Every morning now you wake up astonished to find that you aren’t dead. That a lack of sustenance hasn’t killed you. For were once you couldn’t make it to eleven o’clock in the morning without eating, now you are eleven days in and still nothing beyond devastation has passed your lips. Yes: devastation, chocolate milk and a vitamin pill daily and you are good to go, adrenaline forcing energy through your veins, and bedtime quickly bringing the kind of blissfully empty sleep that happiness has never been capable of delivering.
You aren’t dead. You are very much alive. You are cleaning. And mopping. And sweeping and wiping because this is what you do when trauma comes a calling. You batten down the hatches and polish them into oblivion. You think you might be safe here. Safe from sympathy, for what is sympathy but the worst kind of reminder that your world is still standing on it’s head?
And yet people will insist on forcing you out. On stirring opinion into every cup of tea they serve you and thinking you cannot see the plate of concern they pass amongst themselves. And they will not believe you when you say you are alright. They just will not have it. They look at you and say well yes, but you aren’t really are you? You aren’t really. As though they are willing you to be at odds with all that you instinctively feel. As though there are things in this life we are not allowed to feel. That there is a time and place for alright and that that time is not now. Not alright as a coping mechanism. Not alright as the truth.
You have stopped crying. Though life will now forever be divided into before and after, though this new reality is yours in all it’s grim ugly glory, you have stopped crying regardless, because wallowing is not what you do. Because crying makes the kind of internal noise that will not let you tune into your intuition and when all is said and done, when concern has left the building, intuition is all you have left.
And so after dark, after the little one is asleep, you exist in silence. You are your own best counsel. And while your methods may seem to alienate those who do nothing but care and your quiet observance might seem to imply disregard, it is merely intended to get you through the night. It isn’t unkindness or rejection, it is simply survival when the pain is still too raw to touch and must therefore be endured until you are emotionally strong enough to process it.
For process it you one day will. Of that you can be certain. But for now there can be only determined efficiency. Strength for someone who needs it. Another pile of washing here, a shopping trip for fitted sheets there. Comfort from those willing to acknowledge your pain without trying to own it, and a grateful prayer for retinence from those who would willingly wear it for a lifetime on your behalf.
Wallowing is not what you do.