Editor’s Note: The following piece was first published February 4, 2014  on Kristin’s blog “Praire Daize.” She also submitted a sexual abuse story to our stories section which can be seen here.

OSUkristen'sphoto

no feeling is final.
-rilke

so, did you just remember these things?

the question jarred me the first time. how strange. i couldn’t fathom having been free from the memories. i’ve always remembered. i’ve not been reminded of anything new in this past year. i wrote a list of “these things” and they filled a paper, starting with a neat list, evolving into double columns, ending with words scrawled sideways around the holes intended for a binder.

i’m a time machine that can travel back to any number of memories. i can feel how i felt. i remember if my stomach was flopping or if my limbs were draining or if my head was dizzy or if my heart was racing. i can feel myself with frozen body. i can see where i was and where i was looking, though i don’t know what i saw and i never remember where i went right after. i can see as much of the room as a photograph could capture. i’m always at the center.

now i’m a shape shifter, heading back into those memories and i, warrior-like, join the scene and interrupt with love and comfort and protection for all. all in the picture see the light. all are transformed. starting with the most scared one and ending with the most blind one. memory by memory, detail by detail. the journey of re-membering.

i’ve been deep in intention to feel and heal. i welcome truths revealed, even when they cause my eyebrows to crinkle deepening my 40 year old lines. even when my breath reduces to barely visible shallow wisps and my eyes dart around looking for something to ground me. these aren’t memories revealed, these are beliefs i didn’t know i believed, feelings i didn’t know i felt, buried in a ring around my heart.

i remember, i said. i even remember the details, i said.

for that entire page worth of memories, i can see the details. each is like a photograph, though sometimes like a movie clip…no longer than the 15 second ones now allowed on instagram. but mostly photos. usually the standard 3.5X5 size, but sometimes square, sometimes even a fancy panoramic, encircling the entire memory. they are so vivid to me, i have to remind myself that no one else can see them. i see the room, what i was wearing. i see the what was on the floor and what the curtains looked like. i see the blanket and how far open the door was. i see the chairs behind me and who was in them. i see the posters on each of the 4 walls. i see the booths around me and who is in each. i see myself talking, i see myself walking away, i see my self. and even if it’s a snapshot, i smell my surroundings and hear the background noises. like in an amplified tunnel i hear bat-like. i hear more than i thought i could. my heartbeat so loud it pulses the light. the smells so strong they have a color. i see my feet, sometimes barefoot, sometimes covered. i see my limbs. i see my hair, either long and straight down my back or feathered back over my ears. i see my eyes. i feel them too. i see where they are looking but not what they see. i feel them in the sockets but they are still like marbles.

you remember your eyes, she said. you remember seeing, you mean.

no, i see my eyes.

how could you see your own eyes?

with a bit of annoyed confidence i tell her: uh, because i’m above it or sometimes behind it, because i see everything like a snapshot, like a birds eye view…………..oh, shit.

i revealed my own truth. disassociation. years later and this word just now connects to me. of course. all my memories, easy and hard, i’m both outside of and in. i remember the distinct moments of leaving, when it got to be too much or the risk was too great. open the wings and release. fear leaving you. i flew up so effortlessly. up and out. blessed be, there was always enough wind to catch my wings and allow me to hover. fly. fear.leaving.you. f.l.y.

my dad wrote me a song when i was a baby. i’ve never thought of it as directive. i’ve never connected it. you’ve got to fly on your own little wings, oh baby fly high. and when you get tired, i want you to know i’ll be flying a little ways behind….

i allow myself to feel tired now…i rest and daydream, laugh and say things without thinking. i’ve flown in a tight circle for years, never allowing myself to leave completely. i never flew off and left for good. i worked air and muscle to stay just out of fear’s way. now i practice landing. landing back into that body that now is safe. remembering that small body that loved soft things and didn’t mind getting dirty. that body that ran fast enough to win the 50 yard dash. that body that numbed everything, even true pleasure. landing back into my skin, the same little marks i’ve had my whole life and the scars i made myself. landing back with freedom to rewrite history and imagine intervention. landing back and breathing while i look around. landing back and staying with it, labor like. landing back and noticing only what i can see from my body’s point of view. landing back and noticing.

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the temptation to fly is strong at times. the wings barely raise and wind tugs them open. it takes strength to tuck them back in. it would be so easy to let the breeze carry me.

so, time machine activated, shape shifting engaged, wings folded in, all systems go, i land and stay the course.