I have a clearer idea of what’s making it all so difficult just now. I mean other than the general idea that my childhood was a house of horrors.

Everything I am doing to soothe the separation anxiety and the grief is intensifying the shock. The shock is not just from her death, but from that whole corner of my life.

My dad was trafficking me. That’s shocking enough. He loaned me out to someone else to traffic: He outsourced his pimping to the mob.

I know this, but I have been dissociating the shock and the horror of that in order to address other emotions. But the dissociative wall is coming down. The shock is starting to leak in. And shock is hard. I am better with other emotions now. I know how to soothe them. I still don’t have worked out how to manage shock.

At home, I try to get warm. Not figuratively, in this case, but literally. I huddle under blankets. I make a hot water bottle. It helps. When the shock pops up outside, I have no idea what to do. And everything that soothes other emotions triggers the shock more.

So that’s the problem. I don’t have a solution, but I’ve gotten as far as identifying the problem. I suppose that’s a start.

I have improvised a ring. There is one sort of in process, but I don’t expect to see it for a month, and I had been wearing an elastic hair band on that finger sometimes, but it looks pretty stupid to wear it all the time. I was taking off the hair band, and it felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. And it seemed the idea that there was not any great urgency to the ring might be nonsense. I might need to have it yesterday. Or even last week. Or last year.

Coincidentally, Ruthie started to want her cross. There is a stuffed elephant on the way, but that’s also going to take a month to reach here, and there is a new cross on the way too, but that’s a month away too. Plus, it looks like Nata’s cross; it doesn’t look like mine. And Ruthie wants her own things.

So I began to try to think creatively, and I began to remember the swastika I made out of copper wire in 9th grade. I didn’t know why I made it—I was thinking about Hinduism and not white power—but it was still one of those things that I did out of a feeling I couldn’t quite grasp. In a 2×2 household, you aren’t supposed to wear jewelry at all. You definitely aren’t supposed to wear a cross, because that’s like idol worship. If my parents had seen me wearing a cross, it would have started WWIII. On top of that, I had so many confused feelings about Christianity that my head would probably have exploded. A swastika feels a little like a cross and isn’t. It was a compromise position.

Anyway, I have wire in the house. They don’t use curtain rods here to hang curtains. The curtains are hung from wires, and I brought two curtain wires from the capitol, but there were wires for curtains already in the house.

It suddenly occurred to me to use them. I was going to make the cross, but the bit that broke off first was sort of ring-sized. I thought I’d try that first.

When I put it on, it felt like I was a person again, as though I had been raised from the dead. But, of course, there was the shock of it too. The shock of knowing for the first time why that sensation of a ring on my finger was important.

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