What is it about being a trauma survivor? Is it just me, or does anyone else get re-triggered by traumatic events in our world? Can I never have a “normal” experience, like others do, when people get shot in random attacks, when a child is molested, when someone dies who shouldn’t have? Others feel sad, but understand that there is a distance between them and the actual event. For me, the event becomes mine, becomes my trauma. I re-live what I lived before. I move into the current trauma as it moves into me. We become one.
So, not unexpectedly, I have fallen into a hopeless state since the shooting in Tucson last weekend. For me, there is no safety in the world right now. No port in a storm. No place where gunshots cannot reach out from some deranged soul and get to me. Or worse, to my daughter. I have vowed to protect her from evil strangers. How could I promise her that?
A nine-year old girl was killed in Tucson; a child who was savoring her first election victory. Christina Taylor Green. She should not have died. Nobody could protect her from this horrific act, from death at the hand of someone who should never have been able to buy a gun. No adult could shield her. My child is not safe. I cannot keep her safe. I cannot keep me safe.
Is it the feeling of betrayal that is triggering me? A society’s betrayal? Do we no longer have a social compact in this country? Are we experiencing the demise of our society, the demise of democracy as we know it? Should we have to be afraid to state our opinions (and goodness knows I have expressed many in my time, with the courage of my convictions)? People I know in Phoenix are afraid to admit they are Democrats. What???
I feel like I felt when my father betrayed me, all those years ago. I feel like a small child who does not know where to turn to be protected. My protector, my supposed protector, my purported protector, turned from protector to perpetrator. Building safety into my life after that, building trust into my life after that, building belief in love into my life after that, has taken me years.
My foundation is rocked to its core again. I am back at square one right now. This morning, I couldn’t get out of bed. I needed the illusion of safety. Of protection. Of control. In an unsafe, unprotected, out-of-control world.
Tomorrow, I will step outside. My world will be filled with snow. Inches and inches of it. Maybe it will blanket the pain, cushion the brokenness, that is my soul today. If I am lucky.