To put it lightly- trauma fucks you up.
Trauma affects everyone differently, but it can change you to a point beyond recognition. It will make you bleach your hair because maybe everything that happened to you as a brunette will somehow disappear because you don’t look like the same person. It makes you get large tattoos because maybe then you will feel in control of your body. You chose to do these things. You will do whatever you can to get rid of the hurt and the brokenness you feel. Sometimes you will feel okay and then you will question if you are handling the trauma correctly because some asshole says you are faking everything because you don’t “look sad.” What you need to realize is that it is normal to feel fine, it is okay to live your life and you are not doing anything wrong. Everyone handles the shit that life throws at them differently and you cannot compare your hurt and your process to anyone else’s.
But other times, perhaps even most of the time, you will not feel okay. You feel dirty and you will shower four times a day in the hottest water you can handle to try to get rid of everything. Or you will go days without showering because you just do not care about anything and you can barely muster the strength to get out of bed as it is. You will drink and party way too much. You will drink to the point of being blackout and you will swear on your life to your friends that you thought you knew your limits. But you know deep inside that you want to forget. Because at least when you chose to drink to the point of being blacked out you got to choose to forget what happened that night, and that is power because no matter how hard you try to forget what terrible thing happened to you, you can’t. You will have way too much sex because again, you are in control and God that is so nice. You may not trust anybody, or you may trust everybody. You may trust every person who shows you interest and you may believe every lie they tell you because you just want to believe that not everyone is trying to use you for your body. You want to feel like a human again and you want to be loved instead of used for once because god dammit you are not just a sexual object to be fucked. You will want to feel like you are in control, at all costs. You will make stupid rash decisions to get your adrenaline pumping because at least then your feelings won’t be so…dull.
Speaking of feelings, your feelings and your aspirations will change. You may not feel as happy as you once were, and when you feel happiness it may be dulled. You will find yourself constantly putting on a fake smile and laughing when jokes are told directly on cue because if you don’t, they will know something is wrong. You will find yourself wanting to wear nothing but black so that you can hide away and blend in with the crowd. But you will make yourself wear the bright clothes you have always worn so you can pretend to be okay. You will become great at pretending. Pretending to be okay and pretending to be interested in everything in your daily life. Your interests will change and that will scare you. The one thing in your life that used to bring you so much joy, the one thing you wanted to spend your life doing will no longer interest you, and that is devastating. You will feel like there is a hole in your soul because your one life-long aspiration has disappeared. Everything in your life will feel dull and you won’t know what to do with your life because if the one thing you have always wanted to do doesn’t interest you, what will? You will dabble in different subjects and just feel wrong because you know that life hadn’t fucked you up you would still be happy and you would still be doing what you love.
You will want to ask for help because you are not okay. But you don’t want to burden anyone in your life because you know that what happened to you is already making them feel like they’re walking on egg shells around you. Imagine how they would feel if they knew you were even less okay than they thought. But you will eventually get to the point where you find it okay to ask for help, because you need it. Then someone in your life that you never even asked for help from may say “you were a burden on everyone in your life.” That will send you reeling. They do not know how difficult it was to ask for even the smallest amount of help in the first place. They do not know that you would rather sleep in a bathtub in the basement of the school you dropped out of than ask one of your best friends who offered their room to sleep there for the night. They do not know that you would feel an enormous sense of dread anytime you had to call your parents to ask for a measly ten dollars to get into a dining hall so you could eat something more than a bag of chips from a vending machine, and then you would pretend to be okay when on the phone with them because you didn’t want to burden them with your problems. They do not know how much you had to grow as a person to realize that it is okay to ask for help. They do not know and you need to realize that they are wrong. I promise you with everything inside of me that you are NOT a burden. Your family and your friends are there for you and they would feel much better if they knew that you were asking for help when you need it. They will not judge you, they want to help you in any way that they can.
Trauma will change you, and that is okay. The thing that you need to realize most is that you cannot let trauma consume you. Because when you let it take over, you will spiral out of control and it is very hard to get yourself out of that hole. You will have moments where you’ll say “fuck it all” and go off track and lose your way. But as soon as you get that out of your system it is important to take back control over your mind. I promise you, you will be okay. You just have to give it time. Because that is really all you can do, and it sucks. You will never be exactly the same, but you will be okay. Your interests, feelings, and aspirations, will come back. Things may be different, but things will be better if you let them.
So walk with your head held high because you are not broken, you are not ruined. You are more than what happened to you. You will find happiness and beauty in this world once again- that, I can guarantee.