I never thought I would be able to laugh again. Trauma will do that to you, you know? It has a way of only allowing you to inhale, and still never feel like you have enough air. It will literally take your breath away. Without breath you cannot talk, you cannot scream, you cannot cry, you cannot laugh. Without breath we are without life.
If you have lost the ability to laugh, you have lost everything. I lost everything between then and now, but you’ll soon realise that timelines aren’t important if you can’t see an end. So it doesn’t matter what happens when or where and who was there to witness it, the fact remains that it happened and it changed you.
Trauma, noun: an emotional shock that may have long-lasting effect.
Trauma is different to battle wounds. Battle wounds tell of struggle and triumph; trauma tells of a soul that has been forced to fall on its own sword. It is futile to compare the scars from either war, just as it is futile to compare traumas – each has its own body count. Each has its own gathering of mourners.
And I have a heart full of dust where somethings have become skeletons. Trauma turns us into tombs within ourselves. Trauma takes… and takes, and takes. It is insatiably voracious and unwaveringly vicious. It will grind you into the ground just as it buried the bones in your chest. It will make sure you never rest again.
Some facts: You owe trauma nothing. Trauma does not deserve anything from you. Trauma does not have license for an extended stay if you want it to leave. Trauma needs to be separated from your grief. Trauma is what happened; Truth is what can still happen – what you can make happen. Trauma does not need an excuse. Trauma does not own you, nor do you own it. You are not your trauma, nor are you a product of your trauma.
I am proof. I am living proof – inside and outside, no decay wasting within the restrictions of my ribs. After what felt like decades of heaving through layers of earth, I have breath. I am finally able to say what I have been wanting to say about death and life and how sometimes the two can become quite blurred (contrary to logical opinion).
But possibly, the most raw, most sacred result of this undoing is the strange taste of laughter in my once curdled-lips-for-a-smile mouth. I can laugh, and that in itself is a marvel not of my making, for human hands cannot craft such a miracle.
I do not use the word “trauma” lightly in this piece. I understand fully that there may be varying degrees of trauma, but even that is relative to each individual’s reality. I have written this from the basis of my own coming-to-terms-with life, and it is in no way intended to offend. I trust you hear my hope in the words.