And I can't.
When it is warm and windy in this place in this month, it reminds me of the things that have happened in the past, the things that I want to believe are firmly back there in the relics of my mind, that happened then and only then.
Those days weren't good ones.
Back then, I was tested.
By whom and for what, I don't fucking know.
I don't believe anyone is testing us, by the way. If they were, I'd have failed.
Yet, I was tested every single goddamn day in some new and novel manner. I was forced to confront ugly truths about myself and about other people. I was forced to make choices that no one should ever have to make. Forced to explain things that weren't my fault. Forced to do all of it.
And then forced to get up the next day, never knowing what that day might hold for me.
I look back to that time now, from where I am today, partially in a self congratulatory manner, which is odd, but expected I supposed considering just how bad things were. I survived them all, and though I didn't come out unscathed, I am here.
Not everyone made it out.
March, you've become, almost in your entirety, a trigger for me. The PTSD that I've dealt with, that I've owned and faced in the mirror, the one that I've screamed at the sky over, the one that has kept me awake more nights than I could count, the one that I want to believe is cured and over and done but that I know is not and never will be. That one.
It's back right now, and I blame the swaying trees outside for its presence in my life this morning.
I did what I always do when I go to this place yesterday, for better or for worse, and I went back and re-read some of my words from that March so long ago.
you should never have to stand in your front yard
literally putting out a fire crying hysterically
because you miss your dad and
your life is completely fucked up now
If only I'd known that it wasn't going to get better in any way for a long time to come.
If only I'd known just how much worse it was going to get.
I laughed, sort of, at the time about it all, about how there would probably come a day in the future when the story would be funny. How someday we'd look back on those moments and chuckle.
It still isn't funny.
Because there wasn't really anything funny about it.
(And yes, for the record, the fire was real. And no, I haven't written about it here until now.)
In that moment in time, I was forced to make split second decisions to save my home and those of my neighbors. To face the reality that not only could my mother could never be trusted to take care of my children, but that she was already a danger to them. To face the truth that I couldn't keep everyone safe all the time no matter what I did. To learn, immediately, that I would have to choose between her and them, and that it was my duty to choose them.
And I had to do it alone.
I look back now, and I know that even if I might have stood in that yard screaming into the wind, urging the fire truck to come faster, explaining the situation to the fire chief, somehow simultaneously wanting her charged with arson and talking them out of charging her, and I still believed that I could do it all. That I could keep them safe. That I could protect myself.
I knew nothing.
I shouted into the sky, asking for answers.
I dialed the phone again, screamed into it, asking for help. Begging for it.
No one answered.
I'd never felt more alone in my entire life than I did that March afternoon, standing in my yard, wondering how it all went so wrong so quickly.
I'd never felt so alone up until then.
I'd feel more alone later.
And this is why, dear March, I just can't.
I just can't do it right now.
Me and my PTSD