I need people and community.

PTSD makes being around people too much work, always. But now COVID19 is making being around people an impossibility. Also always, for now. But I need people. I don’t want to need people. I don’t want to say I need people. It feels hippy, ridiculous, all those things I know are just distortions. But I don’t want to say it because I don’t want to open that door. I don’t want to be vulnerable because I know from experience that vulnerability and humans often mix potently. And we are a world that operates on empirical knowledge if nothing else.

We know the sun is going to go rise today because it rose yesterday and the day before. I know people, out of conscious choice, lazy misdirection, or subconscious intention are going to leave me feeling unworthy, invisible, or worse. It is empirical. There are people who are great in my life. I am lucky to have the best man I have ever known in the world as my significant other. Better than I would ever have imagine a man could be. But all humans hurt other humans, even in small, daily ways that mostly wash away. Minor abrasions from unintended, spur of the moment scratches when something is worded the wrong way, or forgotten. He didn’t do that today or yesterday. He was great. But there is no possible way for humans to be so close in contact, in any type of relationship and even parent-child, without expecting even minor collateral damage. We are humans and we hurt sometimes. Sometimes it is a hurt we do actively, creating it like a new force in the world. And sometimes it is a hurt we absorb into ourselves, taking that created energy and holding it in because there can only be so much negative energy in the atmosphere before the world rips. So we all become dehumidifiers, air filters, for the pain we as humans inadvertently cause because we are so very imperfect.

I started this out to say I am reading a great book about running and its way to combat PTSD or demons for people in the worst states of their lives who may or may not like running, maybe for people who have never been runners. But here I am with only a vague inclination of how I got here, which is pretty typical of life, talking about hurt. Granted, as the blister on the foot is silently screaming in its most angsty tone, running and hurt go together. Maybe that is why I am trying to become a runner. Because if I am their air filter for pain, I need a place to filter my pain so I don’t become a storage facility for the hurt I absorb from the world, the nightmares I have. Because as great as my significant other is, as safe as he is, as trusted, as much of a giant wall of security as he presents, he can never fully be the filter for all the fears and nightmares I slogged through before I knew him. I live in a house, for one of the first times in my life, where I don’t worry that if things get too heated a man will strike me today. Hell, I don’t even expect him to raise his voice even mildly at me (not that it wouldn’t be understandable given I can get heated myself and we should move past double standards as a society). But by nature as a human, he is permeable. I am permeable. My present is not inviolable to the captured senses of my past. Even on a treadmill, they will revisit me. Quick, blinding flashes that make me mind freeze in cringe and my spirit shrink in defense.

I always thought if I found my way to a good man, and I have, that all the things bad men did would wash away. The infections they caused have been soothed. But they don’t go away. As humans we hurt as part of our nature sometimes. We choose to heal but because we are not naturally emotional healers, our powers are limited. I am trying to run and become a runner not because I want to run away from those memories but because I want to run into them. I am tired of trying to seal myself up from them. It doesn’t work. I want to bathe myself in them, dispel them, make them part of my armor rather than assailants to it so that I can stop monitoring my percentage of vulnerability in any situation. I want to be my situation and threats, or recollections of them, are factors I am equipped to deal with. I want to get there.

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