It’s after midnight and I’m sleeping in a creeky hotel bed and I’m tired. So tired. I once spoke to a counselor who talked about people in other countries who experienced catastrophic, emotionally charged traumatic events or disasters, yet they had little to no after effects. No ptsd, no trauma disorders, no fear or long lasting anxiety. Just resilient folks who didn’t feel permanently victimized as the result of trauma.
When I heard this, I was hoping maybe I was one of those lucky people. One of those lucky people who had escaped trauma without the emotional and physical Battlefield that ravaged a sinking body. And things went swimmingly. But today I realized that although the emotional scars may have hidden for a while, they are never actually gone.
I went to therapy for a little bit. They tried to teach me to deal with my feelings. The problem is that I have no feelings. I am not angry at him, nor do I want him to go to jail and spend time away from his wife and children, nor do I feel any sense that justice must be served. I forgive him. I just want everything to go back to normal. As if this was something that might could happen.
Despite being nearly fearless in my job, today my assignment took me to someone’s home. My inspection was unannounced and it always makes me feel a bit uneasy walking in to someone’s home when they don’t expect me to be there. Today I sat with two men, mildly defensive from their perceived feelings of criticism toward their business. The barking dog they refused to put away felt like an attempt to gain power over me. As things continued on, the man, in a simple gesture touched my shoulder. I cringed and froze up. A few more of these harmless touches occured throughout the day–my shoulder, my elbow, my forearm, a pat on the back. Yet each I time I froze in fear. Terrified of a stranger’s hands on my body. And my voice was stuck deep down in my throat and nothing would even come out.
Friendly, innocent, human gestures have become torture chambers. Why should human contact feel like knives stabbing into my skin and why is it so insanely hard for me to politely say, please don’t touch me? Am i afraid of how i might be seen? How it might come off? Am I afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings? Being perceived as cold and strange. I don’t think so. It’s just our of fear. Fear of what? Of what happens when I assert myself? Will a perfectly fine person in an average situation flip and become violent? Will he hurt me? Why am I so irrationally terrified of being hurt? It’s not physical pain. I can handle that no problem. It’s the emotional pain I’m scared of. Being so vulnerable, easy to take advantage of, not worthy, less than, not worth it, easy to treat subhumanly.
I am sensitive. I am strong. I feel on many levels. But please don’t touch me or hug me without asking. This is my space. My emotional buffer. And the only hands that belong here are mine