But I'm Not Dead Yet

Category: PTSD

What Remains

Does one’s worldview change if looking through a broken soul?

Which piece fell off first?

And did it break into a million pieces when it fell around my feet?

Did it trip me up

For the rest of my life?


The answer is yes.

I tried, but never could

Put the pieces back where they made sense

While desperately concealing all evidence of evil.

My broken pieces eventually made it back together

But they couldn’t fit in their original design anymore

I became a hidden, unglued, warped, jigsaw

puzzle that hated all the everything of me.

Which piece fell off first?

I believe it was my sanctuary.

Two large hands ripped it out of my tender,

virginal soul

And let it shatter on the floor

Before I could

Catch it

Save it

Keep it

I haven’t gotten it back.

I tried to at least find it –

In case I needed it again, which I have,


But sanctuary is tenuous

And easily elusive

To be the glue of a shattered soul.

My jigsaw puzzle isn’t strong enough

For escape

For protection

For peace

I have no refuge from the memories stored in the darkest fortress

I have never known the sweetness of abandoned passion

And I never will

I will never know my original design,

Who I was meant to be is forever lost

I only know who I became


This is all because,

Because you,


Were broken first

I wander in circles, never finding the end,

Looking for everything that shattered after that first fall

So I can meld back together

And walk forward in a straight line


The broken shards of dignity

To see if I still


As my fragile,

Un – secure,



I wonder if you wander in circles of shame.

Did your broken shards shatter you


Was I your only victim

And you walk




Dear 14-year-old Karen

But, do you want to survive?My mind hasn’t been able to write due to recovering physically and emotionally from too many physical and life traumas.  I hopefully have only 2 weeks left in crutches and hoping I can now try to write and put it out into the world. Because if we share the mountains we climb, our path might become a survival guide for someone’s else’s mountain.

As part of a writing class, we were assigned to write a letter to our teenage selves in 15 minutes. Coincidentally, I had just been assigned a task by my therapist to envision my 14-year-old self as if she were a young friend. The thinking being, that if I see a tender 14-year-old girl who needs help, I might be gentler on myself. This works, BTW. However it’s a slow process to change a perspective of shame that has been held for a lifetime.

Here is my 15-minute assignment, and I wrote this in public…lots of snot and tears and no Kleenex. It was a mess. I chose not to share it with the group because no one needs to see a grown woman ugly cry.

Dear 14-year-old Karen,

Trust me. It’s imperative.

You will not feel awkward forever, well, you’ll eventually feel less-awkward.

You will meet and survive love, often.

It might help for you to know that a good man will love you for who you are, who you’ll become and will find your idiosyncrasies hilarious and lovable. Charming even.

Because if you know that, it would save you from:

Dating Bill.

Because if you skipped the whole Bill thing, then you would be confident enough to flirt with Stan instead of clinging to the boy who flirted first.

Which would then save you from: Dan, Arie, DOUG! And Brian, sadly, this list is too long to be interesting.

You probably wouldn’t sleep with any boy/man who noticed you just to feel worthy.

You wouldn’t bury what the creep has done to you so far in your life for the next 20-60 years. The creep wouldn’t then have the power to destroy your hope and confidence. You could feel meant to be, rather than the mistake you think you are.

Please pay most of your attention to what is interesting to you. It will keep you from being distracted by less important activities like; drinking under the bleachers at high school football games and staring into space for hours while life happens around you.

If you take chances, for exp: listen to your dad when he offers voice lessons, actually give it your all every day with dancing and the piano…your life will be so much easier than mine and those skills will get you further.

Surround yourself with those who are happy to see you. Take some pride in something. I don’t know if that’s possible given your parents, but please cement your belief that God loved you enough to call you His daughter.

Your interests are worthy of pursuit, more worthy than feeling like you are a waste of space and your only value lies in sex. You’ll accomplish so much more and make the world a better place to survive, than if you spend most of your time paralyzed by insecurity.

Please trust me. Please discover how to believe you are worthy.


It will save you so much pain.

Last thing, when you fall down the stairs in front of Robin Williams, laugh. It’s okay. He’ll never remember it and it becomes a great story.


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