I think one of the worst things about having a traumatic life is that you can never escape all the reminders everywhere you go. If you grew up in an abusive family, the holidays can be torture whenever they come around. So many holidays are about celebrating with family. My family was extremely fake, hiding behind the façade they presented to the world. I didn’t even know that I was being abused. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So at the time I thought that I just had this normal family who would spend time together on these days, and that they really loved me. Even though my mother told me as a child she didn’t love me, I still believed she did. That was actually one of the hardest things I’ve had to accept, that her and so many others pretended to care about me. That every smile, every laugh, was just covering up the truth of the way things really were.
Today is 4th of July. I remember how excited I would get about seeing the fireworks as a kid. But as the years went on, I stopped celebrating it and stayed at home. I hated the noise because of my sensory issues, but the way the fireworks looked always mesmerized me. It gave me this deep feeling of pure happiness and joy when I saw them. I would just block out my family if they were making me uncomfortable which they normally did and I would get lost in watching the beautiful colors in the sky. I used to think that spending time with family just meant you were in the same place and doing something together. I didn’t know what real intimacy was supposed to be like, so I thought that watching the fireworks together meant we were bonding. It doesn’t matter if I know the truth now because at the time that’s what I really thought, that there was a connection there. But really I was just sitting there inside myself even if everyone around me was talking, all alone.
I thought about walking down the street tonight to get a closer look at the fireworks. But as soon as I was about to, I turned around and went right back inside. It brought up all these feelings from the past, just hearing them in the distance, and seeing them barely come up over the trees. I couldn’t handle it. I felt like I didn’t deserve to see them. That there was something wrong with me because I didn’t have a family that never really loved me there to watch them with me. I then had a memory come up of watching the fireworks with the only guy I ever really fell in love with when I was a teenager. It was long after we broke-up. It was one of those times he used me just to have some female companionship. I had sought after this guy so many times after he left me, but he always gave me the cold shoulder. He would always say “we will play it by ear” and then break my heart all over again. He kissed me like no one had ever kissed me before that night. He held me like no one had ever held me before that night. He made me feel like I belonged somewhere in this world. This is what hurts me the most, because I was happy, too happy.
Of course this experience only lasted as long as we were at the festival. He soon went on to treating me like dirt, and wasn’t actually serious about me at all. But that night he sure did embrace me like I was still his. It got my hopes up so high only for me to come crashing down shortly after. This is what fireworks reminds me of now. So as I sit here in the dark in my room, hearing them go off. I can’t help but just wanting to burst into tears. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over this guy. I’ve never loved anyone like I loved him. It amazes me how even “happy” memories can leave you feeling absolutely horrible when you get any reminder of it. But the fact that today is a holiday makes the feeling even worse. Holidays to me just means that everyone around you who is supposedly “close” to you is really just playing pretend. Holidays are days where I feel the most lonely and depressed. I can’t stand them, and every year it just gets worse.