35th Story of Transgresssion: I am a Misfit Because I am a Trauma Survivor

At 11 I had no idea how unusual my post-divorce/new-stepdad life would be. I believed my life was normal because it was all I knew. It was normal that Mom’s emotions and addictions ruled the world. Drug induced fights in the middle of the night were normal. Putting my mom to bed because she she was too high to walk safely was normal. It would be another 3 years of poverty and constant emotional pain before I would really start feeling like a misfit in the world. Another year and I would start looking like a misfit on purpose by claiming a hybrid of goth and punk aesthetic.

I recently read The Misfit’s Manifesto by Lidia Yuknavitch and I resonate strongly with her idea that misfits are often trauma survivors who don’t know how to relate to the normal world because we never experienced normal relating as children. This makes sense to me. I’ve been called feral for my naivety regarding social rules. I am forever awkward, quiet when shy, loud and “too honest” when comfortable, highly emotional, act like a fool for justice, and had to teach myself emotional regulation as an adult. I grew up in an emotional wildland where daily life was ruled by pain and avoidance of pain. I didn’t learn manners or woman things from my mom. Learning how to act like a normal human in the world was never in her lesson plan.

I have an ACES score of 7 for childhood trauma. Researchers are learning how repeated trauma predisposes us to health problems. It is really no wonder that I have Fibromyalgia, a condition that is about pain, when I am carrying my own pain, my mother’s unresolved pain, and the pain of past generations. And all this pain makes me a misfit now because I am disabled by it. Instead of having a life absorbed in work and family/community, I am first and foremost absorbed with managing my pain.

It doesn’t matter that I have done the hard work to be emotionally healthy and now have a thriving marriage. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have to work and can be kind to my body all day long. It took 38 years to create this body of pain, who knows how long it will take to heal?


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