Everywhere I look there is a trigger. The sound of a lawn mower. The slamming of a door. A ladder perched against the side of a house. These triggers have the power to fill me with dread and terror. I hear the screams of the dying, I taste the salt of blood. But when I met Bobby, he showed me that these could be triggers for a different kind of feeling. Strength. Freedom. Self-determination. Bobby showed me I was clinging to the fear.
Two times in my life I have clung to something that hurt me. The tighter I held on, the more I bled.
The first time it was when I clung to Alex, my boyfriend, my partner in crime. He said he loved me. And maybe he did. He loved how I looked on his arm. He loved how we worked together, grifting businessmen in hotel bars for wads of cash or wire transfers. I was good. We were good together. I felt like we were Bonny and Clyde, cruising across America taking whatever we wanted from whoever we wanted.
And even when he would disappear for nights at a time, even when he made me feel like a worthless piece of shit, even when he broke a whiskey bottle over my head -- I still loved him. One night he tried to push me out of a moving car in the middle of a highway in Atlantic city. Hours later, when he cried and apologized and said he loved me, I still clung.
A year after Atlantic city, I clung to a ladder made of razor wire. The flesh on my hands was chopped down to the bone. Below me was a whirring machine, threshing blades whose only purpose was to grind a person down to liquid.
And across from me, clinging to an identical bladed ladder, Alex was trying to knock me to my death.
But I am still here. And he is not. As his blood cascaded over me, I realized I was free. Free in my body. Free in my spirit. Jigsaw did not know who would survive. He was not there to save me. But he gave me an opportunity and when I emerged from the pit of despair, I was reborn. A survivor.
The sounds of whirring blades, the slamming doors, the sight of a ladder -- these triggers remind me of my strength. They remind me I can be fearless. They remind me I am free.
We all have triggers of fear. And we all have the chance to change what they mean for us. We can all TURN TRIGGERS OF TRAUMA INTO TRIGGERS OF SURVIVAL