Blackness, reflexively.

Charcoal ink covers all.

landscapes, bedrooms, and barns


All enveloping

Magnificent mountains, glorious diamonds, shining faces


And yet…

Dark is not enough to hide some things

For they are even darker than the night.


I have PTSD from trauma long ago, and sometimes my symptoms make my life more complicated than I wish it was. Like a teenager who keeps making the same mistake over and over, but can’t see it coming each time, my triggers sneak up on me in ways I should expect, yet don’t seem to be able to catch ahead of time.

This weekend was one of those times, and it really flattened me. I feel like a toad who has been run over by a dump truck on a rural Florida highway. Flattened and crisping in the blasting tropical sun, there is all-too-soon nothing left but a paper thin facsimile of who I was not long ago.

Yesterday I went with my wife to a meeting of supporters for people with childhood trauma (which fits us both actually). I wasn’t worried about it at all, because I’ve been through the same meeting before. I knew what to expect, and so it seemed it would go better than the past time I went. At first, it did seem to go well. The meeting was a bit on the small side, and I knew the two people leading it. I was familiar with the place and the topic. No looming surprises. There were even seriously good snacks (cinnamon buns from a local donut shop of which I am a fan). All seemed well.

Then about half way in, there was something I always struggle to hear. It sometimes comes up in these kinds of meetings. I don’t agree with it It’s upsetting, so it stuck in my mind and wouldn’t go away. It churned and built on itself. Chipping away at my presence of mind like a patient stonecutter at the base of the mountain. By the time we left I was in an argumentative and snippy mood, which is not like me. By the time we had finished with our planned post-meeting lunch, I was feeling not-right-at-all.

Driving home I could tell the edges of my consciousness were getting blurred. I was getting fuzzy. It’s something that happens when I start knowing things that are too much to know. I can’t focus, I can’t think, I can’t function much at all. I wound up in bed, half present and half gone to whatever place I go. Laying there with the late summer sun forcing its way through the blinds. Drifting in and out of awareness. Much like times in the past.

Past? Yes, this felt familiar. Like I’d been here before. My high school bedroom on the coast of Florida which had also been drenched in sun. Part in the present, part in the past, rising realization of knowing I’d felt like this in the distant past. Knowing I’d felt that same fuzziness of not being able to be present because it wasn’t safe to know. Knowing I’d known even back then.

An UnexpectedCookie

After a seemingly longer than expected Labour day weekend of wading through the crowds at DragonCon while also attempting to survive the sticky all-encompassing heat of the late southern southern summer, we took a day to recover. At least we though it was a day to recover.

A late sleep, a relaxed breakfast, and visit to our favorite donut shop before some marketing and chores seemed the perfect counter balance to the crush that was DragonCon. Only, it wasn’t quite recovery. Somehow, in some way we simply don’t understand, we got triggered. For us our anxiety and PTSD symptoms often come out through our body. This is the result of learning at a young age to ignore and avoid awareness of things we couldn’t know. We had to not know in order to survive, and then we spent a lifetime practicing those skills.

We found ourselves hurting. Muscles along the sides and back of our abdomen painfully reacting, cramping, aching, our stomach churning with a unique nausea, our arms alternating aching and burning. Our body reliving some past experience we only vaguely know about. Sitting in the car with our wife, surrounded by sunshine and the anonymity of a grocery store parking lot, some part of us was in overdrive. Never mind we were safe in the moment, inside some part of us wasn’t.

Why it was coming up right then, we didn’t understand. It just was, and there was nothing much to do about it. We did our best to acknowledge it, to take care of ourselves and to move on.

It ebbed and flowed over the course of the day. We managed the marketing, and eventually the chores (there are now clean clothes in the house for the coming week.) Yet we are still no closer to understanding why this is coming up now.

After the sun went down and things calmed down some inside of us, my wife decided she wanted a cool, sweet treat. So we walked down the street. A neighborhood burgerey sells gourmet frozen pops from a local vendor and this was our destination. We arrived to find a few tables full even late on Labour day, and a pop case with only 4 choices remaining deep inside.

We got a Cookies-n-Cream pop, which we discovered (much to the joy of some part of us) has whole, real chocolate chip cookies inside.

And you know what? That unexpected cookie made us feel just a bit better.