i dont know why it has taken me so long to write this. why, when things are a mediocre level of anxious and gross, all these words come pouring out, but with things are fresh and new and down right putrid there’s just a… silence. a deafening silence.
i’ve been to therapy a few times for it now.. would have actually been to more, but my therapist was away. i havent been to the doctor yet. i dont know why. i scheduled the the sti tests, though.
you never think you’re going to be this person. and i dont even mean ‘the person who gets raped’. i mean, ‘the person who gets raped and then buries it so far down she doesnt even go to the doctor; who loses the ability to do what is best for her in the face of the shame and the judgment not coming from society but from herself’.
here’s the thing. i talk. i talk for a living. i talk about all of these facts about myself; all of these supposedly personal, horrific things i deal with. that i go through. that have happened to me. i stamp myself, i label myself i say fuck you to stigma in most ways in my life. and right now, in this very cold, clinical capacity, where i go to organizations and admit my facts, and line them up next to my unbelievably long list of accomplishments (socially acceptable facts), i admit that these things co-exist.. my facts help.
but for all the facts and all the words and all the labels, i have no emotions. its what makes me a fantastic public speaker. because i have these facts, these true, concrete, personal, horrific things. they are mine. and i can share them. i can share them without flinching, i can talk about the blood without crying. i can outline how exactly i clean the shower with qtips for three hours. i can put a face to these symptoms. but i cant put an emotion to any of it.
i was raped 4 days before my thesis was due. 32 days ago. brandon came and got me in a cab. i came home and all i said was i lost my jacket.
i lost my jacket and i needed that.
then i slept through my hang over… got up, and met angie at a restaurant to write.
i spent 24 hours writing my methods section. and then on tuesday, things stopped. they just stopped. i woke up tuesday morning and i couldnt move i was so paralyzed with panic. it took hours for me to recognize that it was panic. i called angie, bawling. i sat blankly, numbed to the world with brandon. i dont remember entire days. i got lost walking in a straight line from my apartment to spring garden. i couldnt focus on the letters on menus to read them. i told people i was just doped up on anxiety meds, but i just wasnt home. i wasnt there. there were no thoughts. there wasnt anything. my mind left, so my body could function.
it took 2 weeks for me to realize it wasnt anxiety about my thesis. i truly thought i was just failing at being an academic; that writing was just too stressful for now and i couldnt do it. full stop.
it took 3 weeks for me to accept the fact that maybe, possibly, i should be blaming the guy who took me home from a bar when i was too drunk to stand, when he was so very clearly sober, that even if i wasnt hitting and screaming, that me just trying to leave, that me not being able to maintain consciousness, that that could make this partially his fault.
im still working on the this is his fault part.
i made some stupid decisions. i did some stupid things and this is what happened.
thats my fact.
i dont know where the emotions are going. i know that when i stuff them down i am perfectly functional, that im making it through work just fine and what not. but they swell and i dont feel them. i just.. react. i just cry and panic and have to call people in other countries to keep me from slitting my wrists, but i dont feel upset. i just feel eerily calm while theres a bomb exploding in my chest.
i dont want to die. i really dont. things have been getting better. i dont even feel particularly sad. i think i maybe feel helpless, and i feel a lot of guilt and shame? but i dont feel sad. i dont feel pity. i dont even feel angry. i feel disappointing and stupid. but i cant.. i dont know how the experience feels. i cant connect the dots. i only have my facts.
he wasnt mean. he didnt hold me down or drag me places. i went, but i was drunk. i went, but i thought i was going home. i went, but i could tell he had a girlfriend when i got there. i went, but i wanted to go home. i told him i wanted to go home. i got my friends to come get me. he knew they were coming. he knew and he said ‘theyre coming right now?’ and got naked. he knew and i couldnt stay conscious. he knew and there were condoms on the floor. he knew and he did it anyway.
and then brandon got there and i came back to consciousness with my phone buzzing and i pulled up my pants and searched for my phone. i didnt feel anything but confused. i remember then, regretting things, wishing they hadnt happened but i didnt feel like much. i just found my phone.. and when i couldnt i used his phone to call mine. i remember that. he gave me his phone to call mine, so he wasnt forcing me to stay.. he was clearly aggravated but weirdly gentle. maybe only because he knew hed be caught then.. that people knew where i was… i dont know. but i do remember saying ‘you have my number now’ and smirking. he probably thought that made it ok. it didnt. it made it ok for me somehow. like it mattered. like i could make it better by pretending.
even when i was drunk.
then i went outside to brandon, and other brandon was there and i just put it away. i put it away in the box of shame and tried to live the rest of my life. because thats what i do.
horrible things happen, and then you put them away. and then you keep living life. no one has time for struggle. let go of your anger. forgive and forget. consider the other persons perspective. people make mistakes. everyone is a good person in shitty circumstances.
these are words other people have to say to themselves to keep themselves from hating the world. and i get that. but thats not what they are to me. i think because things happened when i was so young, with people who mattered so much, who would be with me forever, this became my only approach to survival. yes, these people did these things, but you know why. he has a mental illness, and they dont know how to cope. they are trying and they love us. they are trying, and this is what needs to happen. this is the only option so it must happen and they say it needs to happen so i just need to do it and he’s not ok so i need to forgive him and i need to know how to understand his actions and i need to adapt because he is not ok, but he loves me and they love me and cant i see that i just need to learn how to cope with this awful. because the awful has a reason. because there is an excuse. because its family. because he loves me, so he isnt really awful, and i need to grow up and understand. but im like 6.
and now i do understand. i see. i see people with all of their good and bad parts and i so thoroughly believe in the good of others. i so thoroughly believe everyone is trying their best and that you cant blame people for falling sometimes. and its a problem. its a glaring, huge problem. because sometimes people are trying and it doesnt matter. sometimes peoples actions are horrible. and maybe they will go on to be great wonderful people for someone else, but i need to leave. i need to recognize that the situation is harmful for me. i need to value myself and my well being as much as i value everyone elses. because i can now. because im an adult now.
bryce is an abusive asshole. he yells at me. he yells at me for things i dont understand, for things i dont know im doing, and he swears. and he calls me names and he orders me around and demands i dont ‘dismiss’ him when i tell him to calm down. if he were here he’d have beat the shit out of me long ago. and ive always recognized that. i always have. but ive always felt like it didnt count because he also had this good side. that he was around sometimes when i needed him, or that he said some nice things too. that sometimes im hard to live with too. that he loved me so it was ok. its not ok. how on earth am i letting this be ok?
i am such a fighter. i am strong and vocal and i stand up for what is right on behalf of other people, and on an instituonal level, on behalf of myself. and yet in my life i have all these things. all these people, that are broken and are breaking me. and im letting them because i feel i have an obligation to them for having ever been good to me. like accepting goodness is a contract for allowing them to inflict pain.
like the fact that some guy was someone elses good person means that he couldnt be my rapist.
and the problem with this, more than anything else, is not that i get hurt. i can handle hurt. i dont really have much experience without hurt. its not that. its the blame. i take all the blame. everything is my fault, because you cannot blame other people when they are trying. when they are trying you need to suck it up, and when you cant then it is your fault. because they are doing their best and the fact that you cant be satisfied with someones best is your flaw. its my fault. if i were a better person, i could do this. if i were a better person i could handle this. if i were a better person this wouldnt have happened because i wouldnt be so weak as to let it bother me, because they are having a struggle and they made a poor choice. but it was just one choice. just one. and theyve made so many good ones. and this one choice cant count. and if i had been better, if i had been stronger, if i was a worthwhile human, these things would never have happened. so the fact the bryce yells and the fact that living with jeff was traumatic and the fact that some guy raped me because i got too drunk on my birthday, thats my fault. those are my facts. those are my failures. those are my faults.
i am disassociating. i can have no feelings because feelings make me weaker. they are my faults. if i were stronger, then i wouldnt have had these feelings, so they go in the box. and the box goes way down deep inside, and we all just pretend it isnt there. because i need to grow up and see the bigger picture.
how fucked up is that?
i’ve lived this way my whole life. my whole life i thought i was failing and that no one else had these feelings. my whole life. like i always thought the phrase ‘everyones got a dark side’ meant ‘and everyone’s evil and awful and will harm you some of the time.’ thats not what that means! 27 years! thats not what that means! and just this year when i am finally getting somewhere, finally unraveling, had my first real time emotional experience about something. just one. one real actual normal emotional experience.
and then i get raped.
i guess its a challenge. i guess it will force me to do this. i guess it will make me really, truly dig into all these things that i have been avoiding for over 20 years. i guess it marks the end of this. of all of this. im never going to say it was a good thing, but if i can get through this. if i can do this. if i can pull out all my pieces and rearrange them into a healthier person, then maybe its going to be worth it. its just another trauma. its not like its the first. its just a log on the fire. i can be the water. i have capacity. i am a person. i have an active role in this. i can chose. i can be. i can do more than get through things. i can live a life that is more than a series of trials and failures. i can be great. or i can at least be happy. i can be the water.