Essay

I’m thankful that…

September 12, 2016

I’m thankful that when I poured milk into my small, square tupperware container filled with flakes of organic oatmeal and a few anaemic currants, I instantly noticed the gelatinous, globbiness of the milk and thought, “hmm, maybe this is gone off”. I’m thankful that I was able to spoon out the gloopy, sour gross bit from one end of the tub and keep the rest intact and that I only spilt some of it on the floor.

I’m thankful that when the bathroom lightbulb went, I could pee with the door open for a few days and enjoy showering in the dark as though it was a vaguely luxurious experience (mostly because I couldn’t see the dirt!). I’m thankful that the spinny office chair I used to get tall enough to change the bulb jammed perfectly within the width of the door frame so it only spun a little while I huffed and puffed to remove the giant, bulbous covering. I’m thankful that the electric shock I got was bad enough to really hurt my fingers so that later in the day when I felt inexplicably shaken and unsteady and upset, I could push the fingers of my left hand together and feel that pleasant, bone deep ache and know that there was a reason for my pain. I’m thankful that when the electricity ran through my body it was strong enough to make me jump and yelp, but not strong enough to knock me off my socked feet. I’m thankful that I could throw myself on my bed and have the kind of wailing cry that comes from being a scared animal who almost got shot because that’s what my body thinks just happened.

I’m thankful that this whole series of events happened while I was wearing a light grey shift dress so that if a film were to be made, the heroine (victim?) would have a little under stated sex appeal to go with her dark and twisty PTSD reactions. I’m thankful that in the wailing, my mascara streaked in a very cinematic way and that it was easy to wipe it away and reapply even though my eyes were quiveringly refilling with tears every time I blinked.

I’m thankful that I could put my headphones in, blast some music and pretend to be somewhere else on my walk to work. I’m thankful that I was the first in my office in work and could eat my oatmeal in peace as if nothing had happened.

I’m thankful that when I really needed to cry at my desk, I instead went to the bathroom where I could lock the cubicle door, put my spine firmly against it, lift up my chin and let out a few silent whimpers. I’m thankful that I could take a few deep breaths, dry off my face (anticipating this, I brought one of those nice soft tissues from my desk, not the scratchy toilet paper) and get back to work. I’m thankful that I could wash my hands and use the scented moisturiser I keep at my desk. (Scent is everything. It interrupts the trigger.) I’m thankful that I could get plenty of water and a cup tea for my pointless meeting, and could subtly smell my hands and feel like I was somewhere else.

I’m thankful that I went to the meeting with a big smile on my face so that the first thing someone said to me wasn’t something challenging or difficult. I’m thankful that I could set a light, easeful tone despite the terror that was reverberating through my body.

I’m thankful that I could write a long text about my shitty morning and send it to my sisters and then on my lunch hour, go buy an outfit for a wedding I was dreading.

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