In the Blink of an Eye
Just when I think I have a handle on not falling apart on the inside there is something that comes along to tip the balance. It can be a song that is played on the radio. A scent picked up from standing outside my front door. A noise from a child playing outside that I hear. Sometimes it can even be a stranger’s glance, smile, or choice of words I hear them speak. Something sparks the mind to go back over the memories I wish would never return. It is so distracting for me!
It gets harder each day to hide the fact that I am distracted inside my head full of thoughts and memories. I try to concentrate and stop my mind from going over these memories and I almost always fail. Life is so much harder than I ever imagined as a child before the abuse. I remember that little girl, before the abuse, the first Rachel. She brings a smile and at the same time tears. When the real atrocious memory bubbles seem to start to engulf me mentally I try to think of her. There is one particular moment in her life I always try to focus on. Picture it with me, will you?
A little girl plays in the backyard as the sun breaks from the clouds. The rain finally has stopped falling. Fresh cut grass mixes with the smell of the crisp freshness in the air. She’s looking for a rainbow back there. She wears a sundress with a checkerboard pattern of white and the most alluring color of deep orange. Her white second hand sandals are worn. The lock of curls that barely reach her shoulders gleam as the sun beats down on her. Her smile never fades in these moments.
The clean water is rushing down the ditch line. She stands looking down mesmerized at its movement, and its sound. She kneels down to touch the water. It instantly chills her hand and a misty spray moves up her arm as she fights the flow of the water. She feels a soothing effect being there at the water.
There was a large pebble stone slab that emerged from the water. It became her favorite sitting place after a rainfall. She could sit there to watch the water travel down the ditch line and she could stay dry. It gave her the opportunity of sometimes putting her bare feet to the surface of water. The happiness that enthralled the little girl could not be compared to anything else in her life. It was the greatest reward of emotions she could ever obtain at that time and she liked being alone to embrace it.
This was always a peaceful place for her to retreat. Even with her home only a few feet away where chaos always filled the walls for her. The anxiety and anger about mom faded here at this stone. The worries about dad being OK flowed away with the waters surge. The feeling of being left out all the time didn’t matter to her here.
I think of that in an attempt to win the war inside my head. Sometimes it is successful but majority of the time it doesn’t help. In the end I am left falling apart. I feel a deep solemn pain inside as the first Rachel slips through the cracks of my mind once again. It happens in a blink of an eye.
I can smile thinking of that little girl in memory. It is when she fades that the tears arrive. I realize how precious my innocence was then and I am reminded of the years that followed that. It hurts to see that Rachel fade over and over again but something in me feels the need to cling to her. She is my best defense in this war being waged in my mind.
It is such a long and exhausting life at times.
As I stood outside my front door today something tipped the balance once again. It was a familiar smell that passed by with a soft breeze. One-moment things are fine and in the next I am in a nightmare from the past.
It was a blue two-tone pickup truck my parents owned at the time. I tried relentlessly to fight this flashback with the memory of that pebble stone slab, but it was another fight I lost. Once again here I was, trapped in a battle for my mind. Another bubble memory of a nightmare I wish would stop attacking me. The scent outside my door brought back images of the mattress that was put in the back of that pickup truck when we took trips to Kentucky. In the blink of an eye I am that Rachel. It all plays out inside my head while the emotional breakdown I fight hard to suppress.
I am the girl filled with anxiety about having to make the trip. The girl knowing I would be made to ride in the back because my younger brother had to sit up front between mom and dad. I can see myself pleading with my dad as that little girl to let me ride up front but I can’t tell him why. My dads answer always being no. My younger brother is too small to ride in the back, and mom wants him up front with her. I can feel the anger building against my younger brother and my mom for just that reason. I can feel my heart breaking as I realize the trip is only about an hour away from starting. I even remember the thoughts that ran through my mind about wishing I would just die or have enough bravery to just run away from it all.
I hated that truck. I hated the trips to Kentucky. I hated my mom because I think she hated me. I hated my older brother for the monster he would become. I hated myself for staying silent! I still hate myself for that. I am fucked up beyond repair because I spoke not a word. There is a war that wages inside of my head every fucking day and I can’t stop it ever!
The abuse made me worry constantly about everything. I often thought about running away from home. I would lie in bed at night and think about how it would be if my dad were gone. It terrified me and usually put me in tears. I loved him so much no words could ever describe it. I worried that if my dad died before he raised me the abuse from my brother would get worse or that the family would fall apart completely if he were gone. Mom couldn’t keep it together I knew this. She certainly wouldn’t have taken care of me I thought. Just constant worries filled my mind as a child growing up. I worried about everyone around me. I worried about keeping the secret most of all.
Theat abuse created a new Rachel. The original Rachel has been replaced and I struggled to adjust to that fact still today.
I still long for that original Rachel to return for good. She can only be reached by a few chosen memories though. She gets harder to remember as I get older. As time goes by I become more exhausted over the battles that rage inside my head.
Yeah, life sucks at times.