Showing posts with label surviving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surviving. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Room

There is a part of my mind that is still in that room.  I can see it so clearly, two single beds, one by the window, one with its head against the wall.  Black out curtains on the window so no sunlight could sneak in.  As I remember it there wasn’t much else in there, no posters on the wall, maybe a dresser? I’m not sure.

But it's not just the room.

The bed, the shorts I was wearing (since shredded ceremonially), his face, his hands. His hands, where they had no right to be.  Where they had trespassed. My face turning to the side, looking away unable to stop it, unable to say no or to move his hand yet again.  And I remember how it felt, physically. I remember that my body first betrayed me, and then it hurt.  I remember feeling defeated.

The house is still there, the house where part of me died a slow death.  I try to not look at it but I can’t stop myself, every time we drive by.

But that room, that room has moved. That room has found a new home in my head.

And there is part of my heart and my mind locked in there, crying on the bed, wishing he would just get the fuck off of me.

Song of the day: Long way to happy by P!nk

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This week in rape culture…

I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to blog about this, I wasn’t going to tweet about it. But after seeing the attacks being made on someone I consider a friend who has chosen to take on Daniel Tosh and his defenders I need to say this.  If you haven’t heard, the comedian Daniel Tosh, in response to a woman who “heckled” him by telling him that rape is never funny, declared to the audience “Wouldn’t it be funny if she got gang raped by five guys right now?”  This after witnessing the horror that has been unleashed on Anita Sarkeesian because she had the nerve to even consider talking about sexist tropes in video games. But I digress.

In the ensuing online shit storm a bevy of men, many of them comics themselves, have rushed to his defence.  Because apparently heckling a comedian is the worst possible sin, deserving of any vile or threatening reaction the comic can spew forth.

So, to the point.

For every person defending anyone’s right to make rape jokes there is a woman who just locked another door. In her house, in her car, in her mind.

When I was fifteen at least half of my female friends had been raped or sexually assaulted.  One by her older brother when she was still a child, she worried that because of the assault she’d never have children.  One by a guy in an ally with a knife. One never told me the details, she just asked if that meant she wasn’t a virgin anymore.  Everyone in the school knew that a certain guy had raped a certain girl, when her boyfriend went after him the rapist stabbed him.

When I was in grade twelve a girl in my school was stalked, raped and murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

When I see these people defending the funniness of rape jokes I feel that much less safe in an already unsafe world.  I know that there are real people on the other end of the keyboard who, at the very least, I could not trust to defend my safety if I were openly threatened in a public setting.  More likely they would tell me that I was lucky that someone was paying me any attention at all.

I start wanting to lock doors in my heart and my mind that I have been trying oh so hard to crack open.  Part of me wants to never leave the house again.

I want to not feel nervous every time I hear a bunch of white guys laughing among themselves. I want to not fear for my safety just because I don’t want to give some guy my phone number. I want to remember what it’s like to not fear sex.  And right now, more than anything I want to wrap my arms around those women who literally put their safety on the line by directly challenging the terrifying onslaught of misogyny on Twitter and in the gaming world.

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?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It gets better, but is that the point?

Lately it feels like every day on Facebook there’s a new post about a queer (or presumed queer) teen killing themselves as a result of homophobic bullying. My reaction to this has not been the predictable shock or sadness. Not because I don’t care and not because this isn’t appalling and tragic. No, the reality is that there is nothing about this that surprises me. This is not new. Queer teens have always had a significantly higher rate of suicide. Queer teens have always faced merciless bullying. Even teens who are not queer face homophobic bullying if they are deemed somehow unacceptable by their peers. The only thing I see here that is new is that the media is actually talking about it.

In response to these tragic stories Dan Savage has started a YouTube campaign aimed at giving queer teens some hope. Hundreds of people have posted videos to the “It Gets Better” campaign including the likes of Ann Hathaway and Kathy Griffin. I admire the intent behind this and I believe that it will provide some glimmer of light for some teens but I guess I’m also a little cynical. I imagine myself at 15 struggling to muddle on through the fog of my depression and I know what I would have been thinking watching all these videos telling me it would get better. I would have thought, “You don’t know me, you don’t know my life. Just because it got better for you that has nothing to do with me.”

And this is really what it comes down to. What is the line that divides the bullied kids who do try or succeed at killing themselves from those who don’t? The most likely answer is that those who take their own lives are suffering from depression. And the mind under the influence of depression has its own dark logic. Man, when I was in a depression I could ‘reason’ away anyone’s message of hope or sound advice. If someone said, “You’re a wonderful person, so intelligent and compassionate” I would just tell myself that they didn’t really know me and I wasn’t who they thought I was. If someone said, “I promise it will get better, this is just high school” I would just tell myself that it was a meaningless platitude and they didn’t understand just how bad it was. But beyond all of that there is the simple fact that at that moment when you’re standing on the edge of that cliff, it doesn’t matter if it will be better in five or even two years. What matters is that it’s unbearable right now and you can’t imagine how to live with this pain until that magic grown-up time when “it get’s better.”

When I tried to kill myself it wasn’t when I was in the thick of being bullied. It wasn’t when I couldn’t bear to face another day of school. No, when I reached my breaking point with the bullying I talked to my parents and we found a way for me to move away and go to another school. The suicide attempt came several months after I’d escaped that hellhole. It came when I realized that while I’d left the circumstances behind, all of the incumbent misery was still right there with me. The bullies may have been removed but the depression remained. When I realized that leaving the bullies behind was not enough, that was when I truly despaired.

So yes, give your message of hope. But lets talk about what’s really killing these kids. Homophobia and bullying are the circumstances that absolutely need to be changed but if you don’t address the depression in a way that’s more meaningful than simply pulling out a prescription pad, those kids who are at most risk will remain at risk.

I don’t have any answers, at least none that don’t require some massive cultural and policy shifts. All I can say is that the one and only thing that stopped me from trying again was that after my first attempt I finally understood what it would do to my friends and family.

To my mother, my sister and everyone else who was there for me, I am deeply sorry. And for all of your love and acceptance, thank you.