By Tashmica Torok
It's like a clenching of your jaw in the cold. The inspection of wounds long ago wrapped in gauze and covered with duct tape to stop the bleeding is cause to apply new pressure.
I have felt the discomfort of those watching me in the gurney. Those who love me that cannot stand to watch me suffer. It makes it difficult to explain the need to walk through the valley.
I have heard their encouragements to leave the past in the past and move on. Do not dwell. Do not inspect.
I suppose they don't understand that I have leprosy. I was infected with an illness that deadens the neurons. I sometimes cannot tell when my hand is in the fire or freezing on ice.
A child abused is a child who learns at a very early age that pain can not be felt. It is chosen, like breathing.
I know that you may think that breathing happens because of an auto response. That is only part of the truth. A child in a temper tantrum can hold his breath until consciousness is lost. Once mind gone, breath is snatched at by the body.
Avoiding pain is that way. You can shut off your senses. You can learn to not feel discomfort. Until the wound is inspected and your body remembers. Like an amputated limb that is still felt, you wonder at the oddness of feeling a sensation long gone.
This is Act 2 of my struggle for peace. It does not come easily for more reasons than my wackadoodle personality. I do not find peace because choosing peace means not avoiding pain. It means facing my present, my past and my future with an open hand.
Children who are abused do not walk through the world with their palms face up towards the sky. We know, in a terrible way, what it means to not be able to choose what is placed in your hand.
Open your hand and close your eyes. A game. A taunting.
Open your hand and close your eyes. How stupid would we be to do that again?
Open your eyes and close your hands. That sounds reasonable.
So this is where my peace is challenged. This is where I remember and I spin into action. This is the part where I busy my hands or I close my eyes because they are weighted for the exhaustion of it all. This is the part where the slightest brush across my skin makes my heart feel violated.
The challenge now feels like I cannot choose peace like a daisy from a bouquet of roses. The challenge has now become to tear it from the hands of a would be thief.
It is this wrestling that makes me feel so quiet. It makes me feel dirty and ashamed. It makes me feel like a jaw clenched shut to push out the cold. It makes me feel alone.
Like a leper with her bell singing out unclean.
Stifled by all of those lies.
This woman a member of the walking wounded and lover of the world? This woman, who is the mother of many and friend of at least one girl's heart? The wife of a man who knows her ache well enough to build her a room to help her find her peace? I am an amazing woman who raises money for refugees, skates on a roller derby team and holds the power to kill the meanest anonymous bank teller lady with kindness.
I am the girl curing leprosy. I am placing my bells on the ground and wandering into the crowd. I am starting to get feeling in my extremities and while working off the atrophy is painful, it is worth walking amongst the living. There are others among the crowd with me and they know why I lay on the gurney willingly.
Broken bones that heal incorrectly have to be reset.
:ices and advocacy for those less fortunate.
Tashmica Torok is a local entrepreneur, blogger and community activist.
To read more visit: http://mother-flippin.blogspot.com/ You can also “like” The Mother Flippin Fan Page at http://facebook.com/mother-flippin and follow Tashmica @Mother_Flippin on Twitter.
May 8, 2011 - May 21, 2011 Edition