I’ve missed writing. I wish that I could say that I am sentimental about it, like those people that write on pieces of paper because they love the smell of black ink on thinly shaved pieces of wood. I’m sure they find the smell nostalgic, and for them writing has become a journey to the soul through the olfactory senses. When I think of people like that I get rather jealous, because there is something poetic in that hand-cramped writing process. Similarly, there are the poets who smash out words on a type-writer, like beautiful compositions meant for a piano played on a wooden floor, facing the window where the sun comes to listen. For these writers the journey to the soul is through their ears. We are all blessed with the suffering of synesthesia, if only we would listen. Or smell.
I unfortunately have no time for that sentimentalism. My hands are cramped from the effects of PTSD that has been gathering under my skin like radium. The piano ballads that stir me, also shake me, like a Martini of emotions that I get as easily addicted to. I instead sit at my laptop, staring at a screen that is so bright that it dulls my senses. I am in an operation room, scrutinizing my psyche as I write, hoping to draw on any senses that appear to me, hoping to feel something, hoping to type my pain away.
There is nothing poetic about a laptop. Often mid-sentence AVG decides it is time for an anti-virus update and sounds its pathetic buzzer to remind me. While I am escaping, dreaming on clouds of syntax, I am reminded by the most invasive sounds of threat. Threats are all around me. Threats do not own me. I bare the most vulnerable corners of my earth-heart on a threatened laptop. I take risks. I even love.
Sometimes I don’t even realise I have PTSD. On those days I am awfully disappointed in myself for being so careful, for being so tired, for having such a fuzzy brain. On those days I often feel like I can have some kind of a normal life – I want to say I could have a normal life again, but there never was, and there never is, and there never will be something like normal. So I guess we resort to the euphemisms – a functioning life? I hope I can function in a system that was designed to break me, and have a healthy relationship based on the ideals created by heteronormative unrealistic expectations? Yeah, that sounds about normal.
I get so tired of everyone talking about their processes – I am getting there, I am working on it, I am figuring it out. That individual self-reflexivity is beautiful in itself, but what is the point? What is the point of chafing and carving yourself into an inanimate object that can fit into the world that is evidently out to destroy itself? I am so tired of making myself believe in the system – in what we are doing to survive. My instinct, my core, my lizard brain, is telling me that something is not right. Yet I have to force myself out of bed every morning, and enter the world of hustle and bustle and commute and somehow hope that it all means something at the end of the day.
But the nice thing about PTSD (I am kidding! There is no nice thing about PTSD), is that it constantly reminds you of how un-okay things are. Yes, of how scary things are and of how scary things were. Of powerlessness, of inequality. But mostly, for me, of the lack of space to recover. The lack of time, of patience, of resources, of self-acceptance. The constant battle in my head of – “I can’t” vs “I have to” reminds me of how ill our world is. That it would push me beyond my breaking point, and ask me to go even further, for the purpose of… surviving? Let me not even get to the energy levels it takes to lead a “happy” life.
I find reasons and moments and people and things that give me sanity. That make me feel alive and like I might stay alive. These have nothing to do with how I pay my bills, however. And how I wish that could be the last thing on my mind every month, alongside how much I already owe my psychologist. And when I am destroyed on some days, by a simple trigger, everyone gets uncomfortable. Because they know, she can’t make it in this system. They want to offer me a list of five quick and easy solutions, but they know, it’s futile.
I wish I had time to sit with my words – to mould them, break them, plaster them into the work of art I’ve always wanted my writing to be. But more than that, I wish I had the energy to just allow those words to come to me, without feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Without feeling the guilt of “wasting” energy on the luxury of expressing myself that I should rather be using on working, earning money, keeping myself alive. If only I was able to express how much this right here, is what is keeping me alive.