Trauma creates opportunities for growth.
When I suffer flashbacks, I want to curl up
into a ball and disappear. Shrink from life.
Today, rather than panic, I give myself
permission to curl up into a ball and become,
for a moment, an object. And I do. I curl up
into a ball and become, for a moment, an object.
And I survive. I manage pain and soothe myself
when nothing but surviving will do. I stay alive.
When I sense a friend is in pain, I place my pain
beside their pain. I listen to them speak
of their pain, through their pain, and in my listening,
although I say nothing, I speak to their pain.
I witness suffering and I’m humbled. Everyone suffers
in their own way, but no one suffers alone.
Pain, I’ve learned, is a great teacher,
but I’m not a student of pain.
I major in love. I minor in poetry.
Everything is connected, including falling to pieces.
When a friend falls apart, when their life breaks open
and their hope shatters, their falling to pieces
happens in a world where my hope shattered, too.
Our coming apart, individually, comes together
in the same space. Friends recognize the enemy
within us all: a lack of love and patience.
I befriend a process of trauma and recovery.
I give myself time. I hope for more hope.
Trauma exists but so does love. Survivors can feel
unworthy of love, but when we feel unworthy
of love we’re mistaken. I refuse to deny myself love.
When I curl up into a ball because I’m ashamed,
frightened or lonely, I catch myself. I give myself
permission to experience pain. When I suffer flashbacks,
I breathe in and breathe out. Again I love and I’m loved
again. Another day alive. More opportunities to grow.