate of memories that have been stuffed down so far only flashes sneak through, but now they flow as free as thought. I wrote 12,000 words in twenty four hours,12,000 words. I think that’s the word count needed for a short novel. My entire traumatic life in 12,000 words the raw, the real, the vulgar. It is vulgar, the details often are.
The details are unimaginable and I’m not sure which is worse, the imagination or reality. What do my loved ones imagine when words like trafficking, bartering, me too, and sexual trauma are spoken or are included as hashtags in my Instagram posts? Is their imagination worse than the reality of what I endured? Do I unleash what really happened all at once? 12,000 words! I don’t think I’ve ever just sat down and written that much in only two sessions. That’s all it took in the course of twenty four hours.
Do those words hold healing balm or destruction? Maybe both. If I publish, my friends and family will want to support me and go out and buy a book but do I really want them to do that? It’s not really for them this future book. It’s for those like me, or those still in the place I once was. It’s a beacon to those that have suffered and need to see that there is another side to trauma like this. To trauma that eats away and liberates at the same time. This type of trauma can bring you to your knees and lift you to heights you never imagined.
A psychologist once told me that I’m miraculous. Some think I’m lucky to be where I am today with what I’ve survived. I think none of those are true. I think that grit and determination are what got me to where I am today. The realization that I am worth more than property to be leased out to the highest bidder.
When I left he told me “You will never make it on your own.” Those words were my anthem my motivating force. Whenever I couldn’t serve one more beer at the local ice house to put food on the table I heard those words and I did it. When I was lonely and longed to find a partner, I remembered his words and pushed through till the right one came along. When I went back to school and was ready to give up I remembered his words. Late night feedings and early morning risings, I remembered his words. When I crossed the stage I laughed at his words because I already knew what my response would be from this point forward until the end of my days, “Of course I can.”
His voice isn’t always in my head but at my darkest most vulnerable moments I hear his words and a fire is ignited. Never again would I succumb to what little others think of me, in fact he didn’t think little of me, he was scared, scared that I would no longer need him, scared he would no longer have control. His words weren’t a reflection of me they were a reflection of him. I know that now.
There is a quote that sits on my mantel and deep in my heart. It’s the spark I needed to go back to school and it’s what I hear when I’m unsure of my next step. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Today it is that quote that inspires me, his merely reminds me of where I came from and she reminds me that there is so much more left to do.