Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This is Not a Brave Story

There is a quiet, patient voice inside of me, whispering.

"Write. Write. Write."

Fine.

Yeah, I feel better than I felt seven months ago. Yeah, I get out of bed and I haven't needed to take my meds in a while and I never really drank to forget. I realized that I need to travel as an incentive to stay alive, so I travel.

And people are losing their minds over it.

I get it. Traveling is awesome. It stretches every horizon and strengthens every muscular bit of one's character. It widens networks and eyes. It's adventurous and sexy and bohemian and impressive and fun to talk about. Look at this wild-haired wanderer, flying past and leaving kisses everywhere she goes! Look how free she is! If only I had the time or the resources or the people or...I'd be just like her. She's so brave.

No, I'm not.

We live in the generation of the glorified wanderer, and it's legitimate; it's what some of us are. But, it isn't always as easy or free loving as it seems. There is a niche demographic for which travel is possible, and I skirt the edge of that demographic as grace allows. I'm usually financially stable enough to fill the tank, but not always. My dependence on others tends to skyrocket during these seasons, and although it's so necessary, it always surprises me. I left to be free, but I'm bound by my first-world necessities and fear of bears and my own ignorance. I'm really just couch surfing, depending on the grace of the owners of the couches. I steal a squirt of hot sauce here and another of conditioner there, realizing that I never picked those things up at the store, and I needed my windshield replaced or a new phone, cringing and nearly self-destructing every time I burn another $100 deductible. I do my thing from my borrowed couch, which is sometimes going to work or out on an adventure, but sometimes it's just catching up on Pretty Little Liars under a blanket. I'm the same as you.

Often, I'll brag that I'm "really damn good at this," but I'm not necessarily good by my own gumption. I'm good because I have a good network, and I hope that those in the network will keep their timeshares with me. On one hand, I'm incredibly grateful and I do what I can to contribute, but on the other hand, this is starting to feel selfish and a little ridiculous. I'm probably expected to grow up a little bit, but I don't know how to do that without wandering around first. So there's nothing to do but keep going, keep searching. It's not bravery. It's not commendable. It's amazing, and it's terrifying. I'm excited, and I'm frightened. Glorification makes no sense, here. It's actually pretty confusing to hear. Call me what I am: a seeker.

Now that I have lots of time to myself on the road, I have lots of time to regress as I progress. Maybe regress is the wrong word. Maybe, hopefully, it's just remembering instead of regressing. Because I spend a lot of time worrying that I've just gotten worse, weaker. Likely untrue, but a valid concern nonetheless. Because PTSD is incurable, it pops up every so often (every day) and says hello in several different languages. It tends to get louder when everything else in my life is in limbo. And to prevent falling backwards, I tend to worry about my next generation instead. And end up falling harder.

Never mind dating in rape culture, because I don't need anyone trying to stabilize me at the moment. It's not happening. Don't waste my time, or yours. But assuming I eventually figure that out (right) and end up with a kid (okay) and a home (what does that even mean) that I don't want to leave every week (now you've lost it) then will any of this go away?

Nope. The truth of the matter is, I'm preparing myself for the day my kid gets abused. It will happen. Statistically, it will happen. And I'm telling myself that when it does happen, I can say that I'm prepared. Don't worry. I've got this. When in reality, there's no way I've got this. 

Civil war: commence.

There is one half of me who remembers what it felt like to have my needs disregarded. There is a very damaged, very wounded part of me who remembers. And she never, ever wants to see another child as petrified and lonely and frozen under covers, palms sweaty, breathing quietly, sometimes screaming, sometimes feeling the ice creep through her veins...never wanting to fall asleep but so, so tired. She needed a safe, warm body next to her. She still does. She needed advocacy. She still does.

But then again, there is another half of me who remembers what I actually told myself when I was that child. Because I was busy thinking of anything besides myself, I thought of my unborn child then, too. I decided that should I end up with a daughter in a similar situation, I would leave her alone. I'd keep watch, but from a distance. I'd let her fight her way through, by herself. I'd let her save herself. I'd let her build that character and that independence and I'd let her find her victory.

I wonder if I told this to myself out of necessity. Because now, it doesn't make me feel victorious. I know that I am strong and independent and I can survive because of this, but I remain devastated by the fact that my support system wasn't a support system. Years later, I remain devastated. Being strong enough to survive never soothed that betrayal. Now, home isn't a thing. Now, regardless of good character or how much I love them, men still aren't trustworthy. Now, people would rather point fingers than extend helping hands. Now, people would rather keep quiet than tell the truth. Now, I can't let a child grow up with those thoughts.

But, it's not really up to me. And at the moment, it doesn't have to be. As unstable as I am, I'm very pleased with the person I've turned out to be. I'll figure it out. I'll be fine. I'll have so much fun.

Some days, though, everything is too heavy and I don't want to anymore.

So I run.

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