Trauma can convince us that small changes are big and last forever.
I had my booster shot last week and what you probably don't know about me, is that when I was 15 I spent nearly 8 months in bed.
My body had suddenly shut down and it became difficult to even lift my arms. After about 3 months of investigation, my condition was finally diagnosed as Epstein Barr Virus over a long list of other possibilities. I'm still not entirely sure what that means but I know enough to say with certainty that I would not wish the experience on anyone, especially a vibrant 15 year old girl who was finally getting to know herself.
I can look back now and see what I was gifted from the experience and I suppose there are many things. For one, I learned to be an artist during that time. And began to understand the identity as one that I would never just try on, but would be a part of how I think and move in the world for the rest of my life, despite profession or interest. And this knowing I would never trade.
I also understood what it was like to not be in control and how sometimes the bravest thing to do is surrender and discover what it means to exist in surrender for a while. Surrender is not easy, but it brings ease to the hardness.
That's the good stuff. The other lessons I hate and struggle with to this day. And that's trauma.
Part of my trauma is I don't like being tired. And by don't like, I mean being tired scares the shit out of me to the point of panic. It is an impossible task for me to process and move through fatigue with ease. When I'm tired it is hard for me to believe that with rest, I will get better. The lesson I learned in my 15 year old mind and body was sometimes tired stays. No matter what.
Tired, life altering fatigue, as far as I know, is permanent. And this lion of a lie roared in my face this past week as I struggled to believe that the flat on my back fatigue from a single booster shot would pass. And as I was still a little tired even after a few days, that this too would pass. It was impossible for me to believe that a small change I was experiencing would not be permanent.
And that's where the fear comes in. The need to create such strong and impenetrable boundaries that one cannot bend or yield even a little. And while many boundaries are meant to never be moved, there are some due to circumstance that should be pushed. These are the ones that help us grow, if we let them.
And that growth is seldom the beautiful or romantic kind. It's the growth that hurts and demands expansion and abandonment of what we know as comfort. Usually at a much faster rate than we would like.
So when my daughter asked me this morning how we are still in this clusterfuck of a mess after nearly 2 years, I said, trauma can convince us small changes are big and last forever.
And here we are.