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On August 24th of 2022, I went to what seemed to be a routine therapy appointment. I have complex PTSD stemming from, well, lots of places. This led to depression, anxiety, and an impossibly tricky minefield of things that would set me off for no reason. In fact, that same day, I had a panic attack, hearing metal bats hit softballs. This was new, as I had watched the summer of softball games in the employee league, and only on this day was it a problem. 

My therapist decided to do some EMDR on this, as it's a process we had been using to work with these random triggers. EMDR therapy involves my eyes following a light back and forth while she asks questions. It works particularly well with me as my conscious effort is to follow the light so the quiet back part of my brain can speak up. 

My sense of self was built on a foundation of holes, where missing parts of my memory were covered with straightforward explanations and a requirement, almost an obligation, not to dig too deep. However, the path I had to follow to avoid those holes and random land mines got to be too much, hence the therapy appointment on that day. 

Something else happened that day. 

@The Writer Xwould post the last chapter of his updated version of The Brotherhood on Nifty. I identified with Jacob for a lot of reasons. We shared a lot of the same traumas.

When my therapist dropped the lights, and my eyes started to follow that little green dot back and forth, it was as if a dam in my brain broke. I could suddenly remember almost everything. Entire blank years were now coming forth, fresh and clear as if they hadn't been spoiled by the passage of time. 

And they kept coming. 

For weeks. 

If I didn't know better, it was as if my skin had gone grey, and I had grown black wings. 

We didn't use the EMDR machine again until February. 

This is all to say; I don't know who I am. At least not fully. My memories are new, and so I'm still learning to cope with them. The last decade of my life, where I thought I was making "progress," was erased in a single visit. But I'm still here.

There are days when I can't remember if I took my medications, but I can remember the smell of freshly cut grass on the football field before a game. I can remember the feel of pigskin in my hand from a catch and how I took a hit, but not if I emailed my boss. I can remember who I was, but I struggle with who I am. 

On November 18th, I sent what would become Chapter 1 of Flamekeepers to The Writer X. He encouraged me to post it on this site. Today I submitted the 6th chapter of this story to the site. In the last four months, I have found a tiny community of people who like my stuff, a mentor who, without knowing, pushes me to do better, and a fantastic group of friends who are ok with me learning who I am. 

So to you, denizens of this site who have welcomed me with open arms, this beer is for you. We got a bonfire just inside the tree line. Come howl at the moon with the bad dog. 



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