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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Fright Night

I am not a Halloween person. It is not my holiday. It vexes me annually. It is like I was cursed as a child - if I have a cool party to go to I can think of nothing to be or do not have time to pull a costume together or I will have an amazing costume but nowhere to go...this has been the deal for decades.

I have come to really not enjoy the holiday. The best part of having teenagers is that they do not want you anywhere near their good time, Halloween included. However, this year, my daughter and friends want to go to Fright Night at Six Flags. I cannot tell you how much I do not want to do this. I don’t want to spend the money, I don’t want to drive two hours, I don’t want to stay out late. I do not want to go...

But I am.

I am taking her and her friends because it is important to her and I would have wanted to do this when I was her age. Halloween is a holiday for kids of all ages. And I want to be remembered as a mom who supported my kids interests, even on Halloween.

I am dreading being scared by the Zombies that patrol the grounds, the people who jump out at you. I do not handle this well and may well pick up an assault charge because my PTSD causes me to want to beat the living shit out of people who scare, I am not joking. I am walking into this literal horror show knowing that my entire nervous system is going to be set on fire. I may spend a lot of time in the bathroom...if someone comes after me in the bathroom shit is going to happen...literally.

I am not kidding about the PTSD. I have it and it does make me want to violently smack people who startle me or scare me. Ask my ex-husband. Early in our relationship, he thought it was fun to scare me. He learned very quickly that there was nothing fun about it for him or me or anyone close enough to witness the event.

What is most sad about all of this is that I didn’t know why I reacted the way that I did and I wasn’t able to tell him or anyone else. I just freaked the fuck out and then had to apologize for my dramatic and somewhat deranged conduct. But today I know. Today I know where it all comes from and why. It is trauma. And I know exactly where it emanates from...

And that is why I am going. The trauma long ago ended. But my body has kept the score. My body remembers. And it always will unless I take hard action to rewire it. EMDR has been helpful but me avoiding situations that cause me emotional disconnects only serves to strengthen the trauma bond.

My daughter doesn’t know how I feel. And I won’t tell her. I do not want her thinking about me. I do not want this to be about me at all. My trauma and undiagnosed PTSD having caused far more wreckage in my life than I care to admit. But today, I know it, I see it and I can deal with it. It is an old reaction to stuff that has long been over. My body just doesn’t know that.

So tonight I will go sign up to be scared and terrified and I will know that I am walking into a hard evening. I know that I am going to be triggered and upset. I will be kind to myself as I try not to beat the shit out the people who work there. They are only doing their jobs. And I am showing up with a job to do as well. I am going to try to dismantle another trauma layer as I walk through an event that would have completely undone me in the past. I am going to endeavor to do this while not shutting down and off. We will see how that goes. I am not making promises. Instead, I am setting an intention that I go and be of service to my daughter and friends. That I show up and allow myself to be safe in an environment that is deigned to cause flight or fight. For me, it is always fight.

Some people may think this is stupid and a disaster waiting to happen. And you may be right. But I know that if I do not confront the shit that closes me off, terrifies me and is hardwired in my body, I may avoid a meltdown, but I have done nothing to move the trauma through my body and out of my life. The body keeps the score...

So Fright Night has a different meaning for me. It is going to be hard and it is going to be activating. But I am not helpless and none of this is real. No one is trying to hurt me. And I want this age old reaction of mine to be lessened if even a little. If I can’t handle it, then I will go to the car. I can sit it out somewhere in the park where ghouls and monsters do not lurk. Which is something since they have lurked in my head and in my flesh for such a very long time.

I am going tonight seeking healing which may sound like a very strange idea but in service to my daughter I am hoping that I may also find some recovery to long standing issues that plague me still. Perhaps my intentional attendance will allow me to process on some new level the past. Perhaps I will only find that I fucking hate it and then decide that I will never go again. Whatever the result, I am willing to confront the demons of the past, and walk through the ways they show up in my life today realizing that they are only apparitions and I am just fine...really.

Seriously, just trying to find a photo here caused me to become pretty pissed is going to be a very long night. Pray for us!

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