The Fourth of July was one of those holidays I liked when I was young, as most American children do I suppose. As a child, the summer holiday meant cook-outs, family gatherings (which, growing up in Maryland meant ‘crab-feast’), and fireworks, of course. I was given the full course of propaganda growing up, and for most of my elementary school education drank the ‘ain’t we great’ kool-aid. It wasn’t about until I entered middle school that l began to see more of the real world, but the enjoyment of the celebration itself remained. I enjoyed going through the ritual of seeing the live fireworks displays, and later shared that experience with my children. We would go to see the yearly displays wherever we lived at the time, and on one occasion got to see them out in the desert on what was perhaps their most enjoyable childhood vacation.
The holiday took on another aspect when I met Kali, who happened to have that day as her birthday. The celebration was a birthday celebration for both, and for those years it was almost always a joyful event. The fireworks would be the close of a full day of birthday shenanigans or other joyous activity, and were perhaps some of the best holidays since my childhood.
This all changed when I met Michelle. Every holiday, every otherwise joyful occasion, takes on a different tone in a narcissistic relationship, as does almost every other aspect of life. During that time, the holiday changed into a day of loss and longing. During this time and to the present, I have missed more of the celebrations than I have attended, and it has come to represent the darkest times and moments of a relationship that almost ended my life, and will continue to affect me on a physical level for the remainder of my days. Since meeting the now-ex, events in my life began to form a pattern, a cycle of crisis that repeats every number of years. I’ve noticed some OCD tendencies in myself, enough to where such patterns stand out, and this is one of those periods. Instead of going out to see the fireworks or going to see family, I’ll be packing in preparation to move. I don’t see this as a crisis in this case, however, but as a natural event in the process of healing, which can be a long and difficult process for survivors of abuse. It is difficult, to be sure, as like in other similar times the timing is in conjunction with other pressing matters simultaneously, but without the emotional drain and other negative factors involved with a narcissist in the picture, I can face it with a much different perspective. So, instead of it being negative, it has now become a period of intense forward mobility. A lot is going to happen over the course of this summer, including the completion of the longest, strangest thing I’ve ever written, and once done, there will be nowhere to go but up.
And maybe next year, I’ll have a reason to go see the fireworks.