Trigger Warning : Triggered


Let's get this out of the way. When I was around five years old, I was abused by a babysitter. She hit me, scratched me, shoved me around and locked me in my dark closet for what seemed like hours. I escaped her once, by jumping out of my bedroom window (imagine the first floor of a bungalow-style home, so it was a good 8 foot drop to the concrete below.) I ran all the way down the block to my friends house where they tried to hide me in a pile of beach towels on their front porch. My babysitter was a nasty teenage bitch, but I lacked the wherewithal to articulate to my mother what was going on. However, my demeanor eventually clued her in and once she saw bruises, it was over. I never saw that babysitter again. 

We've talked about it over the years - this is not some dark secret. In fact, I had processed it and packed it away decades ago, not because it was painful, but because it was pointless. It does not present itself as a trauma to me or even elicit much emotion. Simply put, it's the reason I never trusted anyone with my kids, especially before they could tattle. 

Fast forward to the last day of the Gym Jones seminar and our morning speaker was talking about an abusive babysitter when he was five... My hands began to tremble a little. I questioned my caffeine intake. Then, my arms started shaking, and before I knew it, I was full-on shivering and tears were streaming out of my eyes. There was no fear, no panic attack symptoms, just a physical reaction, as if I had eaten something I was allergic to. The entire day (which was about 95 degrees), I'd catch the shivering on and off. After the first hard workout, I let myself cry in the bathroom for a minute so people didn't think I had lost my mind. It was the weirdest thing - I was triggered, for real. 

I typically want to knock all the teeth out of most shitheads who are always having a moan about "triggered snowflakes" - not because I'm a proponent of weakness and bad attitudes, but because most of these assholes are simply trying to make themselves appear strong by comparison. Nine times out of ten, it's some white boy/girl who has never seen trauma and the hardest work they ever did was hold a job or clean their bedroom when mom yelled. The other one out of ten is someone who has seen trauma but refuses to deal with it, so they are bitter as fuck. 

But, the fact remains, it happened to me, and for something that I didn't see as upsetting. My body - without my permission - went into "trapped in a dark closet" mode and I was suddenly overcome with the urge to pull this man out of his past and save him - or save me? - and I couldn't. It felt like grief. I had to watch two little kids be abused and I couldn't stop it. 

Anyway, I went on to do the hardest day of the whole seminar. I dropped into dark and defeatist places, but each time, I came screaming out the other end like a fucking juggernaut. I did not give up on myself. I did not give in to the shivering. I wholly believe the intense activity both brought out the emotions and then purged them in the fire of my own making. Ashes and sweat, everywhere. I looked up and realized everything had changed. Around here, we'd call that SALVATION.