Those of us who’ve lived trauma have our anniversaries. There are no greeting cards or flowers as a general rule, but you never fail to remember it, year after year. There’s not a daft husband among us, covering his calendar in sticky notes to try not to forget to get his someone special that something special.
The peculiar thing about a trauma anniversary is that you share it with someone horrible. You’re the two people in the world who hold it an anniversary. Thinking of each other but hopefully not sending chocolates or poems. My 11 year old would say that doing so would be “cringy.”
Jeremy’s trial started the week of Valentine’s day 2011. The Ordeal with him began around the same time in 2008. So, it’s our special time of year. Me and Jeremy.
The thought had occurred to me a few months ago that the only two people in the world who think of my trauma everyday. Who will think of it everyday for the rest of our lives. The only two people are me and Jeremy.
I double checked with my husband on this one. He doesn’t think of it everyday. Probably most days but not everyday.
It took some getting used to, this idea that I will most likely continue to think of him and of It everyday for the rest of my life. Me at 87 still thinking of it everyday. Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s not likely.
It’s not that I think of him for very long. Something reminds me of It and the thought flits through my mind and it’s gone. It doesn’t linger. I don’t ruminate on it. It doesn’t ruin my day or activate my sympathetic nervous system. No fight or flight. No pupil dilation or rapid heartbeat or paresthesia. Not anymore.
Valentine’s Day this year for me was filled with sweets from my beloved and my four year old daughter squealing with joy over the Shopkins pens her Secret Admirer got her (hint: it’s me. I’m the Secret Admirer). The rad tech at work made a coconut cake. I got the joy of making my husband smile with the surprise I got him. I also looked up articles on the trial and re-read the chapter in my book on it, lost in the quotes of what was actually said on the stand. Remembering. I’m okay with that. I don’t find it cringy. Maybe you do. Eh.
PTSD is a result of fighting these things. It is allowing the cringiness of sharing Valentine’s Day with your trauma memories to keep you locked in it. How do we find a way to be so brave as to face a thousand little things like that? To let go of how we know things should be, of how we thought they would be.
It’s the same thing I went through with accepting my son’s special needs. It’s the same thing so many of us go through in so many ways throughout life. The only difference with trauma is that it’s a whole fucking lot harder. Terrifying actually.
I saw on the news today that Milo Yiannopoulos gave an interview saying pedophilia (that is, child rape) is okay as long as the kid is 13 or so. And now his career’s hit a slight blip. And I thought of Jeremy and his love of Foucault and his love of Ron Paul. Of Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein and the man who protected him and of Trump himself.
Jeremy wasn’t a freak. He was just a working class predator who got caught and couldn’t afford an expensive lawyer, whose parents didn’t have connections. Child predators are literaly running our damn country. And no one really cares.
I wish I could send a Valentine to all the little girls out there suffering under predators like Jeremy (and our President). I wish they could know how wonderfully made they are, how strong they are to go on surviving and how much I admire and love them for that. How wrong it is we leave them there because talking about the epidemic of child rape is cringy. I wish they were opening Shopkins pens and squealing instead of drifting off in their minds to another place as they are hurt.
I share my Valentine’s Day with them too. And it may not be okay, but it is what it is.