The Sassy Vault
She could just pack up and leave, but she does not visualize what’s beyond ahead.
Like many writers or just people, in general, I carry within me a vault. In this vault, I keep all of my immaterial treasures. Some are precious memories, some are fictional worlds and people. There are plots, archetypes, and metaphors galore. I have sparks of ideas and lessons learned. Some of what is in there may seem scattered, like puzzle pieces, waiting for my careful consideration of their placement.
Deep within this vault, I have another vault. I keep it in the far corners, hidden in shadows and neglected. It stands ominous and mocks my avoidance. I keep my distance from this vault because I fear opening it. I fear opening it because there is that slim, but very real, chance that the darkness locked in that vault may leak out into the happiness I have found.
In this vault lies bitter memories and spoiled recollections. There is a harrowing childhood, a terrifying marriage, and an unbelievable escape. Behind its locked door lies terror, heartbreak, and resignation. There is more than a little guilt and shame.
At times, I look around at the life I have now and I wonder, did it all really happen? It did, it is in that vault.
I need to open that vault. I need to expose the monsters in the closet. Throw them into the light and let them wither. I need to lift the weight of them off of my conscious. Even locked away, there is this residual essence that crawls across my skin like insects. It’s not enough to keep the vault locked. The vault is there. I hate that it is there, that the cards I have been dealt made it necessary.
I have developed triggered responses to situations where they no longer apply. It’s behavioral conditioning or PTSD, it doesn’t matter what hat it wears; it is not who I am, but rather who I have been molded into. I still default to a defensive, fight-or-flight reaction to situations that overwhelm me. As long as that vault is there everything tied to it, emotions and reactions, will remain.
I still, very much, struggle to develop and maintain real life, day-to-day relationships. My new husband is the only exception to this that in itself is a miracle. I prefer to nurture relationships from a distance. Playful exchanges on Facebook, a quippy tweet, or even a long text conversation. But please don’t call. I falter on the phone and I can’t handle awkward silences filled with only the breathing of its participants.
I have been growing more and more lately. Much of this can be attributed to my husband and the rest to those friends I have bonded with online. (It is worth mentioning that I met my husband online, on Facebook, no less.) I have opened my outer vault daily and shared its contents with anyone who will listen (read). Over the last few years, I have used blogging platforms to share my thoughts, my parenting failures and triumphs, and my fiction writing. I have helped to start this writing community. I am flourishing.
I am not a victim. Even in my weakest moments, I think I have known this. I am a survivor. I am a survivor of poverty. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I have survived. Even better, I am safe. I don’t think many appreciate the small reality of feeling safe, every single day unless they have had to live in constant fear.
I haven’t opened that inner vault yet, but I have the key in my hand.