When You Remember It All

Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive content involving abuse.
Tired woman with her head down on a train tray table
Abbie Bernet / Unsplash

The coffee mug is radiating warmth into my hands, it reminds today is today. This day is real. I have to tell myself in the morning, “Today I am safe.” The past isn’t here even though I can still feel the pain. The memories still remain. They linger as a stink I can’t wash away. No matter how many times I send the load through my mind’s washing machine. These memories are a stain on my every waking moment’s reality.

Outside it’s another cold, dreary February day. Raindrops fall endlessly and I remember too many funerals. My high heels sunk into the soft damp soil. The preachers prayed, and we cried. I miss all that I’ve lost. The family I have had to bury and I still see them in my dreams. They were the people who I had spent holidays, happy days, and shared an abundance of love with around dinner tables. The years have ticked by, and I yearn for one more moment with them. They were the pieces of my heaven on this earth.

Mainly, I remember portions of a life lived in hell. Men facing me with demon eyes and belts raised. Spitting in my face. Kicking me in a pregnant belly. I know how fear feels. Each waking moment I am reminded how delicate skin is attached and how easily it will tear. The marks have healed. The scars seemingly are going to stay forever.

There is power in my pain. 

There’s an overwhelming continuous belief in overcoming obstacles. I have to look around the living room, the turquoise one I live in today. But, sometimes, I still see the old living room I grew up in. I remember a place where pieces of the ceiling fell onto a floor model television. A place which seemed like a forced home. I wouldn’t have chosen it if given a choice.

Childhood. Adolescent. Teenager. Adult.

I remember it all. Even though I keep trying to forget. My mind will only allow me miniature moments of peace in a few blackened gaps. In forgetting, and only fusing together collaged pieces. They’re welded together in my screaming soul. The voice inside of me never stops sobbing.

Last February, I fell down. I let another man break me. Third time didn’t feel like a charm. First time I broke happened with a father. Second time happened with a now ex-husband. Third time happened with another husband.

Cheating doesn’t break a heart. It breaks a soul. If you cheat enough, it will permanently damage your relationship. It doesn’t matter how strong you believe your foundation to be built. It will shatter a home with an earthquake magnitude shake. Your home falls to the ground in dust, rage, betrayal, and heartache.

My home collapsed last February.

The demolition contaminated my future. I couldn’t know how much though. Not until now. Today, I know and am having to once again assess the damage done. The dreams come and they say he’s cheating again. There’s no rest when I shut my eyes. Nightmares have stronghold not allowing me to rest.

I have to isolate. Create a safe place, and I retreat there. Distract. Safety is a dark room swallowing me in a lifetime forged from a fire I have had to survive.

I remember it all.

If I could forget, I would. I’d allow the cold February rain to wash away everything I don’t want to remember. I’d stand in the muck, let my body fall on the ground, and give the earth all these memories. I’d take a shower, wash the mud off my scarred skin, and let it go swirling down the drain.

Never to be seen again.

Memories don’t wash off. They stick, and sometimes like seasons, they come around again. Today I am safe. Today I’ve learned to love myself more. Today is today, and one day I will remember today instead of the pain from too many hurt-filled yesterdays.

Pour another cup of coffee, begin today anew. TC mark

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