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  • Writer's pictureKaren Schwartz

How Can I Tell You About My Trauma?

How can I tell you of my trauma without telling you?


Trauma that wasn't mine, but that I inherited, before I had words.


How can I tell you of my trauma when my ancestors were bound to the silence of shame, grief and regret?  When telling you my story would also tell you their story, the story that was never okay to tell?


I can tell you that my body has its own mind. It doesn't listen to me when I tell it, ask it, cajole it to please work with me, not betray me.  It doesn't listen when I ask it to please let go of the past and allow me to fully access joy, feeling, and love.


It doesn't trust me when I say it's safe.


My mind, my mind has its own ways too, of course.  Finding ways to litigate limitation, making a case for why I should be scared, shut down, back away.  A clever mind that doesn't know how to trust me when I say it's safe to give in.


You can't argue with a mind and body that learned to interpret the subtlest changes in mood, in tone, a facial expression. A body and mind that learned how to match those changes in order to bond.  In order to not be a threat.  In order to keep the peace.


A lifetime of doing, now trying to be undone, can only be approached with compassion and care, steadiness and persistence.  Remaining on the edge of change, staying vigilant towards the urge to flee, whispering constant reassurances and providing hope.


I can't tell you of my trauma but maybe, maybe soon, I can tell you how I've healed.

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