I started trawling through my college past, looking for moments like this one. And… yes, there are moments of wandering through some beautiful, often fanciful, halls and campus and libraries. Driving to farther off places than the small patch of island not covered by trees. A little main street full of cheap restaurants for students. Bookstores, how I loved the bookstores, which were huge and full of strange nooks and crannies. And the used bookstore. And a little restaurant I loved.
They were beautiful moments. Well, perhaps only to someone who had spent much of her life until then locked up in a small, cockroach-ridden apartment.
But over all that, the years I remember as being the best, overlaying the good memories was the constant fear. I already knew I wasn’t completely safe—the betrayal by a friend just after I got my information suppressed by the college, and even moved secretly to a high-security dorm building…. the constant stalking by my parents, which surfaced even after escape by the harassment of friends and professors… never knowing if when you walked at night you might run into your parents.
You are never secure in your first new identity, I find. Nor your second. You have to go down a ways, move around a bit, and suchlike. It’s hard, when you grew up thinking that honesty and truth would automatically give you immunity—you know, bad things don’t happen to good people. But it had been happening anyways, all the time I was growing up. I just was in denial.
I looked for good bits in my previous life (lives?) and found them… packaged in the fear. Always the fear. I never realized how thick it was, how almost every memory contains it, with rare sparks of freedom when I didn’t think about the fear at all. Really, really rare.
I’m trying to stay in the present at the moment. I’m not sure if I managed to bring on a small episode of PTSD on myself. I feel like I’m getting dragged into the past—I have pushed away the memories for now, tantalizing as they are, because I was not as alone then (and then everyone I knew was gone… graduate students are never constant for the long term; I was the very last to leave, and only because I got forced out of my job with the University when the delayed economic storm hit it).
And, my gods, I can’t push away the feelings. I can never quite remember my PTSD episodes. It’s like how I don’t remember how badly I react to holidays, even though that’s obviously been happening for years now. I vaguely remember a friend years ago saying that this kind of thing probably was…. whether it is or isn’t is kind of moot right now, because whatever it is, it’s here.
I am trying not to cry right now, and all that, and I’m trying to sleep, because I have meetings in the morning (um… okay… later this morning) and I need to be able to operate. Needing to get into gear should help, although sleep deprivation won’t. I’ve had really awful dreams all weekend, so I’ve been afraid to sleep, which isn’t helping.
So now I’m going to have my Kindle read the Agony Booth’s Star Trek V recap in its pleasantly monotone, often indiscriminate, voice. The Delta Sleep System is just freaking me out right now, for reasons I cannot ascertain, except that it might resemble the subtle acoustics of either computer labs or my dorm room when the wind blew across the flat, flat plains.
Trying not to freak, trying not to freak, trying not to freak… ARGH.
I’ll be okay, it’s just that I can’t find the ropes to tie the goddamned corner of the fucking tarp down right now. Eventually I will. All the raining sucks in the meantime.
Ah, found another sparkly no-fear moment: watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on the big screen in the fancy lecture hall with comfy seats. We didn’t get that place in CS 101. After that, everything tended to be in that room or the one next to it… comfy. Better than a theater. So lovely. And the stair sequence dropped my jaw. And all my friends and their acquaintances watching with. We did some group hacking to, ah, get the movie showing, but then it was amazing.
Then I walked home in fear.
Sigh. I feel a bit tired right now, and the blogging has helped quite a bit. I will sleep now to the really not at all dulcet tones of my Kindle. ((Really, guys. This is NOT going to take over audiobooks soon. It’s got a serious problem with enunciation, and gods help you if your characters are not named “Bob” or… well, Bob. It’s that bad. It murders Leonard and Picard quite badly, I didn’t think you could even do that….))
The half-tab of Ambien is having its effect now. I just hope I don’t have bad dreams. I want some frakking dreamless sleep, and I can’t do the thingy, you know, dream control.