Chapter 31

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Tiana POV

Trauma was always something each person dealt with differently. It's not something that's dealt with the same way universally. Sometimes, it could break a person. Kill them, turn them into a completely new person. Someone who isn't a person anymore. Sometimes, it can turn them angry. A monster like the monster they escaped. Sometimes it can turn them softer, sometimes it can turn them colder. There's a million different possibilities. The only thing that's constant is that trauma changes someone.

The way I dealt with trauma was by pretending it wasn't there, even as I lived through it. I painted my skin in scars I'm trying to forget, but other than that, nothing. I didn't look in the mirror because I knew there would be scars from the abuse. I didn't look in the mirror unless I had to. I didn't talk to anyone about it. I didn't acknowledge it. And it worked. It worked in a way that slowly, slowly killed me.

See, trauma changes people. And I didn't like change. Didn't like the fact that I could be changed. So I didn't. But I was empty as fuck.

And soon everything turned numb. See, people don't realise that, no matter how much it hurts to feel, it's always worse to feel numb. Numbness.... is nothing. It's absolutely nothing for days on end and you're tired and bored and sick of everything, but it's okay. You're numb. Whatever happens to you, whether you get beaten up or touched wrong, it won't matter. It won't matter because you're numb. And you try, you try, to be frustrated with yourself for being that way but you can't. You're numb. So it doesn't matter. But. But-

But then the smallest of things will happen. Maybe you can't find something. Maybe someone ate something that's yours. Maybe something minor, something so easily surmountable happens. And suddenly you're crying, raising your fist at the world, wondering why it creating you if it was going to absolutely ruin you in the end. You're in absolute pain. What's the point of living if you're just going to keep living in the pain? What's the point of anything at all?

See, everyone has different ways of dealing with trauma. I ignored mine. So it slowly pushed a dagger in me, twisted its way into my heart, and changed me as a person without my knowledge. And then it became too much and I took the final leap but I was stopped. I was stopped and now here I am, in the head counsellors room, forced to deal with the trauma I tried so so hard to forget.

"You're not going to gain anything by sitting there and staring at me," she says. I don't even know her name. I refuse to acknowledge she's real.

So, of course, I don't talk. And one part of my brain is screaming "change yourself! get better! this is your chance! tell her!" but that's a small part. That little part I tried to bury but stubbornly remains there. The rest of me just screams "NO THIS IS NOT OKAY YOU'RE NOT EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH THIS LEAVE IMMEDIATELY" and I want to. I want to. But I can't. Because I promised I'd stay. I was so stupid, why did I think this was a good idea?

"Okay, if that's what you want, you can sit and stare at me. I give you full permission. Sometimes some people just want to be left alone and I 100% accept that," she says and I stop. My brain turns to static for a second.

Huh? I'm not used to that. I thought they'd force it out of me, force me to talk about something I don't want to talk about. What is going on?

"Don't give me that face. This isn't forced. I only listen to what you tell me and not what I want to hear. This is entirely your choice."

I don't like choices. I don't like choosing. I was never allowed to choose. Why should I start now? I don't like being given a choice. I'm not used to it. I hug the bag I'm holding to ground myself

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