Suitcase of Trauma
A sullen child sits on the curb in front of a modest track house. The child’s physical appearance is that of an unkept 9 year old boy. The child is clutching a small suitcase and has desperate eyes. The child’s heart is beating very fast. This child has been sitting on the curb for more than 3 hours waiting for her father to pick her up for a rare weekend visit. It has been months since she has last seen him, and although he had a woman hiding in the backseat of the car the last time, and the child’s visit was spent listening to moans outside of a locked bedroom door, she has hope. Hope that he will arrive, that he will scoop her in to his loving arms and make her feel safe and worthwhile.
Dusk approaches and my mom sadly approaches. “Ned, honey, I don’t think he’s coming for you.”
I don’t want to believe it. “Just a few more minutes mom, he’s just late, he’s on his way.”
As night falls I am broken, but I won’t cry. I pick up my little suitcase, enter the house and head straight to the bathroom where I cut off the last 3 inches of my hair. I’m tough. I first cut my hair off after having been molested in a basement the year before. I can handle this. My heart is falling out of my body.
My name is Ned.
I have a tremendous amount of love in my life. I am a survivor like no other. I have healed in many areas of my life, psychologically, physically and spiritually.
I am very intelligent. I speak to large groups of people in the mental health professions about trauma intervention, and I have recovered from severe PTSD.
Today, however, I was sitting on that curb as the dark approached and I felt very, very bad.
I thought my friend was going to visit this afternoon, and as time marched on and I heard no tires pulling into the driveway and received no word of cancellation I began to sink. I could not come to terms with why I felt so bad and I was confused. We had no actual appointment or promised time or activity, just a mention of, “yeah, maybe I’ll stop by later”. My heart was heavy, and I felt like a burden to the earth as I dialed the number at dusk. My mask of a friendly “hello” did not sufficiently hide my pain. I lashed out by withholding a well-deserved compliment. I struggled with small talk and hung up feeling empty.
I felt lonely, sad, discarded, frustrated, angry, jealous… all a bit over the top considering the non-circumstances.
Fortunately this friend is evolved and was willing to chat a bit about my reaction. I felt better, just knowing I hadn’t “ruined” our friendship with my weirdness.
As I was driving to pick up take-out a short while later, I had an odd sensation. I smelled my little suitcase.
In that moment I realized that the scenario had nothing to do with my deep feelings of pain… it was simply a trigger for the abandonment that had long since passed. Trauma memory misplaced.
Only a few hours later I am so grateful for this opportunity to once again expand in this lifetime. Had I not experienced these moments today, there is no telling how much longer I would have carried the burden of this area of my past.
Due to the extensive EMDR trauma work I have participated in I posses the tools to place the trauma where it belongs.
I have the ability to let Ned stand up with her little suitcase, get in her own love- filled vehicle and confidently claim her place in the driver’s seat.