Trying to Begin

It has been almost seven years since the summer that I lost myself.  I find it hard to keep track of the years now, when I think about the darkness, then the roller coaster of trying and separating and something in between.  One summer of despair, one of moving forward then stepping back, one lost to medication as I floated on a foggy sea of excess spinal fluid.

I have been trying to begin.

I know that I have a story to tell, I have so many stories to tell.  Even turning the word over in my mouth, memoir, it speaks to me, it feels heavy and weighty and like it will nourish me.  I try to find a starting point, but it feels like so much, then I am stuck, stagnating in the too-muchness of it all.  My ideas swarm, alighting on my mind then slipping into the ether, feelings and fragments of sentences left to ruminate then forget.

Sometimes, I still dream about us. In my dreams we seem to be living together or moving in together, but even as we arrange furniture and cook dinner I have these nagging thoughts that I thought I had already left this behind. Remnants of that in-between time stuck somewhere in the recesses of my memory work their way into my sleep, and I wake unsettled and unrested.

Parts of the story I have to piece together from emails and journal entries, like painting the negative space instead of the object.  No one remembers every moment in their life. No one remembers everything that’s ever happened to them. But not remembering good times feels different than not remembering bad ones.

What happened?  In those last few years between the pregnancy and birth of my second baby and the ending of all I knew, there is a well brimming with lost time.  I have gathered testimony in a file nearly 120 pages long, emails I wrote him, emails I wrote my family, Facebook posts, journal entries.  My eyes scan, and I volley between memories that evoke a sick panicked feeling and the blankness of a total lack of recognition.

My brain doesn't remember, but my body and soul do.  I read the words and I can feel them, my stomach turns, I feel like prey being hunted by a predator made up of fear and self doubt and hopelessness.  I know these moment happened.  They fit with the narrative, with the other moments I remember.

I am not sure if this is true disassociation, or something else.  It's hard for me to read about the things that happened.  There is a part of me that finds it entirely unbelievable that things were so bad, that I allowed them to get so bad.  How could I have lost myself?  Despite knowing that it can happen to anybody, I still find it unbelievable that it happened to ME.

I have words, but they surge inside me like animals in migration, moving and shifting and driven.  They come out in fits and bursts, blog posts, three pages of handwritten musing at a women's retreat, thoughts in the shower that come and disappear before I'm dressed.  How do I tame them?

I am trying to begin.