Currently, I think more people have come to realize that trauma is not just a result of an external physical injury. Folks are becoming increasingly aware that a near-fatal car accident, for example, is not the only manner in which one experiences trauma. Psychological trauma is creeping toward acceptance.
Yet, even still we need to extend this acceptance beyond “normalized” trauma — car accidents and warfare, for example — and encompass the all devastatingly traumatic events, such as daily encounters with racism and/or sexism at covert and overt levels, child abuse, and sexual assault.
To validate that narrowmindedness of a single story is to invalidate the experiences of so many folks living and coping with trauma that doesn’t manifest as society expects (demands). We need to talk about different kinds of trauma more often. We need to make serious attempts in recognizing our own traumas so that we may be able to begin the lifelong process of resolving any trauma we may have inflicted upon others. We need to rethink how we view and define it, how it defines us.
I know it is likely trauma from my childhood that is one of the reasons I have difficulty sleeping. I fear my hometown due to traumatic events I have yet to work through. So many things, so many aspects of my life have been touched by trauma (my sex life, my relationship with men, how I navigate my body through society as a Black woman) and these conversations about how deeply affected we are by trauma, either from the past or something presently, are so necessary.
When we do that hard labor of deconstructing our trauma — its cause(s), its manifestation, its consequences, and at times, its benefits — it is a great act of self-care. If we do not know and acknowledge the pain we are in, how can we begin to heal?