Well, Visitors, what a time we have had. In the past week since Trump was elected, we have been treated to all kinds of images of the most extraordinary fearmongering. School teachers in a large local district wearing black after Election Day, informing ALL children they were mourning the ‘Death of America’.
Ignorant college kids protesting the election, saying they were ‘frightened’ of the upcoming four years. Misinformed twenty-somethings calling for the end of the electoral college, calling it a ‘fearful tyranny of the minority’.
Most incredibly, my peers, college educated middle aged women, being accused if ‘internalizing misogyny’ and being completely unaware of the fearful hell we had just voted down on our heads.
Gracious. In the midst of all this, there has been a small chorus of reasoned voices attempting to redirect attention back to an issue that’s close to my heart- that of genuinely traumatized, fearful people.
I was talking with my gentleman caller – code name “Stockholm”- about this very issue. Privately, Stockholm and I share the same disdain for ‘triggered’ young ‘uns, who need ‘safe spaces’ for ‘self care’. Stockholm is a great deal more diplomatic than I, as I voice my disgust for this at every appropriate opportunity. Stockholm just smiles.
Last night, at 3:02 am, I had a ‘triggering event’.
3:02 am, on July 18, 2010, the phone jarred me out of a sound sleep. On the other end, my sister informed me that Chris had lost his battle to the great dragon Cancer, and won his seat at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
I was traumatized. I broke the news to my daughters, called my son, and drove over to the Hospice in my bathrobe. I stumbled into the facility, and kissed the cool, lifeless forehead of my husband goodbye. I remember it as if it were yesterday.
Now, most of you know that I am of a pretty rational bent. I like things that can be measured. I like things that I can observe, and control as much as possible.
For about a year after that event, inexplicable things happened at 3:02 am. I got spam phone calls. Coyotes would yap at that hour. As was expected, any night terrors would reach their peak at 3:02 am, jarring me into a wide-eyed, heart pounding wakefulness.
Rationally, one would expect that sleep would become a trial for me, and it has. As most of you know who have been with me for a while, I have a horror of getting ‘stuck’ in destructive behavior. Good ‘self care’ is simply critical for authentically traumatized people. A combination of outstanding talk therapy, judicious, short-term use of benzodiazepines, meticulous attention to exercise, and really, really great church family continues to restore me to good health.
So, about last night. My dogs are these little Italian Greyhound mixes. These two possess the hearts of lions, and the brains of walnuts. At 3:02 am, these little beasts spotted a bull elk off of my back deck, and went ballistic. Snarling! Snorting! Bellowing at the top of their lungs! Raising the roof!
And, of course, triggering me to jolt BOLT upright, flooded with memories of 3:02 am six and half years ago. Heart racing, I crept downstairs to deal with this auditory mess, and slept no more for the rest of the night.
Self care this morning included a sturdy breakfast, prayer, Scripture reading, understanding from the gentle Stockholm, visiting with good friends, and a solid day in at work.
Visitors, let us not allow authentic struggles of people like me to be co-opted by these irresponsible people rioting after the recent election. It dilutes the language, and the progress we have made on this issue.
Rioters, for shame. “Triggered” students? For HEAVEN’S sake, pull yourselves together. Manipulating teachers? KNOCK it off. You are to teach, not preach your worldview.
My people? The genuinely traumatized? The authentically ill-used? The wounded and the bleeding? The cloud of us surrounds you. You can do this. We are here, and we love you.