Prisoner of Battlefield Shrapnel


My tormentors were cruel. They had turned me into my own captor. By reducing me into something I believed was worthless and by removing my hope of ever being worthwhile, my own mind now kept me captive. When the prison doors were opened, I didn’t run out. I couldn’t. Where would I go? Did I belong in a life built by a person who was no longer me? I felt like an impostor. I wanted to be where I wasn’t alone and I wanted to exist outside of my prison, but because I was a different person now, I couldn’t step into my old relationships and just have them back. These people are the friends of the person that I used to be. When you don’t fit, you begin the daunting task of either rebuilding or escaping.


Some relationships can’t go away, but we almost want them to because they represent who we think we are supposed to be rather than who we CAN be. Building a life again is not an impossible task, but being the person I was before IS impossible. Resentment exists around those relationships that are the most loyal, but the most desperate to have you be “okay”, but that really means that they want you to be that person from before you were broken. We can’t un-break ourselves and we can’t even glue the pieces back together because some of the old us is pulverized and the new us has hurriedly fused together in the heat of battle for the sole purpose of survival.Maybe we were rebuilt with shrapnel from battlefield debris. Will the old broken pottery that used to be us ever fuse with the hard bent metal pieces soldered together with sharp edges exposed? We don’t know. We want to know.


We mourn the loss of us more deeply than anybody who used to love us ever could. “Used to” because they can’t love THIS me. We try to be whole again and we try to fit in the old pieces of us that we can find, but we see that our efforts have been fruitless and we see that the old pieces somehow feel false,but we wear them anyway because they belong to the person who was somehow able to belong in this life that we feel so foreign to.We know we are unsightly. We know we don’t belong here. We want to hide because here is a place that we do not know how to BE. All we have learned so far is that the first rule of existence in this place is that we still need to fake that we’re okay or someone might look too close at what we’ve really become and look at what we’re ashamed for them to see.We know we are less…LESS…That is the only thing that I know is true about this me.


We follow the rule to “be okay” and we become easily-irritated because every interaction with others reminds us that we fail and of what we will never be. We feel guilty for our inability to succeed at such a small task. It seems so small compared to what we’ve been through. How could a survivor be so weak? We are angry that our strength on the outside doesn’t constitute strength inside. We are pissed that we have to see our failures reflected in your eyes. We resent our own weakness and that we have to fit in these damn pieces of freakin’ pottery that will just break again. We try to fit the pieces back as best we can remember, but remembering what we used to be and knowing that we’re less…Well, we’re pissed about that too. I wish I had the courage to give you all the finger and be whatever I damn-well CAN be. 


New relationships mean more to us because they don’t have any expectations yet all relationships tire us lately because there are still rules to follow about being somewhat okay. Mostly, we would rather escape to a place by ourselves than to form any new relationships, but in the solitude is where the battle enters our head again but mostly the new battle is between us and us. We are our new cruel captor. We walk to the open door of our mental prison and we beat ourselves backand tell ourselves why we don’t deserve to go out and why we are worthless and why nobody wants a degenerate mess of metal shrapnel. So we succumb to our self-inflicted punishment or we stick it out and we try to connect with people.


The people from that place of “who we were” that won’t go away feel the full force of our anger because they carry with them all of the “shoulds” and all of the reminders of our failures and all of the hope that is feeble.Hope…What is that? It is one of the main things that was broken in us that won’t rebuild easily. Hope can’t be trusted. I need something that can be trusted to hope in. I need something authentic, but to find authentic in order to find hope, I need to be allowed to BE authentic will all my messes and the sharp shrapnel edges that is me.


Can I hope again? Is it worth it? With every bit of hope that grows in me, the hope of others grows exponentially and, with that hope, their expectations and the “shoulds” and my desire to run and escape and just be by myself with no expectations…except there ARE expectations. I can’t escape my own expectations. How kind am I to myself? How cruel? How realistic? How much do I lie to myself?


Lies give us temporary behavior modifications. We walk around as the person on the outside that everybody wants, but we now we are a fraud inside losing anything that is real that we might have found to hope in. But we fake it and we build the hope of others. We also build their expectations and they respond to us as though we are fine when we aren’t. We cringe when someone touches us and we withdraw and get verbally angry when someone jogs a memory that hits too close to home. We berate ourselves because of how we are that we don’t want to be…I don’t want to be this person. I miss who I was. I’ll never have that person back again and I resent you all for continually demanding that I resurrect someone that I need to come to terms with the fact is never coming back. They’re gone. I can’t be that person. I want to, but I can’t…I fail again.

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