“Whenever I hear someone say ‘It just takes one false accusation to ruin a man’s life’, She said, “I know I’ll never let them around my kids, ever. Because if they even THINK things like that, there’s something wrong with them” And I thought to myself Well I guess this means I never have to babysit again and This is a person who has never seen a monster (But that can’t be right because aren’t they everywhere and hasn’t everyone seen them and doesn’t everyone feel this way inside?)
*There is no cause for alarm* is the mantra that I am trained to repeat to myself whenever my mind goes fuzzy or when the channel refuses to change and I see graphic, violent, danger when I should be seeing harmless images of people sunbathing or families hugging or children jumping into a pool. When I am approached for a hug and my instinct is to get angry, to pull the hunting knife from my purse or maybe just yell and slap someone’s arm away or perhaps just tense up and endure it like a good Southern Girl, my mantra is *this person is not here to hurt you and there is no cause for alarm*. Don’t we know that’s just not always true, though?
But you blink, you know. You must occasionally blink. I blink. When I blink it’s as if slides are changing in a slide projector. The happy clown, the sad clown. A child’s face on a horrible image. My child’s face playing in the hot tub.
I know that I’m to get through this One Day at a Time, I’m supposed to Fake it Till I Make It, I’m supposed to Have Faith in the Process but what I really have is a heart pounding dread that forevermore, I will be one of Those People that you won’t leave alone with your kids because that’s right. I see terrible things. I don’t see family portraits anymore. I don’t see children playing on the beach. I don’t see happy singles in the bar. I don’t see a nice couple with their arms around each other. I don’t see a cute photo of someone’s child on the public internet. I see family secrets behind the lens of the camera. I see danger. I see horror, and danger, and the dark. And the other things I see I can’t say out loud on the internet.
And I don’t want you to touch me and tell me it’s going to be all right and I don’t want a hug to make it better and it wouldn’t soothe me to lay my head in your lap because I’m sure you can fucking guess what I see when that formerly comforting image enters my head anymore.
Last night my son had a nightmare and my husband and I awoke at the same time to rush in and comfort him. When we climbed back into bed I reached over and held his hand, which is unusual and felt so amazingly good. After a while laying there with my heart rate climbing until I no longer thought I could conceal my rapid, shallow breaths I got out of bed, went to the kitchen and swallowed a handful of xanax with a glass of milk. Counting out the pills I couldn’t help but remember this post on Suburban Bliss and think ,”yes. This is what it looks like: depression. PTSD. PPD. Life.”
Wait, what? Is this just what life looks like, I thought? Is this it? Is this just WHAT IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE? Where I put on the wrong shorts and I feel that texture and I’m back there or I see my kid look a certain way and I throw up a little because I see an image in my head or I hear a Tears for Fears song or see a white owl or a motorcycle or a fucking- I don’t know. Is this what it is? My mantra switches from *there is no cause for alarm* to *Is this what it is?* As I stare, HARD at my surroundings in an attempt to ground myself to this moment in time, to these people that I’m with.
And it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Because I can be right here, but right here is a war zone.
One time I had this dream that was so incredibly real that I was unnerved throughout, as I passed into different stages of the dream and slowly realized in it that I was dead. Once it became clear that I was dead, I knew that I needed to wake myself up but could not. What an empty feeling, walking around in that dream, trying so hard to wake up and knowing I was in a dream but not being ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SURE.
I feel like that right now, as if this cannot possibly be my actual real life, with the person that I love more than anything in the world unable to comfort and touch me and the children that I wanted more than anything in the world in mortal danger every second of the day, and everywhere I go crazy people trying to kill us and hurt my children. Our government actively working to remove my daughter’s rights to her own body. Our country has less money in the bank than Apple.
I can’t wake up.