I have listened to this piece of music at least a dozen times, and each time… I am left feeling like it was created in the deepest part of my mind… the part that knows how to do the maths on ‘what happened’. I have listened to just about every song I have found of ‘Fever Ray’ – and I feel the same.
The repeating thought that crashes into my skull, is that those of us who experience the worst of the worst at the unusually beautiful hands of those we have placed so much trust and love in – are left walking a road that may be parallel to the ‘happy people’ around us – but is far from the same. Our roads are littered with triggers, bodies, memories, flashbacks, smells, colours, pungent reminders of why we will never…. never be able to climb a fence, or hop on a bus and walk a different road.
The roads we are on, will and always be roads we have to walk alone. No one can hold our hands. There is a veil between what we see and what we feel, and that lingering odour of guilt and remorse and the broken reflections we see in the mirror every day – those things can not be shared.
We can be encouraged, sure, but the roots of the cast iron paving that our feet are planted on was made, just for us. Created by the torturers and the heart-thieves that saw the beauty as weakness and waged war on our souls. Out right mind obliterating war. They won. Our hearts were ripped from our chests, our minds were stamped on and we were left to die. Bleeding out. Bleeding in. Screaming and silently…
The dark irony is that after the last ten years on this road that belongs to me and only me, I became more and more the monster that I feared the most. My growing lack of empathy. My deep dislike of people as a whole – probably because I simply don’t identify with ‘happy’,and small talk, and cheerful positivity.
Johnny Cash adopted a song originally by Nine Inch Nails – and the words… in the four lines, “I hurt myself today, to see if I could feel, I focus on the pain, the only thing thats real..”
All the words… I cry every time. “What have I become? Everyone I know, goes away in the end. And you could have it all, my empire of dirt, I will let you down… I will make you hurt. If I could start again, I million miles away, I would keep myself. I would find a way…”
We refine our lying skills. Our fake smiles are so convincing that even those closest to us are unaware that we are actually keeled over inside, wishing we could just sleep, or stop thinking, or stop hurting.
I laughed at someone who told me they were suicidal. The laugh came out before I had time to stop it – but I laughed because in my mind, if you really don’t want to be alive anymore, you wont tell anyone. You wont suggest it – or they may stop you. I spent a ridiculous amount on a ridiculous amount of drugs and alcohol, with the intention of stopping my heart.
I had a seizure… causing my stomach to basically pump itself, and I was so angry… so very angry. I wasn’t relieved, and I didn’t want to believe it wasn’t my time. I was just…. so angry. It was blackness in my heart and mind and I NEEDED it to stop. The guilt, the rage and the pain.
My family was an afterthought. I have three brothers – and parents that would all grieve for a while and then get on with it. I didn’t even care if I went to hell, if there is one. I would probably be more comfortable there than in amongst a whole bunch of heavenly happy people.
My point – is that recovery from trauma inst about learning to forgive or move on. It is about learning to stand up straight and be alone in your mind – and still somehow manage to let others be kind. But first you have to learn to tell the difference between love and need, codependency and healthy sharing. That is all hard. Setting boundaries for other people feels… alien.
The hardest part for me has been the acute sharp awareness that my life experiences have left me being someone who others more often than not – find hard to be around. My warped perception of what is weak and what isn’t has made me someone who says what I think and I mean what I say… and in a society where people have been taught to be so correct – it seldom washes well.
I have been told I am hard, void of empathy and sharp worded. Perhaps I am – to those I don’t care about. But to the few people one this wretched planet that I do care about – I am the opposite. The reason I am able to be both – I think – is because I my approach to people changed ‘innocent until proven guilty’ to ‘I will assume you are as fickle and shallow as most, until I see and feel otherwise.’ I used to want to make sure that everyone was happy and that I was seen as a good person. Now, I much prefer that I am somewhat unapproachable and that those who know me for even a short time, know that if they try to harm, bully or use me in any way I am more likely to rip their throats out and hand the remains back them on a silver tray than to oblige and be agreeable.
So if you are one of those unharmed happy people that looks at people like me, and you don’t understand why we cant just relax and smile – just remember that the room you are standing in, even if you are standing right next to us – is NOT the same room we are standing in. Our rooms are filled with more clutter and less light than yours. We are weighted and heavy and self doubting and stuck in a the maze that is our own brains. That doesn’t make us selfish – it means we are still navigating our own roads and you cant give us directions, because you have no idea what our road looks like, to us.
When we want to talk about it, if we do, we will. But in the mean time. Just love us for who we are, and have some faith in our abilities to amble forward at the pace we can manage and let us be awkward in the way we breathe. The way we dance, and the way we see.