By KAYLA RAMSAY
The following is an excerpt from Warrior Princess, a memoir outlining the effect of childhood trauma on present-day experiences. In this extract, our writer discovers that the success of her marriage has little to do with her husband, and everything to do with how she perceives him.
I’d forgotten how to listen. I’d forgotten the very reason I fell in love with him; the way he could watch a documentary, read a book, or hear a story – and recite it all back to me so perfectly that I could fall into his world, and feel safe and welcome. Because unlike the worlds I knew before, his were controlled. He was both the hero and the master of his adventures, and he could change the story as he pleased.
It was two months since the New Year, when he’d raised doubts about the future of our marriage. I hadn’t seen it coming. Since then, my whole world had come undone and I’d found myself lost, tangled and formless in the frayed strings of my former self, so tightly and wrongly woven around misconceptions of him, of me, of us.
We took a road trip that weekend, and he drove with his hand on my knee like a man afraid. He looked over at me with that combination of sadness and strength, knowing I was lost to myself, but not to him. Not yet.
As he drove I sat curled up on the seat beside him – and he began gently, gently calling me back with the sound of his voice again. With his stories. And soon my own voice was calmed and soothed, and the other voices quietened. As the hours passed, the walls of my mind strengthened their boundaries. The shuddering stopped, and clarity began to descend. He told me stories that at first, sounded just like a distant hum. Stories of machines, spy thrillers and science. And as I listened more, they became stories of spirit, heroism and strength.
And it was now that I could look in his eyes as though looking up through water. Seeing him, looking at me through the rippled glass and reaching his hand down.