Let me build a framework of remembrances and self, a series of connecting, interlocking stories that explain who I am and have become, stories that protect me from the darker parts of myself, scaffolding for what is good within.
I woke up from a dream about high school. I had to go back, but there was no place for me. The girls had become football players, heavily muscled tackling machines with wide shoulders and tapered waists, steroid-injected caricatures of meathead manhood. I no longer had anything in common with my friends—or with anyone. Why did I have to go through this again? I didn’t. What a relief. But I did not wake up relieved.
Let me identify the tributaries to this dream and its aftermath of heavy grief, self-blame, and worry, the flows in and out: a surface reconnection with my first boyfriend, leading to a sadness about the lost-world quality of my early life; a boy about to head off to ninth grade; a realization that something of my childhood and adolescent trauma, which gelled in high school, will always be with me; the stirrings of a depressive episode that may or may not be fordable, which makes connection difficult and my mood thorny and jagged.
A framework for sanity and self-acceptance rebuilt upon the saturated alluvial plain of trauma and self-blame. . . I build a trap to catch the thoughts that eat away at me, self-directed harpoons, remnants of what can’t be explained. I don’t know whether to hide these sharp things away or polish them for display, wall hangings that directly remind me that survival comes with scars.
Survival at any cost. But I am here, am I not? What to accept, what to change? For I was permanently altered and am capable of so much.