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The Aftermath

I’ve cried more times this week than I have in years. And when I’m not physically crying, I feel like I’m holding back my tears. That uneasy feeling where you can practically feel your emotions caught in your throat, making you think you’re slightly sick and off-balance. I forgot how scary it is to expose a dark and buried secret. How raw and vulnerable it makes you feel. How it affects not only you, but everyone around you. Except this time, I can’t let it affect my son — the person closest to me right now. He can’t know that mommy has been crying herself to sleep every night or that the only time I feel present and not sad is when he’s in my arms (something I’m very much grateful for). I’m not sure which is better— my usual defense of retreating from the world for a bit in a cocoon of blankets, anxiety meds, and Friday Night Lights. Or what I’m doing now, walking this tightrope trying to balance not being a complete mess in front of my son, and lashing out at the rest of the world. Neither option is really great.

…And some people don’t know why people choose not to talk about these things.

And when you’re in a vulnerable place, the whole world seems a little rougher. Things that would normally not even phase you seem crushing. I feel like I’ve been carrying anger and resentment around all week. Maybe it’s been poorly misdirected, or maybe I’m just tired of feeling so fucking bad and marginalized. Either way, I’m sorry to the people who have been on the receiving end of this anger. This is hopefully only temporary, but the pain I’ve been living with is permanent.

Despite it all, there have been moments of grace. Finally talking about things that have been plaguing me since I was a teenager was unburdening. A few friends messaged me to tell me that sharing my story allowed them to share or make peace with theirs. People have pulled me aside to let me know they’re thinking of me and they’re here if I need anyone to talk to. I’ve rallied behind friends that have been brave enough to share their stories, and have let them rally around me. It’s been a nice reminder that we women are a force.

Today will be a tough day for women. I woke up feeling like there’s a weight on my chest. It’s hard to breathe, honestly. But, I will be strong when I need to be— in front of my son, at work — and allow myself to break down the rest of the time. The shower, my car, and office bathroom have all been places of refuge this week. Self care is not a luxury, it’s essential in times like these.

Thank you to all the women (and men) who have shared their trauma. I see you and I’m here for you. Thank you to all the women (and men) who have supported me this week as I was reliving mine.

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