Comfort from the past?

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Have you ever repressed memories? I guess you maybe wouldn’t know if they haven’t slapped you in the face as they rear their heads in the forefront of your brain. I remember once a long time ago I witnessed someone remembering – she came into the room, a total wreck, having just remembered something pretty traumatic from her growing up. I can still feel myself sitting there, in shock, as she described the scene and worked her way through it. It was weird to watch this memory completely overtake her being as it exploded out of her subconscious.

I was not aware that I had any. But I guess you’re not when they’re repressed, eh? That’s the whole thing. They’re buried away down deep, where you can’t access them. I’m sure someone out there smarter than me knows why that happens. 

In some cases it makes sense, it does – the memory is so horrific it’s easier to bury it than face it. I mean, at least that makes sense to me. But I am far from expert on the subject, so what do I know?  

Mine wasn’t bad. Or at least, I haven’t remembered yet what made it disappear so completely from my mind? It wasn’t some major trauma that I hid from myself. Not the one that I’ve remembered anyway. But my GOODNESS did remembering it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I feel like I can’t recover from it; I don’t know why? 

When I was 18 I had a friend, Kellan. The memories are hazy – it’s been a LONG time!! But I remember he was a year younger than me, he lived about an hour away, and he was so, so special. That much I remember. 

I remember he was tall and thick. The good kind of thick – the kind of guy you’d expect to play football hahaha. Blonde. I can’t remember his eyes, but I remember his face, and that they’d sparkle when he grinned. 

We never dated or anything, not Kellan. I honestly for the life of me can’t remember what happened, or why he was important. Did we talk on the phone all the time? How did we meet? How come I can remember what I can and so little else? 

But I remember he was safe. He made me feel safe, comfortable. He was bigger than me and would just wrap his arms around me and hold me and I didn’t have to overthink or worry or wonder or anything; I could relax and just be. The demons in my brain couldn’t overshadow his calming influence.

If you’ve been with me for a while you know what a big deal that is. Even now, MOST places or situations I find myself in can reduce me to a miniscule mess of anxiety in a snap. I almost NEVER feel safe. I’m horribly on edge, almost all the time. Dogs barking, thunder crashing, popping balloons… critters crawling past my peripheral vision, people unexpectedly entering a room I’m in…. Every person I pass when I’m running is a potential threat; every car that takes the same turn is following me. I DO NOT watch scary movies. Ever. 

I measure and weigh every word. Every text I send. Everything I say. Am I safe? No. Never. Never Safe. Don’t let the guard down. Let the guard down and they can destroy you.

So, yeah. I guess it makes sense that having someone I felt protected and comfortable with, that was a big deal. 

I wish I knew why I had forgotten. And then what happened that made me remember? It’s been at least 18 years! And as I have wracked my brain I haven’t been able to suss out a time between when I’ve thought about it, about him, nor do I have any clue why my memory chose now to torture me with it. And I wish I could remember better, remember MORE. Maybe if I could figure out why I had forgotten it would be easier to remember fully? 

Because GEEZE. I MISS him. 18 years later and my heart aches, my body yearns. I just need him here again, just for a few minutes. To hold me and make me feel safe again. It’s not sex, it’s nothing like that. I just need his warmth. 

He died. 

And I don’t remember much about that, either. I remember it was a snowmobile accident? He hit a tree? I vaguely remember the phone call. I know I WENT to the funeral, but I don’t remember it. I don’t remember if I cried? I wasn’t well then, and I didn’t know it yet. My emotions weren’t fully functional – depression does that to me: I don’t get sad, I just turn off. But I do remember once, after the funeral, being on the phone with his mom who was calling my house for something business-related, and she and I chatted for a while. I remember that I was important enough to Kellan that she and I chatted. I don’t know about what, though. 

WHY would I repress that? Why would I forget about him? And what on EARTH triggered the memories? I remember less about what happened and about him and just remember how it felt and I just, ugh. I need that again. Somewhere. Somehow. 

I know I am enough, I know – I can do this whole thing alone if I have to. I WANT to do it alone! I want to prove to myself and to everyone that I can do this! I don’t need help. 

But I miss Kellan. With a ferocity I didn’t know existed. I have been on edge, all week, just longing for his arms to wrap around me and keep me safe. Quiet the noise in my head. Let me RELAX, just for five minutes. Five minutes with no judgement, no scary sounds, no other people. Five minutes of just not worrying. Not thinking about the enormous to-do list that keeps GROWING instead of shrinking. Not thinking about the pressure of single-parenthood, home-ownership, bills, building a business, a brand, training…. Just, turn it off, for five minutes. I need him here to turn it off. 

Hahaha maybe I just need some good cuddles and I’ll be able to snap out of it. 

Unfortunately, I can’t get any. Kellan is gone. My marriage is over. And I am alone. 

Alone is fine. It really is. I go to the movies alone, I take myself out for food. I write. I watch things that have been in my Netflix queue for months. I tidy and clean and listen to my favourite music with the volume turned up too loud. I play the piano. I run. I train. I LIKE being alone! 

But this week I am so lonely, and the lonely is heavy. And I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve been okay, so far. Struggling with the change and all the new, and overwhelmed with everything that is now dependent on success, but I’ve been okay! I’ve been good, no, GREAT, even. Things are better, now that I’m alone, they really are. 

So why this? Why now? Why do I suddenly feel so cripplingly lonely? There’s a hollow 18 years later that he’s punched through my chest and I can’t fill it. Something happened and triggered these memories and I just can’t stuff the depression away like I normally can; I’ve been trying! But the hollow keeps growing, looming ever larger and larger as I attempt to carry on regular life. 

Maybe I can re-repress it. That’s an option, right? Just…stuff it away with everything else I’ve bottled up over all these years? 

Anyway. I am in DESPERATE need of some cuddling. I’m physically in pain, I am hurting for it so badly. 

So… when I asked someone what his plans were for the weekend with his kiddo and the first thing on the list was “lots of cuddles guaranteed” I laaaaauuuuuuggggghhhhheeeed. It felt like a sucker-punch right to what’s left of my gut, and I laugh and diffuse with humour when I am uncomfortable. So yeah. I laughed. HARD. 

And then I went to boxing class for my third workout of the day. And then I took myself to the movies.

And now I’ve written about Kellan; maybe that will let it rest, now? Now that it’s out of my head? Maybe I don’t need him, maybe just acknowledging him will be enough. At least for now. 

Kellan, I miss you. I’m sorry I forgot. I don’t know what happened that made your existence in my life something I had forgotten about. I wish I knew what triggered your return to my mind, though, just as I wish I knew why you were missing from it for all this time. 

Thank you for making me feel. I’ve been stone for so long, it’s good to remember there was a time when I was allowed to be myself in the past. I’ve found her again; found me. Maybe that’s why I remember, now? But I think you knew how great I was. It’s just taken me all this time to realize it, too, I guess. And that if I’m going to elect to NOT be alone ever again, it’s going to be like you were, it’s going to be safe. I am going to be safe. 

Thank you, my friend. I will get through this. It’d be easier if you were here, though. I don’t know why I know that, but I do. But I’ve survived your not being here once before. Somehow I got through that, so now that it’s back I just have to survive it again. I will be okay. I will be alone and not lonely. Soon enough. 

For now I’m going to go to the gym.

4 thoughts on “Comfort from the past?

  1. Tarun

    I understand and feel all of this so intensely. I relate to it so much. I like being alone too but what I wouldnt give to feel safe just for a moment in a big big hug. I’m always here if you wanna hang. I’ll bring hugs 🙂


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