I am almost always numb. When I can feel the pain, though, it takes control over all five senses.
Mostly my hearing. All of the others—except, I suppose, touch—become nonexistent. My vision is reduced to flashes of light and dark, obscured and blurred through tears. There is no taste or smell.
Touch: I usually grip my own ribs. I find myself wrapping my own arms around my sides, holding my skeleton together, clutching at my own skin. Digging my own nails into it sometimes to feel something externally. Because all of the real pain is inside. Ripping.
My ears hear nothing except the screaming inside my own head. It’s deafening. My lips pull back and reveal my teeth. There is every sensation of screaming: the vibration in my throat, the heaving of air through my lungs, the keening noise of it in my ears. It’s absolutely deafening. But simultaneously there is nothing. It is so, so quiet. Terribly quiet. I scream, and I can’t even hear myself.
But eventually the waves of pain fade away. The tide rolls out and it all sinks back down where it came from. And I am left alive, clinging to the coast. Breathing. Surviving. It used to shock me at first—surviving those waves of pure agony—but I know nothing could ever break me.
I’ve heard what people are saying about me, and it’s infuriating, but they don’t know the truth. That is okay. I know the truth and that is enough. The truth has quite literally set me free, while for you, the truth has shown the ugliest, darkest pieces of you. Slowly, they will know the truth. You used me and took advantage of me in ways I didn’t know you were capable. I will never trust anyone the same way again. You’ve taken that ability from me forever.
There are silver linings. I’ve been through so much pain at your hands that nothing scares me anymore. I’ve survived it every time. I am invincible now. Fear is a memory. I laugh sometimes when I think about anyone else ever attempting to hurt me.
People keep telling me I’m so strong. I’m not sure what to make of it. I know I’m strong. I wish it didn’t take this for me or anyone else to find that out.