Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There Is A Before And After

I normally ride the bus to work, today I drove so that I could drop the dog off at Becki’s house.  I turned on music that I like, up loud and sang along. I’ve forgotten how joyful it is start my day with music.   9 ½ months ago I was brutally assaulted and then spent several months after that being mind fucked into believing that somehow I was to blame.  There is scar on my lip, a dent in my face…the outward scars that reveal nothing of the inward hurts. 
There is a before and after.
Before, I used to walk around with an Ipod and head phones in my ears. After, I am too nervous that I won’t hear danger coming. Today I walked from 15th and Yesler to 4th and Jackson…I wanted so much to continue listening to music I like…but I’m living in the after.
There is a before and after.
 Before, I did powerful work with folks who had experienced some of their own trauma. Work that challenged me, changed my life and changed the lives of those around me. After, I work in a fucking cube surrounded by shallow people who are completely defined by the amount of their paycheck. People who look sideways at my tattoos and gossip when they think I can’t hear them.
There is a before and after.
Before I used to talk to people and listen to what they were saying. After, I talk to people and listen for what they’re not saying. I look for the game…the mind fuck. I listen with suspicion instead of anticipation.
There is a before and after.
Before I was easily tricked, couldn’t always say what was on my mind, didn’t demand respect. After, I say exactly what I think, demand respect and have the ability to walk away when it’s not there. 
Before, I spent a great deal of time with other people. After, I spend a great deal of time with me. 
Before, I knew a lot of people. After, I know a few.  A few really good friends who put up with my tears, questions, anger, confusion and struggles. A few who know me and love me. Believe in me and don't believe the stories they hear from others.
Before, I was unhealthy in so many aspects. After, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been – mentally, physically and emotionally.  When your soul is laid bare and the wounds gaping, there’s no choice but to examine them.
After, I started going to the gym.  I thought it would be a good way to relieve stress, work out some tension and do something positive.  For the first month, I couldn’t make it through a workout without crying.  The trainer stuck with me, pushed me harder than I’ve ever been pushed physically and understood that the tears were not physical pain but the release of long held memories in muscles.  He didn’t baby me through the tears but instead showed me how deep the wounds were and how hard I was going to have to work to excavate them. Now, I work equally as hard, with no tears, a ton of joy and my body looks and feels much better.  I sleep through the night, think about what I’m putting in my body and am learning how to ‘have a proud chest’ all the time. 
Before, I processed alone. After, I have an amazing female friend who calls me on my shit, points to the right path and makes me laugh at myself through the tears. 
Before was 9 ½ months ago. After is forever.