Friday, March 19, 2010

We All Got Traumas

First off i'd like to say my relationship with this blog is officially the strongest one in my life at the moment. I set out, determined to go for an hour power walk, but fifteen minutes into the walk had thought up a storm for my new post and made a u turn and high-tailed it back to my computer. I guess I should just take this bad boy with me wherever I go huh?

I don't quite know how to get into this post, but I can start with this: at some point, some how, we all either have or will experience an event that will show us that there are no guarantees. I don't mean guarantees that you'll like the new thigh master you ordered off an infomercial. I am talking about getting hurt, emotionally. There are no guarantees against that.
I was thinking about the different ways people deal with this realization. I have friends that are seemingly the cheeriest people I know--applying for every job they want, chatting with every guy they find cute etc. They see something they want and they charge forward.
"Well, this person has clearly never had anything bad happen to them." That has been my thought about these sorts of people. And i've been proven to be a fool many a time. And good! What a relief, what a giant relief, to find out that a friend of mine, one of the happiest people I know (she even claims to be one of the happiest people SHE herself knows) had a boyfriend who committed suicide years back. I get no relief, no joy, from this fact. The relief comes from knowing that shutting down isn't the only option after an experience like that.
But for some people, they believe shutting down is the only option. We all know someone like this--someone who will not go on dates anymore, someone who has given up on trying to publish their novel, etc.. And when you prod them--whether it be delicately, lovingly, or whether it be more of a "get your ass up and DO something!"--they will break down and they will say "I just can't, I just can't. Not after (insert traumatic experience here) happened!"
While our impulse in moments like these is to tell the person all the reasons why that most likely will NOT happen again, I resist that impulse. I would be a bad friend if I indulged that impulse. This is the truth--it's hardass, there's no silver lining, but this is it--there is no guarantee that won't happen again. I am telling you right now, there is absolutely no guarantee. Know this. Just know this, and decide what you want to do with this fact.
I said this to someone recently and he said "I don't see how you would know anything about this."

Well, actually, I have all the reason in the world to be cynical should I choose to be. Here's my sob story. My father was a bigamist. No joke. Second wife, second set of children, 20 years out of his 22 year marriage to my mom. If I wanted to decide that people were shit, If i wanted a reason to provide whenever people asked me why I don't reach for more--I could take that reason. It's right there waiting for me. But....ok, so what? So now what? Nothing. Then you stop. No one is going to say "oooh, ok. no no, i get it. ok well, why don't we send you to the island of the traumatized and you can watch cartoons and eat pudding. Nobody will ask you to do things anymore there that you're afraid of. You are exempt from that."
Fun sounding island huh? And you know, in our own ways, we can create such islands for ourselves. But--it turns out, they're not very satisfying!

And there are some folks who I don't even want to grab them by the shoulders and say "look, there is no guarantee you won't get hurt." Because they may not actually be ready to charge forward again. They may say "ok, i can do this." but more bad thing happens to them, and they just add it to the pile of reasons to not go forward. You do need to be determined to never look at a bad thing as a "reason to not go forward" again, before you, well, go forward again.
I hope this post didnt come off as cold hearted. I should come down from my thrown for a moment to say it took years of therapy, years of living on my island of cartoons and pudding, years of not dating or, being emotionally abusive (yes, me, as a defense to not be hurt) before I realized that there just simply never would be any guarantee, but living on that goddamn pudding island was not a life. It was the beginning of death.


  1. Beautifully said. I agree, a sheltered life is truly not a life at all. I remember when I was closed up for almost a year, and then something hit me, and told me I couldn't be this way, that I was missing out on life, and I realized that pain and hurt are just a normal part of life, and if I try to shelter myself from not getting hurt, or experiencing pain, then I am also sheltering myself from possible happiness and joy. And I don't think you came across as cold-hearted, you simply spoke the truth, and we need more people who speak the truth nowadays =)

  2. Hey Props,

    You've got some thought provoking stuff going on over here. Thanks for reading my blog and I look forward to reading more of yours.

    Chose to have a great day ;-)

  3. Hi, I like your blog name..."a word between a statement and a question".

    Thank you for dropping by my blog and your comments on my "musical chairs" writing poem theme. I always kind of looked at the game of musical chairs as the way our society and the world kind of acts like. So I put those words in a theme of musical chairs. Your comment in my post is pretty right on. As a person who has PTSD through years of struggle my musical chairs writing means a lot to me. I count myself as one who has sat in chairs from time to time so afraid and yet facing my fears and mostly surprisingly moving through them.

    I will drop by here again. I like your writing a lot it's very "real" and gets people thinking.



  4. P.S. this post "We all got traumas" is an excellent point...very similar to my musical chairs post only worded differently. So, yes I do agree with you on that.