From my very first post here, I’ve written about how trauma has shaped my life.
Since before my first breath, I suffered the effects of violence from within my mother’s womb. This wired my nervous system in very particular ways even before I endured my first direct bodily blow.
I don’t write much about many of the specific blows I experienced. Most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, stored instead in muscle, bone, and implicit memory.
Because most the specifics are lost to my thinking memory, I can be triggered–catapulted back in time, so that I’m confused about whether I’m in relatively choice-filled 2020 or choiceless 1988–without knowing why. Without knowing what sent me back.
A couple of days ago, my sister Rachael wrote “Meringue Pie & PTSD.”
She writes about some of the specific blows she experienced, at least one of which I witnessed. (I’m not going back to count.)
As she writes, she elucidates how senseless acts of violence can bind even ordinary items like meringue pie in memories of pain. Then, when seeing or smelling or even hearing the words “meringue,” she’ll be served up unwelcome time machine trips back to more violent days. Days where even meringue pie, through unfortunate processes of association, could end up feeling incredibly dangerous.
Because, like Rache, my nervous system was shaped by my many experiences with violence from my very youngest days, I must take extra care in this COVID-precarious world to stay. right. here. now. Here in this exact moment, where
my menfolk are wrapping up their nightly snoring,
birds are chirping their daylight greetings,
and I’m cross-legged on a rug in a room
filled with joyous memories.
Here where there is no meringue pie, only–for this moment–
love and pride for my sister, and the bone-knowing of how …
through it all, though it doesn’t change
how we were (are) wired,
we at least had (have,