Triggered | Teen Ink


December 23, 2016
By megan_lynne GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
megan_lynne GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story."

There is a freshman boy on the bus
who speaks loudly enough that
even the highest setting on my headphones cannot drown out his voice.
He laughs crudely and shouts
“Triggered!” in response to his friend.

I am small again, a girl
slanted under the sun, walking home
dripping blood from the
crack between my legs. Triggered.

I am September, again,
when someone touches the scar
on the left side of my scalp and I
cry in the guidance counselor’s office because I screamed and screamed and begged
my boyfriend, one year ago,
not to hurt me. The fingers running against the slit are
triggers and again I am fifteen,
a soccer trophy slammed into my skull,
wondering whether my parents will find my body.

The sapphire blue of a satin Prom dress,
staring at me from across the store:
I’m almost seventeen, alone,
locked into the Macy’s dressing room
swaddled in crumpled up dresses, crying into couture.
I am obsessively checking Instagram and wondering,
“If my best friends will sit with my rapist at Prom,
raise a glass with him, drink my lifeblood, crack my breastbone,
why should anyone else believe me?”

The corsage: my body. The slow dance: my blood.

This dress that reeks of memories and a night I never
had: trigger.

And I am the morning after,
with the stories buzzing in my ears,
a hollow smile. My insides are scooped
clean, shiny pink and pearl. I am eating pancakes,
and swallowing around the triggers.

I am driving carefree one moment,
before Kanye West begins bleeding from the speakers.
It is October again. I am
saying goodbye a hundred times,
relearning how to accept silence in the places where
there used to be, “I love you too.”
Soft hands ghost over mine,
a brush of nostalgic lips on my cheek,
the taste of Cherry Garcia ice cream.

He says, “I do not think we will be seeing each other for a very long time, my friend.”
My lost lover. My last hope.
I mark him down, the end of the journey:
from my best friend’s boyfriend, to my friend, to my boyfriend, to


On that bus, while a freshman boy smirked around his silly joke,
the way he mocks my trauma,
I am not singular. I am all parts of myself, each diaphanous moment,
the symphony of brutality, the sickening knife of

I become a bruise. I taste my trigger.
I choke around my trauma and taste the blood.

The author's comments:

In response to people who use 'triggered' as a meme or insult to people who are upset: you are mocking trauma victims. 

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