As we continue to complete the last few months of the year, I feel a familiar ache that starts to grow in the centre of my chest during the first week of October. It starts as a smell in the air, an energy I feel being carried in the stagnant hour of midnight – a thought, really. Or rather, a collection of these energies whose static charge grows significantly as the transition to the new year begins.
I don’t know if there is a word to describe the feeling that I’ve been carrying around with me lately. I’m different, again, that I know. My mother doesn’t speak to me anymore. That’s one thing. I’m finished school now, that’s another.
Being disowned because of my queerness is something that I knew would eventually happen. It’s an interesting space to be in. I’d describe it as a builder watching a tower every day, knowing exactly how weak the base is, and understanding that it will inevitably crumble. The how and the what were the facts. Only the when was unknown.
I remember telling my girlfriend when we first met, how acutely aware I was that there would come a point where my family would no longer speak to me. The knowledge of this lit a fire under my ass, and made me work straight through university, with the goal to make enough money post-grad, that it wouldn’t be a problem.
I truly thought that I would be a millionaire before I was in a long-term queer relationship, and that it would be rather difficult for my mother to disown me after how hard I would have worked to give her nice things.
If I were writing this yesterday, I would’ve called myself pathetic for thinking this way. But now, I realize it as nothing more than a little girl’s dream to feel unconditionally loved by her mother. And although that’s what I deserve, that is simply not what I have. On a good day, I don’t think of this. I do not have many good days, right now.
The word “defeat” has felt scarred into the flesh of my throat, lumping the tubes where I swallow. I hate defeat, and know it well. I’ve been swinging against it for so long, but what no one told me is that when the very ground on which you stand is so unstable, it doesn’t matter how good your hook is.
And so some days my arms drop to my sides. Some days, they aren’t even there anymore. Just stumps without a tourniquet. And on these days, I throw myself. Into work, into bed, into a fit of severe emotional repression. I throw myself so far, I don’t even know where to run to catch myself. I’m too high up. No clouds, just dreams.
Dreams of happiness, but mostly dreams of pain. Terrifyingly vivid nightmares where the realms blur, and I am in upheaval in waking and sub-consciousness. Dreams that seem to study the anxieties that stalk my waking hour, then produce them in technicolor. Some that I’ve told in panic to my partner, and some that I simply pray to never see again.
The worst part is that the substance of my dreams don’t contain ghosts and demons. They contain loved ones. The very personality, face, voice and actions of my loved ones – cut into unbelievably perfect carbon copies by my imagination. I dream of my loved ones exactly as they are, which is why it’s all the more petrifying that I cannot tell that I’m dreaming. My dreams are full of rejection, disgust, betrayal and harm.
As someone living with a history of abuse-trauma, I try to understand what my subconscious is doing. The readings tell me that this is the brains way of protecting itself. That constantly thinking of worst-fear type scenarios is a natural instinct to protect us from when we were last in danger.
But I wonder how I’m supposed to understand that I’m not in danger, when my body and mind do not.