It’s your birthday today.
I’ve tried to stop my head from wandering to memories, but it’s almost impossible – my body is already there. On top of already constant fibromyalgia pain, my abdomen has been clenching all day, and when I start drifting to sleep I feel your hands and wake up with a start.
I’ve been on edge all day, sitting and staring outside at the front door frequently, and I’ve checked and re-checked countless times that the door is in fact locked. I know I’m not in danger but PTSD doesn’t work that way. The threat of your memory lingers…
I’ve had candles burning, scented, and I’ve almost choked myself on overloading perfume. I needed the smell of your breath gone; it’s lingering right in front of my face, so thick I am almost surprised I can’t see it. I can taste you, can taste you forcing yourself into my mouth, because it’s your birthday and ‘good girls’ give you what present you want. This morning I couldn’t swallow a thing without gagging; the memory making my gag reflex super sensitive. But I refuse to let the memory starve me just because the real event did. This afternoon I have forced food down, all comfort food…food I chose to buy and eat, rich in calories. Gradually my gag reflex has calmed, and I can now eat almost normally again. You haven’t beaten me this year. You have not made having anything in my mouth traumatic again. I will enjoy my Christmas dinner for the first time in my life, and your memory cannot take that away from me.
I keep feeling a sharp pain down below, sharp and fiery…it takes my breath out of me just like it did every year. But this time I’m safe and free, I’m not tied up whilst you hurt me, I can comfort my body. I can hold my stomach and murmur to my body it’s safe, it doesn’t need to re-live it if it doesn’t want to; I know what happened to it and will validate its memory. I have wrapped myself in blankets and cried when needed and taken great strength in knowing I am alone, I am safe, nobody is near me, and I am well enough now to look after myself. I was determined to get through today by myself, knowing I am seeing close ones tomorrow. I was determined your memory wouldn’t rule me.
This year there are no desperate screams from me, no rawness in my throat when I’ve screamed myself to the point where I’m weak, exhausted, empty. There’s no need for me to look in your eye with a mixture of defiance and fear. I won’t scream and be ignored. Because I’m not your victim anymore.
Earlier I napped, and as I lay in bed I felt myself tense, bracing myself for you to come into my room and pin me down beneath your sweaty weight. The stench clawed its way into my nose and mouth, consuming me, and I ran to the toilet and threw up. But I was determined I would nap. I am in pain and exhausted and this year I have no reason to fear falling asleep. I lay back down in bed and felt your hands sliding under my clothes, up my stomach and gripping my chest. I felt it so vividly you could have been there. But you weren’t. As a child it was not safe to assert power. This is different. I felt your hands and hissed “Get off me, old man.” Your memory faded instantly, my body was mine again. I trembled for a bit in remembered fear, and snuggled to my teddy bear, and let the little girl in me finally sleep soundly on your birthday.
Tonight I am listening to music, I am chatting to my girlfriend, I am smiling at photographs, and I am excited to make new and wonderful Christmas memories to overpower your sick ones. I’m safe, and your hold over me lessens with every passing moment of safety and love.
This year, you will have no birthday present from me. This year I raise my middle finger to you, and reclaim my body and my right to safety and happiness.
Happy birthday, f*cker.