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 the same space where I once fell apart, too.
Our coming apart, individually, comes together
in the same space. Friends recognize the enemies
within us all: a lack of love, a lack of patience.
I befriend a process of trauma and recovery.
I give myself time. I hope for more hope.
Trauma exists but so does love. Love itself can feel
traumatic to those of us who feel unworthy of love,
but when we feel unworthy of love we are mistaken.
When I curl up into a ball because I am ashamed
or 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.