Off to my left, I hear a child singing, “It’s a web like a spider’s web, made with silver lining shadows”. A quavering intake of air. A beat passes. The song continues, “Spun by the moon in my room at night”.
“Brittany!” She cries out like she’s hasn’t seen me in years. It’s been about twenty minutes, in reality. ‘Reality’ being a place we’ve clearly departed. I reply and start to follow the sound of her voice. She’s crying now, washing away all pretense of bravery.
Blindly, I grope forward. I find her hand and hold tight, pulling her into me. She’s shaking. Or I am. Either way.
“I can’t find my signal and so I sing my song but I wanna go home.” Bree’s sentence runs out between sobs and snot is wiped on my shirt through the word “wanna”. I hold her close, rocking slightly, making hushing noises. I look around her curls and try to locate myself. It’s dark. I ask Bree if she can help, and she casts Lumos and buries herself back into my shirt. I can see the shells that line the counter in the bathroom in Ponchatuloua from the glowing ember that sailed across the room. I’m in the bathtub, hiding. I see the half-eroded dalmatian puppy on my soap. I try to keep my breathing steady. I hold Bree closer, making sure she can’t easily see the room we can’t possibly be inhabiting. This room is gone. It was gone before Jim’s death, and it sure as fuck is gone now. I can’t be in this room.
Of course, I shouldn’t be holding a child version of myself, lost in my own head when my thirty-year-old body is probably still being held accountable for my normal functioning in the Outside World. I sigh. Courtney’s gonna be pissed.
In another place and at another time, not so far away, I sort through the drafts of wedding speeches I’ve been writing since March. After an hour of crying, I delete the folder holding them all. I delete the joke folder I made of speeches I couldn’t have given. I read some of them to my sister when she debated calling the whole wedding off because her fiance stole $1,2oo from her and humiliated her in front of her child and in-laws.
Tomorrow night I am going to be social. I will converse with grace, tact, and in a dry-eyed manner than most adults can maintain. I will portray myself as one of many ‘most adults’ and I will pretend I am not fighting my own battle. Although, doubtlessly, everyone I encounter is also fighting their own battle. I pass up potential allies for the sake of proper decorum. Warriors pass me in blouses and ballcaps, seemingly strolling through the city and in actuality, they are engaged in mental warfare. This tall vixen grieves loss so deep that I cannot fathom, and yet smiles and works to share knowledge and kindness with others. That spectacled man has a chronic pain condition and is gritting his teeth behind that grin. The blonde parked in her car on her cell phone is being dumped after months of lies and betrayal. A woman passes the parked car, walking her dog, to avoid her abusive boyfriend at home. I’m not alone, and I’m not in the worst circumstance. If I reach outward, I can find help.
If I go find help, I have an obligation to follow said advice once it has been sought. Bearing in mind that unspoken agreement between folks of integrity, I isolate.
Being poly and in a handful of dynamics, I cannot completely isolate. It’s a horrible gift that I’ve given myself over the last few years. My partners love me through my weak moments. I am useful in unexpected ways. I have skilled advisors questioning my motivates and values, as I need to be questioned in order to draw closer to what I want from life. I am creating my dream life. I’m getting pretty goddamn close, I must say. I go days without flashbacks. Some of those days, I even get to have sex and not forget who my partner is or what year it is. Plus, I’m a coping ninja. I fucking Kill Bill this healing shit. I got lists and everything. A coping ninja is probably slightly more useful than a golf ninja.
I have Dee and Charlie laying down the deafest poetry and I’m gonna be ok. I’m doing better at grounding, and I’m working to resolve the trigger incident. I’m strong in my convictions to maintain the relationships I deserve and to weed out those that harm me. Really, maybe I’ll weed out all of those that don’t serve me. My self-worth can be high enough to require a benefit from my relationships…I get to feel heard, or loved, or supported, or desired, or appreciated, or maybe all of the above in my relationships. If I’m in a relationship with someone who doesn’t appreciate me, takes me for granted, or throws away what we’ve worked to build, so be it. I would tell anyone I love that they deserve equality, understanding, and happiness in the majority of any dynamic they maintain. I can tell myself the same. If I don’t love myself enough to believe it, I’ll practice until I do.
In the meantime, I have the Gang. I’ve got a new violent drama on HBO. I have cool weather right outside my window and love in my home. Love in a few homes, actually. I have abundance where it matters. Those who want to tell me otherwise can kindly fuck off. I don’t have the time for any more of that bullshit.