Day 3 of 31 Days In July, “The TBI Collection” of The PTSD Poetry Project
Original poem and personal journal post
“The File Cabinet Drawer”
My memory is this drawer
One I clean out every 3 to 5 days
I purge it completely
To make room for new memories
Why is it this way?
Why has my brain healed in such a manner?
There is no room for love
There is no room for relationship
There is not room for anything
There is only today and few tomorrows
My brain has healed
Yet it is still broken in a secret way
Not apparent to those who observe
I have hidden it well
It is unsettling to feel the memories slip away
As if they are delegated into the fog
Will they come back to me in the future?
Will it always be this way
It is a secret I did not wish to reveal
It is a secret I would not wish on anyone
I have left the file cabinet drawer empty again
It waits to be filled anew
This file cabinet is finite in my mind
It does not have many drawers
There is only the one
When it is too full
All the contents get pulled out
They rain around me
I try to put them back into place
They slip through my fingers
I stand looking again at the sky
The shining sun blinding me
A song plays in the background
Why couldn’t we be broken together
To this I have no answer
For all those memories have left
July 3, 2016, personal journal entry (TBI post)
“Can’t we be broken together?”
I hear these words in a popular New Christian song while I’m cleaning the kitchen. It stirs something inside me. Some recent memories which have circled out and away. I had looked at a name earlier this night and knew I was supposed to be excited about this name. What I felt was curiosity. Why was this person texting me? Oh yes, I’m supposed to remember. But it’s entered the time zone of “I know but I don’t know” and I’m unsettled inside. Too many days have passed. It is time to look over my book again.
I know this, I do. There are things I repeat out loud to myself to try and jar my memory but nothing is working. This song however is stirring something inside me, memories recently moved away but I am trying, trying to pull them back. It is as if the strings holding onto them have frayed and separated. I pull and pull only to find frayed ends attached to nothing.
I keep hearing the words in this song and I think, ‘maybe this song means something I am supposed to remember’. I stand frozen in the kitchen holding the tea bag string in my hand listening to those words. “Can’t we be broken together?” Repeated. I’m not broken I tell myself. I’m not. But those words, they mean something important. I stand and listen to the song until it is over. Tears form in my eyes further unsettling me. There is an echo inside my mind which is trying to connect to a memory. I can nearly see it. It is this close.
Why is this how things have healed? This secret, terrible way is not something I ever wished to share with anyone. But I have begun sharing since late last year only with a very certain few. Now I have gone very public with this secret. I can’t hide in the dark anymore and my belief in sharing my words is strong. I know I am NOT the only one. The sense of connection is lost but I know I am supposed to feel something. I know I DID feel something and now it is a ‘do over’. It has to start anew. It seems too much to wish upon anyone.
Most days I focus on merely giving the 100% of my attention in the moment so I can understand the people I interact with. This 100% allows me to treasure their sacred stories. Some days I actually remember a person’s name when I meet them a second time weeks later. This right there, this makes me wonder if the memory is only moving away for a bit of time and will return full force? I don’t know yet. But to have this ability to remember a person’s name weeks later does make me curious. Wait didn’t curiosity kill the cat? Or so they say.
I love fully and deeply. This is a trait I know I have. But there are other bits and pieces of me which I am still discovering each day. My friend told me she’s always amazed at all the things I am doing and “what can’t you do?!” Some days I would like the answer to this question. Maybe I am this renaissance woman who does many things. I am not singular in what I can do. I do have a lot of limits though. Physically I have limits and certainly there are limits to my memory’s capacity.
Maybe it is like a file cabinet which has gotten full. I keep cleaning out the same drawer to make room for new memories not realizing I’m tossing out the ones I wanted to keep. What I know about myself is I will always choose me. I have to choose me because no one else will. I have fought hard for my recovery, for my health, for my healing. I’ve actively chosen paths which are not the ‘normal’ paths taken and I have survived them. So this file cabinet drawer, whose contents I threw out to make room for the new?
Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. Starting over can give a chance to what was growing to continue to grow. Maybe…that seed just stopped for a bit of time, went dormant in my mind and now it’ll grow stronger.
Maybe it is about being ‘broken together’ so we can grow together too.