Trauma and Justice

Writing about traumatic events is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It leaves me shaky and dissociative for days afterward, as if I don’t have flashbacks and nightmares anyway. I want to tell my story and finish my memoir and share it with everyone. It’s just that it’s very difficult to do the work. I’m not actually sure whether writing it is helpful to my recovery or if it slows it down.

There’s also this…hesitation. I am not convinced that my story is as important as the other things I care deeply about. Yes, my childhood sucked, and I would like to prevent others from having similar experiences. However, I know that my childhood was privileged and mild in comparison to some. There are many factors that contributed to the ignorance I was raised under. I don’t think I could succinctly name them all off, honestly. I’ve got “abortion is murder” and “modern medicine is a scam.” I don’t even know how to succinctly define the religious stuff, because it’s all fluff. I feel like taking down god was like waking up from a nightmare to find you’ve stabbed a pillow. Feathers everywhere. Just kidding, I’ve never owned a feather pillow. That’s just the imagery in my head from that metaphor.

The stuff that contributed to my own story is the same stuff that keeps millions of others trapped, too. I’m not just talking about kids in a very specific group – not just large families, Christians, conservatives, fundamentalists, or homeschoolers – but about why people in all abusive situations are trapped. That’s why I talk about injustice and inequality in such broad terms. Abusers have financial power and charismatic clout. That applies to all kinds of relationships, not the least of which are children stuck with abusive parents.

It also includes dependency, and financial dependency counts. In a patriarchal society, the default is that (exclusively) cishet women depend on cishet men for the means to live. This benefits the cishet men because their spouses and children have no way to provide for themselves if they leave. It also means that those with resources and financial stability are free to leave their families, while their families are not free to leave them without the threat of poverty and homelessness and death. This is not to mention that when a dysfunctional family faces poverty, everyone suffers more. This is also not to mention that if you don’t fill an abled cishet role in the patriarchy, your chances of becoming financially stable in this society are slim. Even this ideal, which has never truly existed except in the minds of conservatives, cannot be attained because so many millions of people make less than what it takes to survive.

It comes back to finances because we live in a capitalistic society. It doesn’t all have to be based on financial capital, but that is how things are structured right now. To get away from an abuser, you need somewhere to go, and our society here in the United States is full of slammed doors. Nobody is willing to offer so much as a couch to sleep on for more than a few days without treating you like an intruder. There aren’t resources for people who need a place to live. Anyone who thinks there are, hasn’t needed to try and find these so-called “resources.”

That’s what I’ve got today: something of an explanation about how these things are connected to each other, and bigger than myself. I want to contribute to solutions that help a bigger world than the one I grew up in. That is why I write about injustice and inequality as concrete concepts, not abstract theories. Highlighting them might make for a more just and stable future.