Written: May 23, 2015
I am working on reclaiming my spaces.
Starting with baby steps, I gather a journal and headphones.
My feet lead a distracted mind to the local park.
I am not carrying monsters with me.
A pen in my pocket replacing shiny pieces of
I place myself at the edge of a field, sit, and write. I look to my right and slowly allow memories to cloud my vision.
A younger version of myself stumbles past me. She staggers through the darkened sidewalk,
blood rolling off her arms. Her steps leave a bright red trail of drips. She collapses and I drag my focus back to the upbeat music pouring out of my headphones.
I tilt my face toward the sun. It is a beautiful day. I am not that lost soul anymore. I am filling myself with sunny days.
Late at night, I quietly lead the boy of my dreams to my bedroom.
I pull his shirt over his head before we have passed the threshold.
Everything is blurred with our ragged breathing. We are tangled, I am safe.
He strips me of everything.
My guard lowers with my clothes, he kisses every inch of
We fall tangled and hot into my bed. The floorboards moan as we lose ourselves.
I will replace
pools of blood and suicide attempts with this boy. My childhood bedroom will cease being my nightly reminder of a past I swallowed and bravely kept down. This place will not be a shrine to my sickness.
When I wake up in his arms, I will fill myself with early morning breakfasts and loving glances.
I wake up for work at seven AM. I don my blue uniform complete with EMT pins. There is freedom for me in an ambulance. During the day I help people, most days this includes reminders of the past I have grown from.
I remember every time I was packed into the claustrophobic back of an ambulance. Every thin piece of paper binding me to the stretcher. Every section 12 and murmurs of, “she’s a danger to herself”. They pass through me as I load another
h lost teenager into the back of my ambulance.
It is a mirror through time displaying my growth.
I still ache. Now, the role is reversed. I climb in after the patients. I try to talk to them.
If my partner has noticed me volunteering for these patients, he hasn’t said anything.
The first time I transport to a familiar set of corridors I am grateful for my steady partner. These halls held me at my lowest. I will transfer care to staff who, at one point, cared for me. I am vibrating and he is solid. His military days set his shoulders back and his chin high. He is the picture of having it together. I mirror him as I feel my heart rate elevate.
I let him take the foot of the stretch, I walk behind, mimicking his prideful walk. My shoulders tugged back, my spine straight, I am not here to stay. I feel like nightmares can’t grab my ankles with my head held this high.
I don’t thank him for the strength to move on. I don’t believe he would ever understand. I don’t trust my voice to be steady.
I fill myself with strength and confidence I will not have to mimic.
I do my laundry. I bleach
blood-stained sheets and throw out anything that will not come clean. Fresh sheets will help me sleep anyway.
I do my laundry. I take care of myself. I dress how I want to.
I do my laundry. I walk through a room I have avoided for four long years. This space was filled with much
worse than blood. Memories reach from the shadowed corners, black tendrils of fear tainting the air. I wash them away.
I do my laundry. I am no longer afraid of the basement. It no longer holds
my rotting corpse. What he did is loosening its grip on my life.
I am forgetting the calmness of his voice, “Go upstairs, get my other shirt. No one can see me like this.” I am forgiving myself for my shell-shocked obedience.
I am coming to terms with the effects of
four years of silence. I do my laundry. I am forgiving myself for my silence. Silence in the face of him kneeling for my sister. Silence as he asked for her hand in marriage.
I will forgive myself for
hoping he died. He has no place here. I do my laundry.
I fill myself with clean sheets and moving on.