Laundry, BTK and me.
I think I must be having a growth spurt.
I have not been able to turn off my thoughts of late. My imagination is working so much overtime, its in danger of having it’s hours cut back. I can’t afford to pay it.
Here’s an example – not the most profound, but the most recent. So I’m at the laundromat (surprise!) and on the way, had to stop at the pharmacy. I go in, purchase my items – have a brief interaction with one of those cashiers that make you feel like you’ve just interrupted them, then get back in the car.
Now, I have a very acute sense of smell. I can tell you what you’re having for lunch from the scent of the microwave, I know what perfume you’re wearing and I smell a fire from miles away.
So I’m in the car … and the scent of ‘man’ washes over me. Not a bad smell … but out of place in my car. My mind races to that urban legend. You know the one, the woman stops for gas, thinks the attendant is creepy when it turns out the attendant is just trying to warn her about the real danger. The man who got into the back of her car. Yeah, I’m there in my head.
I turn around truly expecting there’s a possibility some murderer is hiding behind my seat and then … mentally thunk myself on the forehead.
Oh, that’s right. There IS a man in my house now. He calls me mom.
But then that thought segued. As all my thoughts do. I had watched a documentary this morning about Charlie Otero, a surviving family member of some of the BTK’s victims. Super touching. At one point, they interviewed another man, a son of a woman Rader killed.
The camera panned in to a pot belly, scratched up swollen hands, fingers grasping a cigarette in one and a can of beer in the other.
The man spoke about Rader and blamed everything on him – from his past drug abuse to his current alcoholism. He self tattooed to experience the pain that seemed to sooth. At first I felt sorry for him. I know what it is to want to hurt. Sometimes you just want to feel. Just feel. Then you surpass that and don’t want to feel anything at all.
BUT. Then I was a little mad. He was 5 when his mother was murdered. I don’t know if he had support or a healthy environment after that. He sat with the man the documentary was about and they both agreed, yes, they were a product of their environments.
But … no.
I had an internal argument with myself. On one hand, yes, traumatic events manifest in ways that are deep and permanent. On the other hand, you get to decide how the rest of your story goes.
Then I felt guilty – what if he hadn’t been given tools to cope? What if he didn’t read? We can only know what we experience. We can only experience what we explore.
THEN I get to thinking – who am I to judge this man?? Who says I get to sit on my couch and have the thought that he oughta be deciding to be happy.
There are certain sounds I hear that trigger a visceral physical reaction. Smells and textures too. My stomach will literally drop, a WHOOSH of cold spreads from the bottom of my feet up my leg and into my gut. I know that trauma manifests and leaps out at you from out of nowhere sometimes. So what makes me different from that man?
For years and years I chose NOT to be happy. Lost myself in mind numbing. Ended up only giving myself more reasons to want to be numb.
So because I had an epiphany – because I dove into healing – does that entitle me to sit on my purple couch and tut at someone who is still in the numb phase? No.
I think in this case it’s me tutting at behaviors I used to engage in. I was looking into a mirror.
So lately that’s what’s been going on. I need to learn that not everyone is on the same rung. I have far to go myself. I just need to love everyone around me and stop comparing.
Also should probably check my car before I get in it – just in case. My journey does not need a stowaway.