The thing about PTSD is it hits you when you don’t expect it. It hits you when you’re already down. It pummels you into the ground. Down. Down. Deep down. And there are some days when it is a hard choice to wake up. To get your body out of bed. To do the “normal” things. This isn’t the post that I ever wanted to write, but I’m strangely empowered by the journey of Wanda Maximoff in the WandaVision series, because I see it. And I know those feelings so freaking well.
** Spoiler Warning for WandaVision below **
I watched the finale with my daughter on my lap. With the daughter whose birth ended with my trauma. The trauma that has been triggered so intensely in the last eight days. And she wanted my arms wrapped around her so tightly, and I wanted my arms wrapped around her so tightly, while I wept. Because I have been there with Wanda. Because Wanda is the hero I needed for the past four and a half years.
I would’ve given anything to feel normal after my trauma. I replayed those memories over and over in my head, hoping I could find a different answer, a different response. I would’ve given anything to wrap my family in a realm of safety, to protect them from myself, from my desperate grasp for hope, for stability, for anything other than the horrific scenario that I went through and played over and over in my head.
I would’ve done anything to protect my family from that moment. I would’ve done anything to protect them from me.
I was so sad.
And I was desperate.
And then I was angry.
But the thing about trauma is that it is exhausting. And it’s so hard to escape. Because even when you’re comfortable, when you think you’ve moved past it, it’s suddenly there again. And you can’t do anything about it.
I saw that experience with Wanda. I saw her clinging so hard to the memories that she had. And I saw her using her memories to create the future that she knew she would’ve had in the same way that I used my own memories. She did such a good job.
You just want to be happy.
You want to forget your brokenness.
But you can’t.
The thing about trauma is that it comes back. And you have to deal with it.
My Agnes is the doctor, it’s the person who I trust to care and then doesn’t, it’s the person I depend on to help me and then leaves me alone…waiting.
They seem insignificant. Just another quarky neighbor. Helpful. And then they’re not.
But you are left to fight them for your reality, for your world, for truth.
And the thing is, when you choose to fight, you have lost something already. You have chosen to accept your new reality. You have chosen to deeply feel the justified anger inside of you. And that’s different.
That’s not who you fought desperately to preserve.
That’s the person who knows you’re not going to win, because there isn’t winning anymore.
You’re going to be different. And you’re going to be a person that not everyone understands. And you are going to sacrifice a whole lot to try to make sure that no one else is sucked dry.
You are going to give up the things that you worked for so hard to protect you, because you can’t have walls and make sure that everyone else is breathing, is safe, is flourishing.
You give up a lot when you take down the walls.
And, man, it’s lonely sometimes.
And there are times when the anger you have at all the injustice you’ve faced just powers you through that. And you can take that to do what you need to do. And there’s catharsis.
And if only all the times were like that. Because so many more of those times will be you, crying while you watch WandaVision, simultaneously wishing you could protect your family from all the trauma life has thrown at you, and knowing that your trauma has enabled something inside of you that you never could conjured otherwise.
I have had such intense flashbacks in the last 8 days.
I have prayed that I could get angry because I know that when I’m angry I can get things done.
And instead, I’ve felt the isolation of walking alone out of a place you’ve created for yourself. A place that felt safe. But, I’ve also had a Monica and a Woo, who knew and who I knew understood in some way my experience.
And they might seem like minor characters, but they aren’t. They are the major players in the story. They are the mentors who provide what I need. They are the ones who deserve the credit.
And in those moments of isolation, it’s the glance of understanding. It’s the acceptance of change, of movement, of a different scenario that lets you live your new storyline that makes a difference.