A friend tells me–every time she invokes the name of a close dead friend–the violence of his death. She never says, “my friend who passed away” or just “my friend,” because of course I know his name by now, but rather “my friend who died xyz violent death.” Even any mention of the city in which he died, a popular city with attractions for which it is known, is spoken by her as “the city where my friend died xyz violent death.”
Now, I’m no mourning coach or grief counselor but it seems to me that to always remember his transition as the event of his demise–in its violence no less–is to re-traumatize herself every single time she invokes the name, place, or any memory of her friend. Simple math says that would equate to a lot of traumatizing. Ouch and awww.
Our bodies remember and perform trauma; I create around the theme but I am hardly innovative in my thinking.
I’ve been talking to myself a lot lately. I told y’all that story, yes? Well, the short of it is I used to chatter to myself out loud incessantly as an adolescent, got caught and subsequently teased by my sisters, so I stopped only to rediscover (thanks to a poetry assignment as a full adult) the importance of it in my life.
Sure I’m a writer and a bit of an introvert–maybe a little more than a bit. I tend to choose poetry to say what I really wanna say. If you really wanna know what I’m thinking, read it. The rest of you can keep pretending you know me. Recently, though, I have been having a lot of these full conversations and interviews with myself again. The behavior waxes and wanes.
I’m always interested when this happens. Because I like to interrogate my performance–both intentional and subconscious–the stuff I do. Talking to myself–especially when it becomes a lot of talk all of a sudden, always tells me there is something I’m trying to work out of my brain and especially out of my body. It’s interesting that I haven’t been able to run lately, one of my choice ways of working stuff out of my mind and body. In these times, I’ll also dream a lot more, which for me is a lot because I dream vivid dreams probably 6 of 7 nights anyway. But I digress.
This talking to myself out loud thing is my anecdotal evidence that the body does not want to hold trauma. For one thing, it’s heavy–physically and figuratively. It seems to me that people with a lot tend to look weighted–in the shoulders; sometimes they don’t stand straight, or maybe they look down a lot–like their head is too heavy for their neck. Some folks will walk slower like the weight of the body is too much to move along. Not that these behaviors are always indicative of carrying trauma or that the absence of the behaviors means there is none.
Trauma will always try to exit the body–sometimes in alternate emotions or through actions that release stuff adrenaline and endorphins or achoo–poetry–erehem. It won’t always succeed. Like, it can get just beyond your lips in some not-so-Sunday-School words and linger in the cab of your vehicle just to be inhaled right back in. Because, I mean, the windows are up and you are simmering in it just trying to make your commute. Oooh, personal. So anyway.
So I’m not altogether sure what trauma I’m pushing out. I know the heart failure is part of it. But that’s not It. I’m looking back on my recent napowrimo poems for signs–found some. And even if I discover It, the point is that I want to look at it from outside my body. My mom used to remind us that bowel regularity–pooping everyday that is–was important because “it’s better out than in.” Thanks, ma, just thanks. But it can be said in this case too.
I haven’t told my friend that I think she is carrying a trauma and I feel like a sucky friend because I don’t know how to tell her to release it. It’s better out than in. Maybe it’s not my responsibility anyway. We all have to have our own ways. And I know I’m gonna feel guilty if and when its full weight becomes too much for her to bear or worse, if she finds some unstable crutch to carry it.