The Thaw

I am thawing.
I will soon be liquid.
But, for now I crack
with violent snaps,
and in contrast
I serenely drip, drip,
ripples expanding into
relaxation.

I am thawing.
I will soon be liquid.
But for now I exist
in two separate forms,
one hard and unbending,
cold and unfeeling.
The other is calm,
laughing in movement,
penetrable in stillness
and I am alive in both.

I am thawing,
and I'll soon be useful again. . . .

Having spent the last few years working with the homeless I have encountered all sorts of people who are running from, hiding from, trying to heal from, or fighting against all sorts of traumas. Because of this I have come to view trauma as something that freezes people: It can make people hard and unfeeling, can paralyse people's development so they cannot grow and it can chill people with sorrow that doesn't fade. 

The process of recovery from a trauma is difficult because there are ups where progress and healing can be felt and seen, but there are also downs, where a person feels like they are regressing or going through the trauma all over again. What it is hard to remember in the midst of growth and recovery is that these seemingly negative parts are as much a part of the recovery as the positive times. It takes a long time for a person to thaw, and to 'crack with violent snaps' is as much a part of the thawing process as to 'serenely drip, drip, ripples expanding to relaxation.'

This poem was written in May 2015, for both those who are recovering from trauma, and for those who put themselves in trauma's path in order to help others. It is written to encourage patience, and to remind us to be kind to ourselves, allowing ourselves time to recover. 

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