When I was a kid who didn't know she was a kid, things went awry for a minute.
I don't know where it came from, being ashamed of feeling ashamed. I can't really remember, but I think that I probably sank into a routine of compounding shame on shame, unaware that I was allowed to be traumatized. Unaware that paranoia, which I misconstrued as my being unacceptably judgmental, was normal. Unaware that nightmares, though horrifying and too much like screaming in space, were absolutely justified.
Unaware that this was, is a process.
I hated the idea of a process. I was afraid of things blowing entirely out of proportion. I held tightly to secrets. I thought it would be over, soon.
If I would've known that as a 23 year old woman I'd still be thinking about this every day, triggering tiny emotional responses from the littlest things, and being just so very aware that this year will mark my tenth assaultiversary, well. I can't guarantee that I would've been so determined to stay alive. Because I would've known that it wouldn't be over, as I know now that it won't ever be.
That was then, though...and this is an incredible now. Things are better. And the fight is still clenched in my fists because I kept fighting. I could've bowed out. I could've gracefully chosen a path that led to a sideline draped in pacifism. I could've.
But no, I couldn't have. Because I'll always fight for you, and secretly behind the scenes, an adolescent me. Always.