There it is, in print

Since Saturday afternoon, I have seen my hometown in print every day. I grew up in El Paso, and was stunned to have the city pushed into my awareness by a tragic event. And I can’t help but wonder if tragedy is a feedback loop onto itself because this tragic event has thrown me back into my own trauma history with the daily reminder of where I lived as a child. It is not lost on me that an argument can be made that this can be seen as self-centered with the real loss of life that just happened.

And, yet, I still find myself stuck in some way every time I see the news since the weekend. I’ve lived in the Northwest and the Northeast of this country since I left El Paso many years ago. By design, I’ve endeavored to be as far away as possible. It’s truly not the city’s fault that I am not a fan. Though I can’t help but associate my feelings with El Paso as it is where a lot of stuff happened. To be clear, I am not aware of the entirety of my experience. But I know enough to know that it was traumatic.

This past weekend I was at an event where I was asked about my family with insistence that I must have support from family members. I responded by saying, “Certain family members-I regularly look up their arrest record to keep track of them as it is public information in Texas.” That put an abrupt end to the inquiry.

And now I have to stop writing because it is too much.

Where is my head?

I’ve been in a roulette of parts moving in and out of my system very quickly. This makes me tired, and fuzzy. It’s not a trigger free world that we live in, and therein lies the challenge. I get triggered very easily some days. Sometimes it’s predictable. Other times, it isn’t. I’m forgetting entire conversations with my partner. Though I know they happen because slivers of them will float back to me when she tries to help me recount them. Sometimes I do not know which part of me is doing what. It leaves me feeling broken and unfixable. I get intense feelings that make little sense to me. It scares me when I do not understand the intensity of my feelings. Today, among other things, I’m triggered by someone that I perceive as needy. Yet, they’ve made no demands of me. However, even from my place as a spectator I’ve become triggered and annoyed just by observing from afar. I am not proud of this, and I wish I did not have these feelings. It is my greatest desire to eradicate these feelings as having them feels like wasted energy. Yet, here I sit thoroughly annoyed by this person. Neediness must remind of something from my past that left a deep imprint on me because I flee at the first sight of it. And when I cannot flee, I resent being in its presence. My brain comes to a full stop with neediness, and has trouble chugging past it.

The fear in my head

The fear in my head can tell me all sorts of stories, many of these stories are not the present truth. Though once in a blue moon, the fear warns me a of  a true danger. Unfortunately, these rare moments of true danger live forever in my head, and they return with a vengeance with the slightest sliver of a reminder.

And when that fear starts raining down on me it’s hard to get out of that spiral. I start to make doomsday predictions: I will lose everything. I will be homeless. Everything good is going to disappear. I won’t be able to feed myself. And then it further disintegrates into thoughts of disappearing because my head can’t conceive of going through the danger and the pain again.

Deep down inside me there is a belief that good things are not for me. When I get those slivers of fear I let them into my head because goodness feels fleeting to me. Anything positive feels transient, and borrowed, but with a quick return date like a new release at the library. The bad news and awful things feel familiar and known.

When people tell me they miss me, I’m stunned. Authentic happiness from people upon seeing me still confuses me. It’s not the self-perception of myself that I want, but it’s the one I have at the moment. Believe it or not, this is an improvement from just two years ago. Back then, and for as long as I can remember in my life, I would live with suicidal ideation most days. I would wake up in the morning and my first thought was that I shouldn’t be on this earth, and I would work against that desire sometimes on an hourly basis, depending on the day. Thankfully, my dark self possesses a sliver of hope within that propelled me to fight this desire my entire life.

And it’s that sliver of hope that I hold on to in moments like this when the fear has overtaken me, and I feel like the universe is raining on me. I try to keep perspective. I check my perceptions with friends. Sometimes I have to repeatedly check because I have a hard time believing I’m really okay. It’s hard for me to hold the belief that if I do lose everything in my life, in a worst case scenario, I am still worthy as a human being, still someone that people will want to know.