Illusions of Halloween
“The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment that you know beyond any doubt that you’ve been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil.”
—-Margaret Atwood, The Empathy Trap book page
These last several months has left me both mentally and physically drained to a low that I have never experienced. Sometimes I have wondered if the universe is trying to point out something that I just can’t seem to see or understand. The stress alone has left me 40 lbs lighter. No complaints from me about that. I think both me and my wife have felt every emotion possible at its highest intensity. Have I allowed myself to do too much at times? Undeniably, yes. Have I neglected my own needs psychologically, physically, mentally and emotionally? Indeed I have. Do I regret it? Not one minute of it. I don’t feel compelled or obligated. I am who I am. And I do what I do out of love for other people.
I’ve been told over the last few months, “No one ever said you had to do it or you weren’t asked to do it.” My response has always been, “Why should I have to be asked to do something for someone that’s just the right thing to do?” I don’t feel that I deserve any pats-on-the-back or high fives for simply taking some time to comfort someone in need. Should I do this more in moderation? Yes of course. But, I know only one way to be a friend…..110% at all times when possible.
I’ve tried to figure this entire struggle lately with very few satisfying answers. The only things I have become “one” with are my own tears. I think that whatever emotional block that I had been struggling with prior to going back south for a visit has certainly been remedied. I have emerged someone different and even more confused. How do I deal with my own trauma like I need to while continuing to be supportive to those in need? Well, right now, I don’t have those answers. I just know that promises were made to both friends and family that I would stand by and support them in any way possible. And since I don’t know how to turn my back on people, I’ll continue to be there for them while also trying to find my balance.
This time of year has many unpleasant anniversaries and memories associated with it. I have always loved the fall and Halloween. This year the familiar smells in the air are enough to turn my stomach. I normally would be hunting for the best haunted house, haunted barn, haunted corn maze or anything that I was hopefully to get a good scare from in the region. However, at this point in my life, there are very few days that are fun and enjoyable. All I can seem to attribute this lack of contentment to is just where I am on my path of healing. The word “trust” is one that has become again a word that is attached to the word “fear.”
Just this past weekend, our family went to McCall’s Pumpkin Patch in Moriarty, NM that we have been going to since before Marshall was born. It has always been a place where my “inner child” comes alive and enjoys having fun. Since Marshall was born, we always take this time to have fun taking fall pictures of him. This year was different. I was very apprehensive about all the people that would be there and just the thought of going scared the absolute shit out of me. I didn’t totally understand but I think back to the sacrifices that my parents always made to attend all of my many softball/basketball games. Instantly, I put on a smile and thought, “I, too, must do this for our son.”
Mel had all medications ready just in case. And I will also add that I was medicated before we even left the house. Secretly, my goal was to get through this as quickly as possible and get back home to my place of “safety.” I must admit that seeing our son having such a good time brought joy to my heart. The fear that I had from just being there was beginning to make me nauseous. I sipped on my medical marijuana shooter to try and help combat all of the anxiety and nausea that was beginning from somewhere deep in my soul. Something was beginning but what and why? I knew that part of it had to do with being around so many people that was for sure. I knew, though, that there was something more painful attached to this reaction, but what? Halloween had always been something fun for me or had it? I tried to ignore everything as best I could for the sake of Marshall and Mel to have an enjoyable day.
The last thing we always do before leaving is the hay ride. However, after being around what seemed like ½ of the total population of New Mexico, I was done. I told them to go ahead and I would just wait under a covered area where a lot of families were eating and taking a break from the activities. Never going anywhere in public without my IPod, I sit at a table and try to do some deep breathing and try and enjoy some music until they got finished. Apparently, I was seen as an easy target to squeeze out because a rather large family decided that they would occupy the rest of the space at the table. So, I politely got my shit and left them with the damn table. I would like to interject that there is not a whole lot that I miss about where I was raised. The common courtesy of simply asking if it was ok to sit there was something that I truly missed at that exact moment. I would’ve gotten up anyway but, you know, the whole “principle” of the matter thing. Anyway, I find a place on a hay bale and sit there in eager anticipation for the return of the pumpkin hunters. I soon realize that I’m not able to keep an eye on everything but this time I’m alone. My mind begins to panic and all I can think is, “Get me out of here NOW!” Then the flashes of images that I can’t seem to connect with begin. Really? All I knew was that I was terrified. The nausea sets in and I keep swallowing to prevent the ultimate embarrassment of vomiting in public. I was scared and alone and that was all I could comprehend. I felt like at any moment someone was going to do something horrible to me. I just didn’t feel protected. My deep breathing quickly became like a dog panting. My eyes searched the area like a tiger looking for a meal. And then…….I’m in the truck almost back in ABQ not remembering if something had happened. I had a really bad headache and tried to put the pieces together and couldn’t. Yea…..Happy Halloween.