I know there are many who suffer from PTSD. I never counted myself among them, even with a colorful history of sexual abuse and violence. I’ve been through enough therapy to consider myself as healed as I’m going to get. A psychotherapist friend often posts about how victims carry their trauma in their skin, in their bones, in their sinew… how it becomes a physical part of them.
For the first time in my half-century of life, I’m beginning to understand what that means.
Since 45 was elected into our country’s highest office, my tension and anxiety has steadily and dramatically increased. When he first said about women that he could “grab ’em by the pussy,” I was shocked and incensed that so many would continue to excuse his abhorrent words and behavior. But that’s just one horrifying statement in an incredibly long, demeaning list of them:
- “What a stupid question that is. But I watch you a lot, and you ask a lot of stupid questions…” to a female journalist
- “… and this monster who was on stage with Mike Pence…” in reference to Kamala Harris
- “…that’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do…” to another female journalist
- “When she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed…” about Hillary Clinton
- “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that…” about Carly Fiorina
- “Sadly, she’s no longer a 10…” about Heidi Klum
- “Disgusting…,” “Miss Piggy…” about 1996 Miss Universe pageant winner, Alicia Machado
- “An extraordinarily low IQ person…” about Maxine Waters
- “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever…” about Megyn Kelly
- “Can you imagine the parents of Kelli… when she said, ‘Mom, Dad, I just fell in love with a big, fat pig named Rosie’?” about Rosie O’Donnell
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Those who see him for what he is are already painfully aware of his misogynistic, women-bashing tendencies, and those who still see him as some kind of gift from a cruel god will continue to refuse to see the truth of him.
But I see it.
And I feel it.
The last 3.5 years have been crushing in so many ways. The lying, the gaslighting, the cruelty. I feel it in my skin, in my bones, in my sinew… like my trauma wound is being poked and prodded. For a girl whose too-young body was used for a selfish man’s personal needs; whose young adult body was taken at knifepoint by a stranger; for a mother of four whose body was shoved across a driveway, who stood cowering in a kitchen while vile, angry words were spit in her face, while she shook violently and threatened to call 9-1-1… I now understand how trauma lives deep inside. Because mine has been unleashed. In the last 3.5 years, I have experienced intense anxiety, darkening depression, and psychosomatic ailments. The stress induced by the state of this country has all but eaten me alive.
Today, I proudly donned my “The Future is Female” t-shirt; my rainbow-colored scarf, tights, and Chuck Taylors; and my “Love Conquers Hate” mask and drove my big ass truck to the polls. Today, I trembled in line with eagerness and anxiety as I waited to cast my choice to bring character back to this country. Today, I pressed a button—one tiny, disinfected button—that made me feel like I stepped on the path that will take me back to my life.
The one that will allow me to take back my life.
There is power in action, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant that action might be. If you are feeling the weight of the world right now, set it down for a moment. It’s not yours to carry, anyway. Do something for you, for your peace of mind, for your sanity. And if that’s not your gig, do something for someone else. A phone call, a text, an unexpected “I love you.”
Take your life back, one baby step at a time.
It was never meant to belong to anyone else.