Train Girl

by Marius Bakke — Wed 16 November 2022

Growing up in trauma can make it difficult to appreciate the sheer beauty of nature. Survivors like myself tend to hyper-fixate on any potential sign of trouble and completely miss the nice things in life.

We can also be afraid of making mistakes, to the point where we'll rather sacrifice our own well-being in the name of avoiding blame and shame.

Once I was on a nearly full train from Cardiff to Birmingham. I had a two-seater for myself, and across the aisle was a nice looking lady occupying another two-seater. We had some eye contact and there was clearly a mutual interest.

When a couple entered at an intermediate station, I scooped over to the pretty lady so they could sit together, and I could heed my natural instinct. She clearly did not mind as we greet and smile. I contemplated for a while how to start a conversation and then...promptly fell asleep.

I somehow woke up as the train pulled in to Birmingham station. She was clearly puzzled and probably disappointed by my sudden disinterest; and I was too embarassed to apologize. We both disembarked at Birmingham without exchanging a single word.

At a distance, I was keeping myself awake by romanticizing the idea of getting to know this woman, playing scenarios in my mind about how we could be soul mates and live happily ever after.

When I finally got the opportunity to talk, I got so obsessed with finding the "perfect words" that my body just shut down.

I now know that words don't matter. Intent and actions do. After all, the "train girl" memory is one of love, hope, joy and ultimately disappointment and embarassment, all without ever saying a single word.

Perhaps my biggest challenge now, as a recovering narcissist [abuse victim], is to make myself open and vulnerable. To put myself out there. Release decades of shame and fear and show up for myself every single day.

It takes time. But I will get there. This blog is a good place for me to practice exposing myself without fear of embarassment, which often cripples me in person.