My world is right. The wheels spin, the rhythm continues, the world around me propels forward. Life progresses and I with it. No longer a helpless passenger struggling in vain against the tightly buckled strap as the vehicle of life hurdles ever forward, I release myself to the current. The steering wheel somehow becomes mine and I now drive myself onward. I yield, I navigate through tight spaces, I weave in and out. I become a player, a participator, in this choreographed dance. So seamless, so natural, it’s unknown to me that the transition has even taken place. I just know somehow it has. But not in whole. All but this faint, dark corner pushed to the back of my mind, hanging cautiously above me, has bought into this momentum, this way of life. But if I just ignore it… if I continue in this quickly flowing stream, life is fine.
Life doesn’t hurt. Stimuli doesn’t hurt. Memories are far from my mind. I am able to be in the now. I am able to participate in the now. This present world of life may not be my happiest or favorite, but it is bearable. And bearable is a tremendous gift. All but for the slight walking on glass from that dark corner, life is fine.
But then, everything comes to a sudden halt. Everything unravels before I even have a chance to reach for it. Triggers. Memories from a sight, object, picture, person, phrase spoken, or a season plague and attack me at once. New realizations and puzzle pieces connecting pile into the all-consuming abyss. I want to run, but it’s got me and I am taken down. The glimpse is over. Reality has reared its cold sword and brought me back to earth, back to my reality. My inescapable reality. My reality that I know despite how far I run, how much I grow, how much I change, how much I accomplish, is always there waiting for me, to knock me back down, to put me in my place. And my apparent place in this world is not that glimpse. My place is not that carefree. My place is not that safe. My place is not that stable. My place is not that happy.
The better the glimpse, the longer the glimpse, and the more of myself I recklessly allow to invest, the harder the fall, the crueler the cut of reality. If I play it safe, if I guard myself, if I keep this glimpse at a distance, then reality’s inevitable strike doesn’t hurt as much. The more disconnected I am, the less there is to pull apart.
The glimpse is shattered by an external change breaking apart what was good and filling it with bad or by a trigger ripping me out of where I think I am and reminding me where I am really. The former is less frequent than the latter, but, earthshattering, spawns triggers upon triggers with every breath I take until I finally move farther and farther away from this event. And the latter, spawned from the former, can break me out of these glimpses daily, hourly, spurring crippling meltdowns. The more I move away from this event and the more the triggers lose their initial paralyzing strength, the more prolonged these daily glimpses become and the less I am brought back to my reality. But the better the glimpse, the harder the fall and the even harder the recovery.
I yearn for the prolonging of these glimpses. But I forbid myself to yearn, to mourn, for my happiest ones because those become unbearable shattering triggers. The happiest too great, the hurt too large. I take the bearable glimpses, the functioning, the participating in this life. I take the fine. Fine is safe.
Apart from the disabilitating meltdowns, mocking triggers, and feeling like I’m standing in the middle of a dangerous freeway of life unable to catch up but unable to stop, that’s not the worst. I refer to these moments as “glimpses” in this blog because that is simply what they are: a glimpse of what things could be—a glimpse at normal, happy, unhindered life. And I think that is what makes it the worse. Because you are getting a taste, a tease, of what could be, of what should be. You’re getting a second to relax, to step out of this hell. But then you find this reality isn’t true, yours is a haunting, cold, and lonely one. And in comparison, it makes your reality that much worse. And you’re filled with the realization and the “if onlys.” If only I were just normal, my life would continue on fine like this. If only I didn’t have these external triggers, it wouldn’t be so hard. If only these triggers didn’t affect me, people wouldn’t think of me as so negative, because really the glimpse isn’t that bad, the glimpse itself isn’t my issue. If only I didn’t have to run from triggers, I could engage fully in this life. If only this piece of me was gone, I could function happily and healthily.
But the “if onlys” are even less true than the glimpses of life you get to taste here and there. So we have no choice but to trudge on; to move forward when everything in the current is going against you; to move forward against your will when your feet are digging into the earth protesting; to move through highs and crippling lows; to constantly pick yourself up to carry on until you get knocked down only to do it again; to move as if you are a shell of a person, your insides crushed out of you; to rest in the security and safety of these glimpses in the fleeting seconds they come. For as of some unknown reason beyond your own analysis and beyond your trade of the pain, you are put on this Earth and you impact it in some way. But you are also not alone. Others are out there carrying this burden just like you. We know this is our world and we accept it and we face it, reality and all.