The sight of fresh, red blood as it dripped down my sister’s arm from her freshly picked scabs made me nauseous. It was as if her blood triggered a past, traumatic experience that I had blocked from my memory.
I began to feel dizzy and could feel my strength and soul escape from me as I fell to the floor. I could feel myself floating above my body in a haze, unaware of what just happened or what was going on around me.
I was sucked back into reality – back into my body, as I heard my sister frantically yell, “Wake up!” and could feel her shaking me.
I had escaped reality for a moment because my soul could not tolerate dealing with the past – a past I have yet to understand.
Sometimes I think I was born with the burden of sadness passed on genetically through all my female ancestors who suffered in the past – women who cried tears of blood because they were in so much pain that their insides were disintegrating.
I have not suffered half as much as my mother, grandmothers or great grandmothers but sometimes, this overwhelming sadness takes over me as if a traumatized soul possessed me. I’m often left wondering what could possibly be so wrong in my life if I have everything I could possibly need to be happy.
It wasn’t until a random stranger commented on a photo of mine, which apparently gave off a very strong, sad aura that I began to wonder about the source of my sadness.
It seems the past has a lot to do with my present and I’m beginning to weave all the pieces of my family’s history together. I’m beginning to understand the complexity of suffering and how one’s pain is indirectly passed on to the next generation.
There’s something in me that is driven to discover this past of sadness and tell the stories of my suffering ancestors because it is in sadness that I find strength.
(Painting by Wendy van der Drift)