when i was little, the forecast of snow would send a wave of belly calming and head buzzing relief over me.
the forecast of snow: a promise of protection and accountability.
everything is quieter and voices are carried effortlessly to my ear. footsteps, no matter the intention, are muffled into gentleness. a stomping foot barely louder than tip toe. a running foot simply a sped up stroll. i couldn’t prevent them from coming near but i could see where they came from and where they went. traceable proof of branches being pulled, shaken or poked. undeniable evidence.
this child me…living in a loving home, experiencing abuse outside of it, assuming it’s just the way things are…loved the snow. relaxing as the natural world took over some of the hyper-vigilance. my ears didn’t strain to hear sounds, my eyes softened their gaze, my body rested. and in the morning i simply saw proof of what i knew.
a couple of weeks ago, a stay at home order was suggested. i didn’t realize it at the time, but i fell blissfully into the old snow safety net. i didn’t realize that the child in me woke up, elated and relieved, “i can be at home and no one is allowed to come in. i can be at home and no one is allowed to ask me to come out. the whole town, the whole state, the whole country, the whole world is covered in snow.” i didn’t realize i still longed for that relief until it was replaced with terror.
my stomach would drop, my head would spin, i dreaded messages and news. i put on a brave face and hid the ever familiar shame. i felt stupid and like i was overreacting. i felt selfish and like a liar. i felt disregarded and not worth protecting. i felt inherently unsafe and i stayed inside watching the snow melt before it hit the ground.
when social distancing wasn’t honored, i was triggered. activated back to an abused child, it became personal and not about the virus.
i am not safe
i am not heard
my words don’t matter
i’m not believed
i can’t hide
this thing i claim is invisible
rules aren’t followed
i was tricked
i’m stupid for thinking it would work
boundaries aren’t solid
yet after years of healing work, of learning how to remain curious about my fears, of therapy and medication, i noticed the terror. i wrote about it. i cried about it. i separated out what was abuse related and what was pandemic related.
the 46 year old me showed up and noticed life now:
boundaries are real
i have hiding places
i am heard
and the child is me is safer than ever before.