This word, trigger, keeps spinning around me.

It grabs at my heart, squeezes it…tightly…so hard.
It feels like I can’t breathe. I gasp for some air, steady myself, move on with my day. Triggered.

My brain grapples and spins with thoughts, words, and questions. I’m trying to understand. My brain is so tired from trying to understand.

It’s usually an article. No, not even…it’s the title of the article. Trigger.
I don’t dare read it. Please, I beg of myself, stop scrolling. But there is another post from a sister who is also triggered.
I can tell by her anger.
I can tell by her tone.
I can tell.
I need to be there for her; holding her hand.
I like. I comment. I send a heart. I’m here. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I am you.

And then I crumble. Trigger. Even that moment of solidarity, crumbles me.
Don’t lean on me.
I can hold your hand but don’t lean on me because I. can barely. hold. myself. up.
I’m triggered and teetering between those spaces…all those spaces.

I need to read her words though. I find a place by myself and I read her story. I sit in the dark with her. I’m no longer triggered.
I’m done.          It’s over.          I’m there.
Reliving it.          Remembering it.         All of it.

I see her in all the ways she NEVER wanted anyone to see her. I see me in all the ways I can’t bare to imagine anyone seeing me.

What’s her name? I don’t need to know her name. She is me. I am her. Trigger. We are one of the same.

Her strength and courage astounds me. She doesn’t want my admiration.
I fall into a different kind of trigger.
She is braver than I am. I didn’t press charges. I didn’t even report it.
Comparisons. Guilt. Shame.

The times I’ve been assaulted, drugged and raped so many years ago and yet here it is…here it is all over again. I want to be angry at him and him and him, and at the rape culture we live in, but I’m not…not now in this moment. Here, in my car, alone, I’m questioning why I didn’t do what the brave women do. I’m in a puddle of guilt and shame.

I want to post the statistics…all the numbers of women assaulted, raped and now, forever triggered. But the numbers lie, because there are many, like me, that aren’t accounted for. I want to post a piece about white privilege (found this though). And parenting differently. And the fucked up value we place on male athletes. But my brain can’t because my heart is broken.

I’m trying.
I’m trying.
I’m trying to avoid the triggers.
I’m trying to reach out to those that get it. I’m trying not to feel alone.
But I’m sitting in my car, alone, scared and weak.
I want to be strong and brave. I want to be a fighter but I’m broken. Still. So. Broken. So many years later.

It’s okay. I find the gentle, loving space that I teeter into and I rest there.
Take care of you, Sara. Take care of you and the rest will melt away.

There are moments to fight, to speak my truth, to stand tall in my power. There are times for me to roar with all my courage and determined desire for justice. And there are times to be gentle, tender and tearful with my precious, precious heart.

It is not either/or. I am not brave or broken.
I am both.
I am not a survivor or a victim.
I am both.
I am not suffering or thriving.
I am both.
There are moments for all of it as I steady myself and keep walking through the triggers.

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4 thoughts on “Triggered”

  1. Allison Crow says:

    beauty-full and courageous share. thank you.

  2. Cindy Allen says:

    I love you ♡♡♡ You speak for many and I feel every word — thank you for being real and vulnerable and strong and sad. Now let’s go dance in the kitchen : )

  3. Rich Seibert says:

    thanks for your important sharing! Very courageous!

  4. Tracey says:

    Sara this is so beautiful. I stand in solidarity with you! Thanks for sharing your beautiful writing.

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