A Letter to My Mom and Dad in Trigger Warnings

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Today we have an edgy piece from guest blogger Alexis Oldham- sounds like old•ham- she was once told by a sweet man that there is a curious comfort in letting go. After the agony, letting go brings numbness, and after the numbness, clarity

trigger warning

Trigger Warning: I don’t think I’d really ever consider myself a perfectionist however, even as I type this, I find myself clicking spell-check five

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Trigger Warning: Cliche people with cliche names and cliche motives don’t come with trigger warnings.

They don’t put trigger warnings on jaded men with receding hairlines just because they remind you of how light refuses to cease receding into nights, every night, or how we’re all thunderstorms and, eventually, there will come a time when we will have to part ways and recede back into the parts of sky from which we came.

They don’t put trigger warnings on the moments you realize you and the dirty laundry that has been laying on your floor for weeks now have both been wrinkled by the time spent, there,

on dirty floors.

They don’t put trigger warnings on middles.

There will always be befores. Before love. Before life. Before losing a hundred and two pounds. Before the material world invades your mind with rules about tampons and riot signs.

There will always be afters. After finding your other half. After death. Aftermath.

But there will never be trigger warnings on the gray matter; never any caution tape around the fleeting moments between the binge and the purge, the time you take hovering above the toilet seat wondering if your fingers will taste any different than the last time.

In moments of awkward silence, there will be no trigger warnings to help fillintheblanks.

There will never be construction cones surrounding the time you remember the instant you forgot pain could also be a verb.

For me, it was always a noun- always an object that burrowed between my bones like a lost little rabbit. But it had teeth and they always threatened to break my limbs. That, that was when I forgot pain was also a verb and instead remembered that I was a hyphen, a person in between feeling fine and feeling good and feeling great- a sort of

s      e     p    a   r  a tion-

and I wanted to learn to join the joy and the sad, but my mouth was always a comma in which mild catastrophes and dew kissed breakfasts were always pausing to spill out.

One day, when you wake up remembering how this time, last year, you began fading into a much quieter version of yourself  at the same time the leaves of early autumn did the exact opposite, remembering how your body, for a brief moment, felt like a foreign country without anyone willing to occupy it; one day when you wake up remembering how you used to let your dog off the leash so maybe it’d run into the street giving you a reason to run too, you’ll realize that there will never be an adequate amount of warnings to prepare you for this.

One day, when you wake up remembering the times you thought of windows like collections of tiny shards of glass finally understanding why pain and pane were homophones, you’ll wonder if a body unconscious is a body still. On the nights when the moon is more a word on the tip of your tongue than a saving grace positioned at such an angle in the sky that, for a little while, it almost seems believable that holy light is alive and well,  you’ll wonder if living and breathing are really as intertwined as we are lead to believe.

To my mom and dad,

From now on, I will try to love the way the left brain loves the right brain if there even is such a thing. I will love like all my gray matter really does matter, like it’s more than just a scientific term, like my brain is capable of more than the grey it shades itself into every day.

I’m sorry you could never understand why I, like rainfall, wished to elope with the ground on days my brain felt like hurricanes but there are bees and yellow jackets that sting to know they’re alive and there are bees and yellow jackets that sting to inflict pain and I can’t promise you I won’t be both but I can tell you that even on days I can feel the storms rage inside me, I will wish to live twice as many times.

To my brothers and sisters,

I will not always be kind. I will not always be able to bite my tongue and hold back the fire living inside my mouth that threatens to turn every word into a burning building but every individual cell will still do its best to put out the flames until this body is not hot but warm.

Until this body understands that, sometimes, spitting fire is worse than swallowing flames.

Trigger Warning: May I always see my own beauty without having to break any bones.

Trigger Warning: May I always be a series of riptides that never learn how to flow in the same direction.

Trigger Warning: May I always be full of opposites; may I never be perfect.

Trigger Warning: May I be flawed and flowing in the wrong direction if it will only teach me which one is the right one. May I always be riptides and never tsunamis. I may be monstrous and aching but I never want to tear myself apart.

Sometimes I will be unforgivable. Sometimes I will be one stumbling, heaping spoonful of an apology that no one will know how to swallow and I can’t promise you there won’t be bruises. I will always be bruises. I will be full of holes that others will do their best to fill, but the truth is that maybe I can’t be saved.

But that doesn’t mean I ever have to stop trying.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

I am worth stupid silly laughter, sunburns, embarrassing pictures. I am worth inner thighs. I am worth the pulp at the bottom of the orange juice carton although I was never pulp.

I will never be the last thing left at the bottom of anything. I don’t deserve rock bottom. I am not leftovers. I am not disposable.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

Trigger Warning: I am worth trying.

I am worth trying.”

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