You’ve all seen the movies. Those ones where there’s some god-awful huge major battlefield scene, that goes on forever. It’s all so crazy and then suddenly, it ends. And then an eerie calmness ensues. Except, in the movies, it’s immediate celebrating and of course the heroes live and the bad guys die, and it’s all “lets go back home and sleep this off” happy ending lalala.
Real life isn’t like that. Realisation…this sudden time for me to realise what has happened over the last few years…it feels like those scenes.
I feel like my whole life has been a string of battles, one after the other, in the heat of a huge battlefield. I never had time or space or even the ability to step back and see quite how huge and brutal it was. At any one point I was just staring at the battle in front of me; the enemy right in my face, and sub-consciously keeping track of whereabouts we were in the grand scheme of the whole war. At any second the weapon I was holding could be deemed useless, or lost, and I’d have to think fast. Somewhere, I was extremely scared….but there was never any time to properly feel this fear, or hold onto it. To do so would have been dangerous. I just needed to rely on my adrenaline and hope I could think, dodge and lunge fast enough to make it through the next five minutes alive…and then the next five minutes…and so on.
If I tried listening, I could hear horror all around me. But I didn’t. I needed to just concentrate on the horror in front of me, and try to take any emotional meaning out of it. Just see it as another obstacle. Just keep going. No matter what happens, just keep going. Do not, under any circumstances, take a second to think about what situation I’m in. Do not consider the horror, the brutality, the fear and the sadness. Do not consider quite how extreme the danger is. To take that second would get me killed. To feel that fear and shock would paralyse me, and cost me my life. The time to process would come later. For now, I just needed to keep fighting and somehow survive.
And I did. But, unlike the movies, a real battlefield doesn’t decide who’s “good and bad” and have a sense of justice. Many survived who were monsters. Many didn’t survive, who were innocent, and heroes.
Now, it’s over. I feel like I’m standing in the centre of the battlefield, and what was once full of screams and noise and chaos, is eerily still and silent. I’m turning, slowly, mouth agape…totally shocked by the environment around me. I can see all the casualties, can see the vast amount of lost innocence. I can see the broken land destroyed by the chaos. I hear coughs and cries in the distance; others that have survived. I am terribly injured, but too in shock to properly register the pain yet. I am just totally shocked. I know at some point there’ll be tears. But for now, I stare at the scene. There’s a mist of smoke clouding it still; the hugeness of the whole thing isn’t fully visible yet.
And what now? In the films the survivors amazingly make it home, miraculously quick after it all ends. But who knows I survived? How do I tell the world I’m here? Somehow I have to get out of here, and to warmth and safety. But can I just leave this scene? This scene of dead chaos? No I can’t. First I have to walk around the whole scene, to check for anything else that might have survived, and lay to rest the parts of me that didn’t survive, or were too damaged to be of any future use. To get off this empty, eerie battlefield…I must first process the battles.
I feel a tight knot in my stomach, a knot of shock. A dryness in my mouth. I just don’t even know how to describe my feelings. I want to scream. I want to sob. I want to celebrate. I want to howl. I want to laugh. So much. The conflict is in my head now.
Who now to tell me what to do? Who am I fighting against? Who is guiding me? I’m alone in the centre of a battlefield, with casualties dotted around me. To get anywhere I have to walk past pain. To get to that stage I have to go through shock. And all this time I’m staring at the frighteningly still environment, which had not so long ago been filled with chaos and a flurry of frightening activity. Now it’s still, and I’m thinking… why am I the only one to survive? Where are the rest? There must be more…
Absolute shock…the brutality, horror, twisted evil and power that ruled my life for so long, was the centre of my attention so that I could survive…this was so normal. I couldn’t question it, if I wanted to live. I couldn’t feel it, if I wanted to survive. Now I’ve survived. I can stand here, and the realisation of how extremely horrific the whole thing has been can and is hitting me.
So shocked. So scared and lost. So hurt and confused. So uncertain of the future; the great unknown. So scared of walking around and processing the casualties and processing the extent of it all. So grateful that I survived and reached this point which had deep down always felt like an impossible dream. So guilty that I did, and others didn’t. So distraught that so much pain was inflicted, for no good reason.
The battlefield lies still and silent now, and is more overwhelming in it’s stillness than when in the heat of the battle. Because with it’s silence, comes processing… whereas in the battle, came only survival. Just shocked. Totally.