AFTERSHOCKS by Rachel Thompson

When triggers sneak up on you, how do you find your way? My story.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

My beautiful man, strong, sexy, musky, masculine. I take him in, he holds me to him. I’m enveloped, lost in where I want to be.

Nothing amiss, nothing I could feel anyway. I know my way.

And then memory punches me with brutal force and I stop, I move, I float away.

“Baby?” he asks, and I barely hear him in the fog of the thick cloud surrounding me, memory drowning out his voice, no longer feeling his warm skin against mine.

He is my anchor, my protector, but even he cannot navigate his way over this jagged road. Not because he won’t try, because he will. Not because I won’t allow it, because I do.

It’s because I don’t know. I don’t see it yet…the flashes of terror, swerving tendrils passing my periphery, target practice, a near-miss, a direct hit. My body a tight ball of numbness. Neither of us knows how to recognize it. Like children in a foreign land, we instinctively huddle together to solve a problem we haven’t figured out yet.

I can’t find my way.

I retreat into sleep without letting him hold me. It kills him, but he gives me that. Tears in the morning, holding the messy shame of the forty-year-old memory right there in my open hand for him to see. Flesh and hair, genitals and lips — the human body much the same for us all; it’s only the experiences that change.

That change us.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

He holds me now as I cry, apologizes for not seeing, for not knowing. It’s okay — I didn’t know either. “It’s not your war to fight,” I say.

I get lost sometimes.

I’ve traveled this road for decades and I still don’t know how to go. I am a wanderer, traversing mountains of time. There is no fault, only fault lines that tremor and quake, barring me, no warning.

I tremble as I calm, breathing restored, realizing it will always be there, waiting in the shadows.

This battle I know.

I know my way.

Broken Places, Rachel Thompson

Connect with Rachel on her personal site at or on her business site at, Twitter at @RachelintheOC or@BadRedheadMedia, InstagramFacebook, and join her free weekly #SexAbuseChat on Twitter every Tuesday 6pm pst/9pm est or #BookMarketingChat on Twitter every Wednesday 6 pm pst/9 pm est (just use the hashtag to join).

Want an insider peek at her writing and other marketing projects? Join her street team!

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson released the BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge in December 2016 to rave reviews.

She is the author of the award-winning, best-selling Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Book Festivals), and the bestselling, multi award-winning Broken Pieces (as well as two additional humor books. Rachel’s work is also featured in several anthologies (see Books for details).

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostFeminine CollectiveIndie ReaderMediumOnMogulTransformation Is RealBlue Ink ReviewBook Machine, and several others. 

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live weekly Twitter chats, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST), and #BookMarketingChat, co-hosted with author assistant Emilie Rabitoy (Wednesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST).

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. A single mom, she lives in California with her two kids and two cats, where she daydreams of Thor and vaguely remembers what sleep is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.