My life took a sharp swerve that night. In some ways, the girl I was that day, and the girl I am today are not so different. Our faces are the same, our core beliefs, our hidden talents are shared, but she had something that I can no longer afford, and that is the luxury of denial.
This one incident brought up more painful memories than I can share in good conscience here and now. I haven't taken a picture of myself once this year. Making art is painful now. There are some days when I can't bring myself to get out of bed. The nightmares kill me. Last night, I didn't sleep at all. I tossed and turned all night, my mind filled with visions of violence, black and white, and slow, with mouths moving, trying to yell, scream, cry, argue, but no sound coming out. Like an old silent movie.
I often wonder if people notice that because of this, I walk around in a fog. Sometimes I feel like they must be able to see that my nightmares walk beside me, but no one says anything. In fact, the people closest to me have noticed a steady change in me from that night, and not for the poorer. It's hard for me to see sometimes how relatively normal I am when I feel such a wreck, but as a line from one of my favorite songs goes "you've come far, and though you're far from the end, you don't mind where you are, cuz you know where you've been."
Today I stand as a woman who has taken only the first few steps in a lifelong journey, but I go forward with the knowledge that, although there may be no real end to this story, there is something better to look forward to. I also press on with the knowledge that I no longer have to walk alone.