I struggle to write to Bea. Each time I sit down to write my flashbacks to her, something stops me. I can’t put them I to words. The dishes need to be done. I have a migraine. Kat needs something. I can’t focus.
Flashbacks are a hard thing to describe. In Bea’s own words “Flashbacks can be physical sensations, images, brief snippets. Trauma memories are stored differently than regular memories, so they don’t have beginnings, middles, and ends. They’re just as you describe, and to varying degrees people do keep their awareness of the present while experiencing them. This is what I was explaining about therapy helping to process these pieces that aren’t integrated as normal memories. Over time we create a coherent narrative about what happened–and then they are just memories.” Flashbacks aren’t like they are described in books, are shown in movies. Or, at least, they aren’t for me, I wouldn’t have called them flashbacks. I didn’t know what they were, I thought of them as really alive memories. Then Bea told me I was describing a flashback. It’s just a picture in my head, a quick flash. I know it’s now, not then, but I can literally FEEL THE FEELING THAT GOES WITH THAT PICTURE AS IF IT WERE HAPPENING NOW and it’s the same feeling I experienced at the time the memory originally happened. Sometimes, I can feel a body sensation, too, if there is something significant to go along with it. This is all very quick, and confusing for me. I think in words. I write novels in my head. I made up stories to help myself escape for years. I am a master with words. And yet, these quick flashbacks are next to impossible to put into words.
I get up at 4:30am on Tuesday. By 9:00am I have 2 sentences of one flashback written. 2 sentences. I am so frusterated. Why is this so hard? To make matters even worse, it turns out I can’t write the sex words, so Bea is going to have to play a fill in the blank type guessing game after all. By 9:00pm Tuesday, I have a few more sentences written. By 9:00am Wednesday, I have both flashbacks written out. They are each only a few sentences on a page.
I look at that and wonder, how can something so overwhelming, so terrible, disgusting, awful, scary, wrong only take up a few sentences on a page? How is that possible?
Once it’s all written out, I paste it into an email. I squeeze my eyes shut, and wonder if Bea is going to think I am a bad person after she knows the truth about me. I tell myself it will be fine. I hit send.