I’m not a big anniversary person. It’s not that I don’t see the value in commemorating an event, whether it be a wedding, a birth, a world happening, or something smaller, more mundane. It’s simply that I’m not the sort of person for whom anniversaries usually strike a chord. If it weren’t for other people, I’d barely remember my own birthday.
Which is why it was such a surprise today that the second anniversary of Emancipation Day – the day on which I seized my freedom and precipitously fled a dangerous and volatile marriage – knocked me for six.
Last year – the first anniversary, the big one – passed me by with barely a clearing of its throat. I used it as an excuse to eat shameful amounts of ice cream, but other than that, there wasn’t much of it that impacted on me. I had assumed that the second year would be similar: I’d break out a bottle of wine or some nice chocolate, raise a glass in the quiet privacy of my home, and then get on with my evening.
That’s pretty much how it did play out – other than the nightmares, the panic-streaked, sweat-stained, breathless waking from horror to lie in the darkness and convince myself that it was just a dream, nothing to worry about, not real, not a reflection of how things are now. Just my mind trying to work through yet more shit. It’s ok, it’s normal, it’s a hell of a lot better than it used to be, stop fretting and go back to sleep.
And then today, sitting in my meditation group, I couldn’t stop the tears that wandered (fortunately) quietly down my face – for the whole twenty-five-minute silent meditation. And all the way from the meditation group to work, where I sat in the car on the street outside the office, listening to the rest of the Vaughn Williams symphony which was playing on the radio, and trying desperately to reclaim my game face.
I did ok. I held it together, and today wasn’t a disaster. I told a couple of friends – briefly – what was going on, and each time I felt the load lighten a little. Each time I was grateful for the presence of a caring person who could tell just by looking that I wasn’t ok.
Tomorrow, I’m sure, will be better, because things are a hundredfold brighter than they were a year ago, and a thousandfold brighter than they were two years ago. I took a hit – a small one – today, and then tomorrow will be easier. And if it’s not, it’s ok, because the day after will be brighter instead.
The day after, of course, contains a choir rehearsal, as well as being the start of a weekend. Of course it will be brighter.