1. Title of Book: The Bible
Age I Was Traumatized: 4
I am not saying that the Bible was written by a sexual sadist. I am saying that my 1986 edition children’s Bible was, without question, illustrated by someone who regularly tied their partner to a cave wall and flogged them to ecstasy while in a Hebrew slave-Egyptian overseer roleplaying situation.
(For a kid whose parents barely let her watch TV, some of my Sunday school lessons were intense.)
2. Title of Book: Little House On the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Age I Was Traumatized: 7
The prairie is on fire. A snake is twisting itself around your leg, having mistaken you for a source of safety. Inside the sod house, Ma is making rabbit stew with dumplings, only she has no more meat, only flour and grease. Pa tells you to bring him a drink of water from the dipper. “This is fine,” he says, staring out the window at the burning world. “Everything here is just fine.”
3. Title of Book: The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
Age I Was Traumatized: 9
Third grade is a normal and developmentally appropriate time in a child’s life for reading vivid first-person memoirs about hiding from Nazis and surviving Ravensbrück for over a year.
Solitude is a habit with me, a byproduct of anxiety and distrust that I haven’t really figured out how to get rid of. Since high school, I’ve used the internet as an adaptive tool to help me manage my isolation, but now that I’m in my early thirties, it isn’t as effective as it used to be. The friends who were once available on chat for hours and hours over the course of the day have differently structured lives than when they were finishing up their degrees and looking for full-time work—whereas I’m working from home, still sitting in front of the computer for eighteen hours a day, still just as available as I always was. I used to harangue myself into at least taking my laptop to coffee shops, but since my car got stolen and my damaged tendon started severely limiting the distance I can walk in a day, my already narrow world has shrunk considerably.
It’s Christmas day, the chief delight of which, for me, is that Christmas is now practically over. I can finally stop stiff-upper-lipping it and settle in to enjoy my actual favorite time of year: New Year’s.
New Year’s has been my preferred holiday since 2010, when I made a resolution for the first time (finish my novel by May) and succeeded in keeping it. Also, my birthday is on the 22nd. Having a January birthday kind of reinforces the sensation that everything starts over fresh in the first month of the year.
(The author’s mental image of January, as a concept. Peaceful, no?)
2014 was a strange year for me. I remember it starting off well. I did a lot of reflecting last Christmas, and I came to some sobering and potentially useful realizations about myself. It felt like the beginning of a new period of sanity. I was optimistic about what the next twelve months would bring.
That didn’t last.
Since the last time I updated here, I’ve moved to a new apartment.
Like all the moves I’ve made in the last year, it was in no way planned. Back in July, I took an upstairs room in a house owned by a woman three years younger than me, purchased for her by her parents. She lived in the basement apartment and rented out the three upstairs bedrooms. The ground floor was a shared space, containing the kitchen, living room, dining room, and access to the back deck.
The dollhouse I made a year ago to memorialize my many issues with housing.