growinghumans


A Collision
October 29, 2016, 12:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

The doe darted in front of the SUV so fast that no one had any sort of time to react. Not even the sound of tires screeching. She was hit at full impact, broad sided. I watched –from the other side of the road– as every single delicate bone in her body broke. I saw her neck snap and then her head whip around like it was caught in an undercurrent as she rolled up onto the hood and into the windshield.

Glass flew everywhere. Tires screeched finally. Everything seemed to come to a stop as we all watched this creature dismantle herself from the inside. They say that labor produces the same kind of pain as 20 bones being broken at the same time. I wonder how many times this doe had given birth, how many it felt like right now. How bizarre to feel the pain of bringing a child into this world, as you leave it. How strange agony can be shifted from one event to another.

But then.

Out of the corner of my eye, something darted into sight.

Her fawn.

Horns blared; their high pitches masking my scream of horror. People leapt from their cars; trying to catch her, to coax her, to save her. Please please please if nothing else turn around and go back. Not here. Not you, too. My hands covered my mouth, fingers gripping the skin of my cheeks so hard, they left a mark. I wanted to keep myself from screaming, from sobbing, from being sick, from breathing.

The fawn disappeared.

I sat there, in my car, on the side of the road for an amount of time I cannot remember. I watched the emergency vehicles arrive. I watched them drag the doe’s body off of the expensive car and sling her over the rumble strip into the grass. I watched the driver walk slowly to the ambulance. I wondered what she was feeling. I wondered if she had felt the impact of each individual bone against her car as they all snapped. I wondered if she had watched the deer take scared shallow breaths on her windshield until she finally surrendered to her fate. I wondered how she had remained in that car, in that catacomb, until the police car had arrived. How had she not fled in horror? How had she not jumped from her car to try and capture the baby? I wondered if she would think about this moment for years, as I clearly have.

 

When you grow up as a victim of trauma, emotionally processing it can be impossible. We build walls, put it in boxes, cut it out of our pulsing brains with a paring knife. We cannot remember or accept that things happen to us. It is too much. Our minds literally cannot do it.

So, sometimes, when we witness a great trauma outside of our physical beings, the emotion that we have had inside of our bodies but have failed to have the tools to access  suddenly become unhinged.

That doe on the windshield is your childhood, your broken heart, your black eye, your shell-shock, your abandonment.

You sit there and dry heave into your steering wheel because you pretend your biggest problem is that a deer has died and not that a part of your brain has suddenly become alive.

And that fawn, that vulnerable little creature with its unpredictable movements is your shot of a functioning and healthy life. “Get out of here!”, you shout at it. “Don’t look. It’s too terrible.”, you beg.

I sat there in my car until I was sure the fawn was gone. Perhaps not safe, but at least gone from the scene.

I cannot for the life of me describe to anyone the real causes of my disturbances. I cannot remember or articulate my trauma.

But I can sit in front of this computer and tell you how it felt to see every single bone in that doe’s body snap.

And that, I think, is as close to the same thing that I can hope for.

 



I am a blank canvas; I am a black canvas
October 2, 2016, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was watching some viral video this weekend and I didn’t click out of it fast enough and another video started playing. Usually I click the ‘x’ and go about my business, but something made my finger hover my phone screen, but not commit. This man had a canvas in front of him and he was painting it black. I’m sure, somewhere, The Rolling Stones were playing. As I watched him turn his canvas into a void, I wondered if maybe this was the kind of art where you put a thin layer of black paint over an existing piece of art and then as you scratch at the black, bits of the hidden art start to emerge. I had seen a video of that a few weeks before. Works of art, of beauty, hidden under the darkness and if you scratch hard enough, you can see a peak of what was originally there.

This was not that kind of painting. Instead of scratching away, the man started making light, invisible strokes against the darkness. Slowly, even for a time lapsed film, a shape began to emerge. A squirrel sat flatly against the canvas. Seconds later, the fur, his eyes, his shadow, they all seemed to somehow leap off of the page. It was almost as if the blackness beneath him added to the beauty and detail of the painting; surely more than a plain white canvas would have done. The artist finished the painting with the addition of another squirrel, this one seemingly dead in front of the original creature. Both animals so lifelike that it seemed you could almost reach out and feel one of their bristly tails. A trick of the eye and a great performance of talent, for sure. img_4022

It made me think about darkness, depression, emotional pain. Perhaps there are two types of people and how they handle their issues. One type choose to let the black wash over their life, their self worth, their goals. It hides everything good they had, anything beautiful they had gained in their lives. If they are complacent about it, they might as well call it all gone. Darkness would be all they would see. Some might scratch away at the black, trying to get glimpses of what they used to be; the whole picture would certainly still remain covered but a bit of memory would be enough to make them wish they could live their life all over again and perhaps dodge the moment they let the darkness, the depression, the black, cloak their life. Defeat and acceptance would go hand in hand and soon they would just become their emotional turmoil; just a black canvas hanging on the wall with a few scratches shooting bold and bright colors out from underneath.

Some people, the brave people, the people who refuse to go quietly into that night, will embrace the blackness. They will mourn the loss of the life they had before things were so very difficult, of course. How could they not? Life was so simple back then, when everything was a blank  white canvas for them to create their hopes and dreams upon. But, on top of that black that eventually consumed them, they will create a new sort of life. One with dimension, painful beauty, extraordinary detail. It will be a different life, but perhaps that’s what they needed all along. It takes a strong person to take something so dark as emotional pain and use it to create a deeper and more meaningful life than they knew before. It comes with a deeper sensitivity to things, a greater appreciation for true love, a more detailed understanding of themselves.

Painting on a white canvas is fine, and safe, and what most people do. But some of us have the audacity to paint on a black one, because we refuse to be defined by that darkness. We are brave enough to wield our illness like a weapon, a paint brush, and in this way, we can never be defeated by it.