A tight ball of anxiety still sits on a throne in the pit of my stomach. Two years and counting and I still can’t let go of the emotional trauma that my time in Italy put me through. My trust in everyone, especially men, was irrevocably shattered. My world was flipped and I’ve had vertigo ever since. I’m struggling to find recovery from it all, to make peace with the hatred that I have harbored; It is buried deep and coursing through the veins of my body.
I am a big proponent of not letting the past sour my present, but I still think about everything that happened at least multiple times a week. When I’m just sitting here alone, or breastfeeding while the house is quiet, my mind rattles on and I think back to all of those motherfuckers with their shit-eating grins. What is worse, is that you can leave a place but your stories will live on (especially if the same people are around to tell them). Once you are gone there is nobody to defend your own name. Gossip spirals out of control and your reputation soon precedes you.
The truth will always find a way to shine, I believe that. I also know that the evil we do will catch up with us in due time. It is so hard to rest and stay golden, to have faith that you can and will be rewarded for staying honest. It was all I had to fall back on, in the darkest days, when everyone around me seemed an enemy. I knew I was being true to my heart. Sometimes the anger and anxiety just overwhelm me, though, and I get frustrated knowing that now, especially now, there is absolutely nothing I can do to find my justice.
Learning to move on with the knowledge that I will never achieve retribution has been the hardest thing of all… I guess I’m not quite there yet. Especially when I know these events will never effect them in the same way. They all get to move on with their lives and I am still over here, in a new land surrounded by new people, fighting for my emotional sanity while learning how to be a new parent and keep a new marriage alive.
Time is known to heal all things, but I just keep asking myself how much time will pass before I can stop feeling this pain? Before I can let things go, not feel the creeping sensation of dread up my back like little spider legs? How long before I am strong enough to slay the power these people hold over me? I am not the praying type, but it is times like these that I am desperate for even the walls to listen.
It means, ‘solid ground’. I think I’ve reached that point, now. I have about two weeks left of my maternity leave before I reenter the workplace with a shoddy sense of self and absolutely no desire to continue my time there. Emotionally, I am much better. I think I have beat the postpartum depression, moved beyond it, seen the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
The military allows for pregnancy separation and I am considering all of my options at this point, seeing what is financially feasible for us as a family. I would love to go back to school full time, which is what I would be doing once separated. I still have 3 years left on my contract however, and that is 3 years of job security and decent pay. The pros and the cons are heavy no matter how I slice it, which is why I have been taking such a long time to decide. Yet, everyone seems desperate to know exactly what is on my mind– curious to see if yet another woman will choose children over work.
I understand my own mother so much more, these days. I think that is a universal experience for most women who have children. It forces you into an entirely new perspective, a new way of viewing things and living. I feel myself, and then again, I don’t. I am some weird in-between person right now and I’m pretty much OK with it. I know I have a very important task to do: raise a human being. That is a lot more important than making money. Capitalism forces us to choose between things that normally would never even be a question.
All I can say about pain is that in time it, too, will become a distant memory.
So many things in my life I am unable to recall, so many moments no doubt excruciating for my heart.
I labored for over 24 hours in some of the weirdest and most intense pain of my life and honestly I can hardly recall it now. The only thing getting me through each contraction was the ability to let pain lie in the past.
I’ve cried so many tears in my life and yet the memory is so soft and faded now. In those moments it felt unbearable. Yet now the image is suspended and I am unconnected to it. A story I tell myself, for otherwise it would die.
Our pasts are a story we keep telling ourselves to explain present day things. You tell yourself that you are a certain way because of some personal haunting from ghosts that cease to exist the moment you bury them. So why keep torturing ourselves with ghostly remains? I suppose it’s human to do so.
I stepped onto a particular train on April Fool’s Day, 2018 and I haven’t been able to get off of it.
I think the train is a good metaphor for a lot of things in my life right now. I feel like I’ve been hit by a train physically, mentally, emotionally. While my memory is not blacked out, I have a hard time connecting myself to anything before my labor and delivery. My pregnancy is more fuzzy to me with each passing day. Was I ever pregnant? They put me to sleep when they cut me open and one small, forced span of dreamless sleep divided the before and the after. Everything changed. Nothing was ever the same. A baby placed in my arms as I struggled to bring my emotions forth.
I’m still struggling. I am so disassociated that my thoughts and emotions feel like clothes that no longer fit, much like half of my closet right now. My body has changed and foreign hands reached inside my cut-open body. My purity shattered. I feel like a synthetic woman, sewn back together and dumped after only 48 hours. What was taken from me? What was ever there?
She lays beside me asleep and for another wistful night I attempt to put down words which might encapsulate my own thoughts.
Life was so different only one year ago. I jumped on an unexpected train with no brakes or conductor. I feel like I’ll never be able to jump off.
I look at my hands and they are strangers to me now. My face is sad and indifferent as I try to relate to the images in the mirror. My circuits are fried.
I feel panic and a tightened chest at the sound of a baby cry.