That’s the best way to describe my situation. Stranded in life. Complete loss of direction or even just ideas as to where to look for alternatives, let alone a new perspective.
I thought, I was doing o.k. all things considered. I mean, coming from severe trauma that happened in the first few weeks of my life and got somehow set into stone, figuratively speaking, in the ensuing years through a number of retraumatizations, one bringing me to the point of experiencing the emotional equivalent of a fatal attack at age 4. “They’re going to kill you, these are your last moments in life, you will never see your family again.” Those were the distinct thoughts I remember when three nurses fought hard to force a chloroform mask on my face to “knock me out” prior to a surgery scheduled that day. I must have given them a run for their money with my slightly undersized, tiny-framed 4-year-old boy’s body, when two nurses actually called for a third one in to help them with pushing me into an operation chair in a half-lit room in the early morning hours of that day. My parents had kissed me good-bye the night before – that’s how it felt to me-, reassuring me they’d be back the next day and that I’d barely notice their absence in between. I also remember not saying anything to that, but going “yeah, yeah – that’s why you take off now, cowards” in my mind. I was four years old and was already experiencing the profound solitude human experience is shackled with from birth to death. The solitude never left me eversince and it’s back at full scope, now sidelined with the acute knowing that this is ultimately the only truth we can depend on: You come alone and you go alone. And anything in between is a mere flicker show of more or less pleasant sensations to the body and mind. Lights on at birth, lights out at death. And that’s that.
But I’m digressing, as usual. I had to learn to stay focussed as a grown up, as my earlier environment never taught me this. Jumping from one topic to the next without any segue or thread, mixing significant things with insignificant ones and all thoroughly shaken and stirred in a gumbo of mutilated sentences that left ample room to be interpreted one way or the exact opposite of it. That’s my rearing for you.
I loved school. I’d go home on Fridays, saddened by the outlook of a seemingly infinite stretch of boredom awaiting me at home, without the hustle and bustle of sassy, noisy kids roaming the school yard and classrooms, the flurry of colorful characters entering and leaving my attention at a pace that left me on toes and had me exhilarated to bliss with excitement. I remember waking up on weekdays, energized by the promise of unknown mysteries awaiting me, shared with me by knowledgable women and men to enlighten my ignorance. I loved learning and being put to the test. It was a neverending game in 3D and living color. I remember becoming more and more fearful towards mid day, when the end of the morning would close in on me and deliver me to the erratic volatility of my home environment. I hated to be at home and there was barely a day I didn’t wish or dream myself away from this place of infinite agony that got buried in my heart to last me until I draw my last breath. I hated home. I still do. After their demise, I hope I will find a way to fight the will and have the cursed house flattenend and the soil sold to a greedy realtor who’ll sell it to even greedier home owners. Or to let the roughly 2,000 square feet be taken by nature again in order to equalize the pain that’s taken place in multiple ways and bridging no less than three generations and transform it into the wild and unbridled beauty only nature is able to create. Either way, I hope there’ll be a finite end to this goddamn place. If not, I might consider dedicating myself to making this very thing happen: To eliminate this ugly place from the face of the earth and the memories of neighbouring parties until there isn’t even a thought left in anyone dead or alive of the suffering that has taken place there.
I just realize, I’m digressing again. So – where did I got stranded and how so? Guess, any idea of self I was able to create on my own in the aftermath of what I’m alluding to above went out the window with my divorce in 2003. In order to make some sense of this [another warning of digression]: I think, it’s become evident that I don’t come from a healthy background and with no healthy concept of self. The trauma I have repeatedly mentioned in this blog is of such nature that any concept of unimpaired integrity got annihilated during the first months into my life and this due to a hospitalization at a pediatric clinic. Naturally, I don’t have readily accessible, distinct memories of this time, although I believe to have retrieved some faint “memories” – for lack of a better word – by inducing mild trances, thus enabling a reverse travel along the guideposts of bottled up and thus “stored” emotions, taking me back to those very first and initiating days that did so much harm to my being. Images, visualizations reappeared in more or less precise shape. Skipping the pointless debate over accuracy of those inner images, I think they all bottle down to one quality: The experience of utter helplessness and surrender to more powerful beings, who exerted complete control over me and my young life. As a matter of fact, I think it’s accurate to say that my very survival rested at the mercy of those I had gotten delivered to. And that’s how I felt, too: Delivered. A barely five pounds strong package of tissue, bones and flesh, left at the volatile hands of faceless, nameless, uniform shapes, who would habitually rip me from the only comfort available, i.e. the bed sheets and notoriously do so in the early morning hours in order to subdue me to painful, intrusive tests and examinations, while I had barely regained wakefulness.
I also “remember” those “visits” by my parents one a week. I’m not sure whether they’d technically qualify as visits per today’s terms and understanding. What I do “remember” – or think to remember – are those two slightly familiar faces reappearing in the frame of a closed glass window here and there and typically making wild gestures and moving their lips to signal something I wasn’t able to make sense of. Again, I think I remember a nurse holding me up into that window at those times and I’d try to understand, whether those people on the other side of the glass pane were here to liberate me from this clinical imprisonment and end the infinite fear and pain that can only be summed up as this: A profound threat to dear life, day in, day out. To those visitors, who keep reading the word trauma, I’ll put my understanding and experience of it in a nutshell for you: Think of the worst nightmare you ever woke up from, sweating, panting, disturbed to physical discomfort of all kinds. Now imagine this situation to happen in an environment that is totally alien to you and where there is no significant other or spouse lying next to you in bed, it all happens absent of familiar surroundings, like personal items aligned on the walls or in the room and such. To make things even more alike to what they felt to me at the time, go and imagine the dreaming scene in your nightmare to carry on and manifest in real life! Imagine, you got chased by a humongous grizzly bear, a lion or other predator, they are closing in on you, breathing down your neck, you feel the immediate terror of an all-resolved beast preparing to tear at your very flesh the very next moment and it all happens right here, right now in real life! Fear of impending, painful death. There’s a traumatizing experience for you in a nutshell. And what is PTSD or any of the closely related “syndromes”? It’s infinitely reliving that moment in your life, more or less day in, day out or whenever a situation occurs that presents itsself in somewhat similar ways as the original one. Do you believe yourself capable of functionning in a normal manner when faced with the backdrop of such a reality that won’t ever leave you? Scientists say, some do. Others don’t. They’re still in the process of figuring out, what the mediating aspects are, how they manifest on the molecular level in the human body and who is more vulnerable or prone to suffering from PTSD than others.
Well. I never got back to the topic I had meant to speak about. That I feel stranded in life. Or maybe I have. By talking about all kinds of other things I have been lugging around with me for my entire life, unprocessed, untreated for, not even given much of an opportunity to speak about them instead of presenting a concise recap of the place I got stranded in. As I have been around for some 48 years, I think I have understood that success comes to those, who claim and seize what they wish for and envision for themselves. Aye – that’s what I do with this blog. WordPress.com are so kind as to give me and other bloggers a largely free-of-charge platform for this and I’m using it in ways I see fit for myself. This particular blog ended up being about putting trauma in a nutshell for you instead of boring you with a commonplace life situation that anyone couldn’t care less about.