30 June 2009
Traumatized by Twilight
***SPOILER WARNING*** If you have not read all four books of the Twilight Saga and intend to do so, you may not want to read this post.
I know my family has noticed that I've been acting strangely, but I haven't been able to bring myself to talk about it out loud just yet.
Reading about the relationship between Edward and Bella brought back memories that I had thought were long suppressed. Edward bears a striking resemblance to my first true love, *A*. At first, I only noticed the similarity in passing. But then, Edward used the same pet name for Bella that *A* used for me. Love. I was temporarily dumbstruck when I read it. Maybe it's because I don't read romance novels or something, but I don't recall ever reading this particular pet name before, even though it must be somewhat common. I almost couldn't continue reading. But only for a second. I mentally shook myself, called myself silly and pathetic and continued.
But the similarities just kept coming. Comparisons with Romeo and Juliet. Telling her he was no good for her, dangerous even. The over-protectiveness. And then he left her 'for her own good' and she sought solace with someone else. Later, a joyful reunion and an heirloom engagement ring. All of these things happened to me.
I know there must be scads of women out there who have had somewhat similar experiences in their lives. I don't see myself as special in that regard. It's not really the stories themselves that were traumatizing. It was that reading the books brought my old (17 plus years ago) memories back to the surface. But even that I probably could have dealt with. The memories may have resurfaced, but they were still blurry. Tempered by time. I spent spare moments marveling at my experiences back then. Many were unusual, which tied in nicely with the unusual nature of Edward and Bella.
But then my daughter asked me some questions about *A*. Simple questions really. Easy enough to answer. What was he like. How did we meet up again. But she was intensely curious. She's heard bits and pieces of this story over the years. After all, she's the product of the 'solace-bringer.' And he wasn't as understanding or as desirable an alternative as Jacob. She confessed that she'd always been secretly obsessed with the story. She seemed eager to hear more, wanted to see letters and keepsakes, though she said she would wait until I was ready to share.
Unable to help myself, two days later I pulled the box down from the closet. I read the letters, the calendar entries. Looked at the few photographs and the jewelry. And then I absolutely broke down. Luckily I was alone. You see, my story ended in tragedy rather than happily ever after. Now, don't get me wrong, I am incredibly happily married and have a wonderful family and my happily ever after now, but before that could happen, I had to live through hell. Because *A*, my first love, did not survive. After knowing each other for six years, he was gone a mere two weeks after I got that heirloom ring.
Looking through everything was possibly the worst thing I could have done. It's like the wound that had healed over with time was ripped open again. I've found myself absolutely raw with grief. Which has made it a tad bit hard to go about daily life. It's only been a couple of days, and I know it will get better. I'm just shocked at the depth of emotion that welled up out of me after all this time.
A positive that has come from this is that I've been able to recognize fully now the forces that have made me who I am today. I would not be who I am, nor would I have the interests I do, or feel so confident about my life's work if I did not live though all of it. The glorious AND the tragic.