The following is a post I wrote on Saturday morning. I was sitting in a college classroom on the other side of the state, there for Science Olympiad with my daughters. They participated together.
(I know that someday they are going to be so glad they did this together. I know that day won't be for a while and it certainly wasn't on Saturday.)
Anyhow, I wrote this roughly 24 hours before I hit the proverbial wall and ended up on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. I knew it was coming. I saw it from a mile away. I needed to do it. And since I have, I feel better.
So, fellow humans of the world, I implore you. Feel the feelings. All of the feelings. Even the ones you are suppressing.
I really want to stop writing about this.
I really want to stop talking about this.
I really want to stop thinking about this.
The problem with me being me is that I know that until and unless I completely process all the shit that has happened in the past 8 days, I won’t be able to be done with it all. Maybe ever.
Once you’ve been through the whole ptsd thing as a direct consequence of unprocessed trauma, you don’t willingly ever want to go back there.
Trust me on this.
The thing is that I was really only tangentially involved in the whole thing. I’m affected, sure, but this isn’t my story to tell. This isn’t my trauma. This isn’t about me, and I have zero delusions that it ever is or could be.
And still, it is affecting me.
It’s affecting me because I’ve been through trauma enough times to recognize the warning signs, some of which I feel like I should have seen earlier, most of which I’m already beating myself up for diligently.
Should I have done more? Should I have done less? Am I responsible for anything that happened? Could I have done anything to change it?
None of those questions really have answers. I know this.
And I know that I need to just accept that there are way too many things in this world that I cannot control, but that will inevitably affect me. And I need to sit with that truth, ugly as it is.
I’ve learned things about people through this experience. Good things. Bad things. Terrible things. Awful things.
I’ve been through enough horrible experiences in life that I can tell you there is one commonality that runs between them, as predictable and unsurprising as it is disappointing. It is this: people will always let you down. When the going gets rough, when situations become difficult, when the moment of truth arrives, there will always be people who reveal themselves to be someone you wished they weren’t.
And it sucks.
2017. The year of being disappointed in humans.
For as many terrible things we learn, though, there is the good. The hope. The optimism. The allies and partners and fighters revealed. You learn who your people are and you learn it in a hurry.
I’ve always joked that I’m the person you want on your side when the zombie apocalypse happens. There are reasons.
I mean, I totally will flake on you if we make plans a week from now, particularly if they involve going out in public, wearing pants, talking to people I don’t already know, or anything remotely scary.
I will. I’ll worry so much about whatever it is that we have planned that I will literally make myself ill over it, because that is the wonder of me.
When shit goes down for real, all that overthinking and overanalyzing comes in handy.
And then, when the shit going down starts to wind down, I pay the price of running on adrenaline and caffeine and vodka. While it’s a terribly effective short term fuel source, there are consequences.
And right now I can feel those consequences in every cell in my body. My back and my neck and my shoulder ache. My head has been hurting for days. The kind of headache where even your hair hurts. I’m drained. I’m exhausted. I’m worn down.
And I know that for as awful as I am feeling right now, I’m on the periphery.
This wasn’t about me. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now.
So whatever I am feeling right now is just a fraction of what others are possibly feeling, probably feeling, almost certainly feeling.
That’s what we do, though, us humans. We feel.
So feel whatever you are feeling right now. Ask yourself the hard questions. Demand better from others, from insitutions, from yourself. Drink water. Sleep.
Get some more coffee.