Showing posts with label recovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recovery. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I never called it rape...

*Trigger Warning*

I’ve been thinking a lot about rape lately.  It seems like I can’t go online without someone somewhere talking about rape.  Even though I know it puts me at risk of being triggered I can’t seem to stop myself from looking.  It shouldn’t surprise me really.  When I was a teen trying to come to terms with my own assault I collected articles and research on sexual assault in a big fat folder.  My best way of dealing at that time was to understand the big picture and make it political.  My big project for OAC (grade 13) drama was a play about a girl getting raped by her best friend and killing herself.  In retrospect the two predominant themes in my adolescence were sexual assault and suicide.

And yet, with all the of the processing I’ve tried to do over the last twenty three years I am still unearthing new and surprising aspects of my own trauma, and today is no different.  Over the last two decades I have called what happened to me sexual assault or sexual coercion. I have said he did something I didn’t want him to do. I have told myself that what happened to me was bad and it messed me up but women who’d been raped had it worse.

And then I was reading the comments on this post and I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.

Because rape is not only non-consensual intercourse, it is non-consensual sexual intrusion.  That means that if the perpetrator puts anything inside of you against your will it is rape.  I knew this.  I’ve always known this but I didn’t somehow take the next logical leap.

I wrote a post a few years ago and published it on someone else’s blog.  In it I wrote about not only my sexual trauma but about the physiological anomalies that have complicated my relationship with my sexuality in oh so many ways.  In short I had what is called an imperforate hymen.  I couldn’t get a pelvic exam, I couldn’t wear a tampon, and there was no way in hell anyone’s fingers could have gotten past that particular barrier.

I guess that’s why it hurt so much when he tried.

Immediately after he finished I said to him , “You said you’d never finger me” and he said, “I didn’t.” And I guess in his mind he didn’t, because my body wouldn’t let him in.

But in reality he tried, he really tried. And the question I’m forced to ask myself is this: Is it any less rape because my physiology kept him from “going the distance”?

Between the nature of the assault and my own physiological weirdness I have been invalidating myself for more than twenty years.  I have told myself that my trauma was lesser than that of rape victims.  Despite all the evidence of what it did to me I have been gas-lighting myself, feeling like I was crazy, like I was blowing it out of proportion, that I didn’t know what it was like to be raped, I “only” knew the pain of a lesser sexual assault.

But today I finally understand.  I get it.  Because what happened to me was indisputably rape.

And I don’t know how to incorporate that into my understanding.

It makes me angry, it makes me sad, and it makes sense of so many things.

But please, let there be no more surprises.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sigh. Here we go again.

So the ugly beast rears its head again.
I am so tired of this
This being crazy
This being broken
This roller coaster ride that is my mental health.

I spoke to a friend about my insecurities when I hear other mothers talking about how tired they are after they run off a list of the fifty things they did that day.
I told her that when I hear this I think, “How did you do all of that? I barely clean and I’m still exhausted.”
The reality is that with every day I am doing the invisible work.
Not the invisible work of motherhood or marriage but the invisible work of being and staying okay.
The invisible work of holding myself together.

We talk a lot about the importance of being true to yourself and forging your own path. We talk about the value of the outliers and those who see the world differently.
We talk about not caring about social expectations or conventional norms.

What we fail to talk about is that just because you are different, just because you follow your own path, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard as hell.

I don’t want to be anyone else.
I don’t want to fit in.
But I do want to have somewhere that I feel I belong.
I try to imagine what it must feel like to not feel so profoundly set a part from those around me.

I want to know what it feels like to not feel profoundly, inexorably broken.

I want to know what it feels like to not have lost a parent.
I want to know what it feels like to have a clear and well-defined path.
I want to know what it feels like to have a cohesive extended family.
I want to know what it feels like to assume that things will work out.
I want to know what it feels like to have a consistent group of long time friends.
I want to know what it feels like to feel comfortable in social situations.
I want to know what it feels like to not always be wondering if I should expose this or that part of my life and my history.

And sometimes, when things get bad I want to know what it feels like to drink myself into oblivion.
Sometimes I want to know what it feels like to make the pain real with a razor.
Sometimes I want to know what it feels like to smash everything in sight.

For whatever reason, something stops me. I can’t bring myself to cross these lines.
I know that I have to find a way to push through.
And then sometimes I feel trapped.
I feel trapped by the knowledge that not living isn’t an option.

And so, I’m tired. Tired to the marrow of doing what I need to do to be okay.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Digital spelunking

I just found this poem while spelunking around on my hard drive.  I wrote this in January of 2006 after I'd gained back all the weight I lost on weight watchers and starting trying to make sense of my compulsive eating.  I don't know if it's any good as a poem but it definitely says what I needed it to say.

This far into my journey I feel like I should be further along.
Recovered, not recovering.
Which begs the question, what am I recovering from now?
Depression? Sexual abuse? Bullying? Bereavement? Abandonment?
When do I get to be who I am instead of what I’m surviving?
Why do I eat.
I eat because I’m scared that the food won’t last
Somehow, inexplicably, it will disappear so I must eat all I can now.
I eat because food is my friend, it keeps me company when I’m alone,
it keeps me occupied when I’m bored,
it fends off the memories and the fear
it loves me unconditionally
it doesn’t care that I don’t belong
I’m still trying to prove to myself that there is some place in this world for me.
But so far I’m not very convincing
Maybe being big is a way to force the world to make room for me.
When I’m small I fit comfortably between passengers on the subway
and I can buy clothes anywhere I choose
but somehow fitting makes me unfit
this fitting in is not comfortable
On one hand I agonize over finding some space to belong,
on the other hand I know that I wasn’t born to fit
I was made to be the wrench in the works
It used to be that my presence, my very existence made those around me uncomfortable.
Now the person who’s uncomfortable is me.
When I’m big I’m unattractive and intimidating
When I’m small I’m weak and inauthentic
How will I find the balance between power and beauty?
How will I stop looking for salvation in a smaller dress size and a bar of chocolate?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crying jags, a "strong" woman's best friend

I am supposed to be together.  I am supposed to be strong.  I am supposed to have overcome my struggles and beaten depression.  Most of the time I feel like this is true.  But every once in awhile I get kicked in the gut by by those gut wrenching tears in the middle of the night.  You either know what I mean or you have no idea what I'm talking about.  I can have a dozen  people who would be there for me in a heartbeat but it's almost 2 in the morning and we're not teenagers anymore.  Calling people in the middle of the night just doesn't apply anymore.  I have a partner soundly sleeping upstairs who would want me to wake him up and let him hold me, but I don't want him to know that I'm not okay.

I feel like I've taken the people who love me around this little theme park one too many times.  If I talk to someone about it then I have to admit to what I'm feeling and thinking.  I know that there is nothing new about these doubts and fears.  They've heard it all before.  And I'm supposed to be okay now.  I'm supposed to be better and stronger and free of self-doubt.  And yes, I know how ridiculous it all sounds.  I know that I would feel better if I could talk about it, but I just feel so damn stupid.  I feel like I should know better and that no one who's been there for me over the years should have to listen to anymore of it.  They've done their time.

Ninety five percent of the time I feel fine.  Fuck, I spend a significant amount of time thinking about all the things for which I'm grateful.  But at two in the morning when everyone else is sleeping and all the lonely feelings and niggling self-doubts start to bubble to the surface I may as well be thirteen again for all the tears and sobs and hyperventilating.  So I curl up on the couch with my go-to sad songs and curl up into myself.  And I know that the only way to get through this, short of crying myself to sleep, is to get out of my head.  And since there's nobody to talk to at this ungodly hour, I write.  And since I know that I can't just keep it all to myself, I blog.  Because if this blog is about honestly putting myself out there then this is it.  Because depression isn't just something you go through, get better and leave behind.

Before I went on antidepressants I knew that, even when I wasn't in a depression, it would inevitably return with little warning to suck the life out of me for another year or two.  Now that I'm medicated it hits me on the occasional lonely night.  If it's really bad it sticks around as a low level numbness for a few days.  But even when I know that the feelings are temporary they are so real and so intense that I just get swept away on the tide for a few hours until I finally come back to the surface.  And I don't really want anyone to know.  And that's not okay.  Because once you start hiding it, whatever it is, you're already losing the battle and letting it control you.  So for now I blog and in the morning I'll tell H.  And just for good measure I'll make sure to get a great big hug from the girl.  Because God knows that's all the love I need.