He found the two guns I had in my closet. At that point he had three guns, and I had nothing. Long scene short, after tormenting me he tossed the guns/magazines/bullets (of mine, not his) into my laundry basket and they landed at the bottom with a loud thud. He then said something like, “This works better if there are clothes in there. Quit being so damn clean.” The laundry basket was later found in my basement with carpet fresh dumped in it on top of the guns.
Get this. Can you believe I still have that laundry basket? Can you believe I still use it? I shot and torched my mattress. Gave away my bed frame and nightstands. And sold my f-ing house. And car. Why the hell did I keep a laundry basket?
I have no idea. Perhaps I should get a new one.
Or, as Lysa Terkeurst in her book called, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way,” says:
Feeling the pain is the first step toward healing the pain. The longer we avoid the feeling, the more we delay our healing. We can numb it, ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist, but all those options lead to an eventual breakdown, not a breakthrough.
I didn’t want to feel the pain. I tried so damn hard to NOT think about the pain. But I kept the laundry basket. Was it my subconscious making sure there would be one simple thing to remind me of what happened so I could feel the pain, taking a step toward healing?
How about zip ties? My extreme, obvious aversion to zip ties was so apparent that my ex-husband so graciously fixed something in my house and managed to do it right in front of me without me seeing the zip ties he was using.
But unlike Chanel Miller, (darling, I’m simply envious of the downtime you had to process and write) I am a mom, I am a full-time nurse, I am a homeowner and pet-mom, and I must appear to be a functioning member of society. Oh, and I was going through a divorce from the love of my life in the midst of it all too. As fantastic as I was at avoiding the pain, partly simply because I didn’t have time for it, there were little things forcing me to push through like a semi-truck through dense fog on an interstate on a brisk, frosty morning.
I’ve since used zip ties. Hell, I bought two packs of them. Because sometimes instead of avoiding the things that hurt, we must push forward and charge through, conquering that shit.
The photo that comes up on my phone when my ex-husband calls is a picture of him on our wedding day. Why? Maybe I’ve been too lazy to change it. But maybe because I like to remember how happy I was on my wedding day. Maybe because it’s easier remembering that time period instead of the hurt I later wanted to get away from rather than work through, and the pain we both endured because of it.
I have a post-it note on my fridge from my best friend of the last two years. Unfortunately, he met a girl and she didn’t appreciate me being friends with her boyfriend. The pain of losing my best friend because of something I could not control was heartbreaking. It was the same reason that caused the utter destruction of my friendship with my ex-husband. Thankfully, we’re doing a fine job at co-parenting again, but that suffered too. The post-it note is a reminder of the love, support, and fun I had with my friend, my ride-or-die, at the time. And the photo of my ex-husband is the same.
Maybe the laundry basket isn’t necessarily a reminder of that night, but rather the life I was living when I bought it. Trauma is a landmark in time dividing the before and after. Life before was the prequel to my story. It’s important for me to remember life before compared to life now. This quote from Grey’s Anatomy never gets old, “There’s something about experiencing the worst day of your life that is oddly freeing.”
I am free.
Or, perhaps I should torch my laundry basket too.
Anyone got a lighter?