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Open the Book

It’s all real. And, sometimes, just that realness feels enough.

blue abstract artwork with collage elements and acrylic paint by Nicole Sylvia Javorsky

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

Can I tell you the truth?

Well, aren’t we always asking that, thinking that, mulling over that, that, that?

Can I tell you how I really feel?

Would you understand?

Would you believe me?

Would you care?

There’s a lot that I don’t know how to say, but I want to try. There’s a lot that I don’t understand, and I just feel like I’m swirling, swirling, swirling in uncertainty.

And the uncertainty is real. I can’t just explain it away, can I?

There’s a lot I can’t explain away …

I thought I was done with uncovering memories. I don’t know — maybe somewhere inside of me I thought that would mean the flashbacks would be over forever, that I’d never have to deal with another nightmare, or struggle to fall asleep, or feel startled and full of terror again. I think I’m accepting, once again, a little deeper, that I can feel better than before and still struggle, still need to cry, still need to grieve, and still be making progress, all true at once.

And there’s that little kid inside of me flailing around, screaming, I don’t want to! I don’t want to!

And there’s that little kid inside of me staring off into a space that’s really a question that I couldn’t put into words: Why do I have to be an adult while the adults around me get to be children? How come I don’t get to be a kid? How come I don’t get comfort? How come I’m alone dealing with all this that I don’t understand, all this that I’ll never, ever understand?

There’s a part of me that doesn't even want to write these words that I’m writing anyway because that part is tired of making meaning. That part of me is so tired of being strong. That part of me is so tired of aching and feeling and working so hard just to breathe.

I titled the artwork at the top of this post, “Open the book, just know, you can't unsee, but please see, look, open up anyway.”

Remembering is complicated. Being here now in 2023 finally getting in touch with what I pushed down, so far, so far down, is really complicated. It hurts like hell and it feels like forever ago and like it just happened at the same time. And, can I tell you the truth? I don’t know what to do with these memories.

It made me feel a sense of empowerment and a release from shame to share about the things I’ve survived. But right now, I don’t know if I could ever tell anybody beyond the few people I’ve told. I feel so many things at once. I don’t know how someone so close to me could do what he did. It feels shocking and numbing and horrifying and strange, and I think part of me just doesn’t want to let this truth sink in.

Part of me is angry, hollering, I thought we were done with remembering, I thought we were done with remembering!

I stop, let my fingers slowly trace over those fuzzy flowers sprouting from the edge of the sidewalk. I stop, look at the sky, so big and blue and boundless. I stop, watch the leaves dance in the wind, think how it almost looks like they’re not moving and sparkling instead. And in those moments, I know. I know.

My husband holds me as I cry, and I know. I know. I laugh as he scoops up our old-man-baby (cat) and I boop Milo’s sweet little nose. And I know. I know.

I know …

  • why I’m here

  • joy

  • peace

  • love

  • contentment

  • why I’m healing

  • why I’m crying

  • why I’m letting myself heal

  • why I’m allowing myself to remember, and why now

So, yeah, all of this truth co-existing. I open the book, let myself see what I can’t un-see, let myself hold the uncertainty I can’t grasp, and I just let it all be here with me. And sometimes, it feels excruciating. And sometimes, it feels pretty good. And sometimes, it feels meaningful. And sometimes, it feels hollow. And sometimes, it feels like the open blue above. And sometimes, it feels like endless dirt covering every glass window, every portal, everything! And, it’s all real. And, sometimes, just that realness feels enough.

Traveling between peace and pain,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


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