Hello my darling readers. I’m not really sure what I want to write about tonight so I think I’m going to stream of consciousness this one and hope it’s worth publishing.
I am not doing well, my darlings. If you read my previous blog entry then you know that something pretty terrible happened to me. There is no dancing around it now, so I’ll just come out and say it, I was sexually assaulted and raped (per the definition of MN law) by someone a little less than three weeks ago. I cannot put into words just how devastating this experience has been for me, not only because of the horror of the actual experience but because of the rammifications it has had on my trauma work. As I’ve written about once before I was sexually abused as a child for years on end by a childhood babysitter and those experiences forever changed the way I interacted with the world.
I was just beginning to unpack that trauma with my therapist when this new assault/rape occurred, leaving me… utterly broken inside to put it frankly. Every goddamned terrible belief and fear that my childhood self developed by being a sexual abuse victim were drudged up from the depths of my sub-conscious to wreak havoc on my psyche. It is one thing to have those experiences be a distant memory, it is something entirely different to have fresh, reaffirming, memories to float around your brain torturing every waking moment of your day. The thing that surprised me the most about this terrible experience was just how numb and hollow I could feel. I described the feeling to someone yesterday and it goes something like this:
You know when you go to the dentist and they numb your face in the hopes that it will stop you from feeling pain, but it completely fails to do that. Sure it dulls the throb a tiny bit but more than anything you are just sitting there with this terrible uncomfortably numb feeling sitting on top of an aching tooth. It’s like that, except it isn’t my face that is numb, it’s my entire body and my emotions. They are both numb, feeling distant and strange, yet uncomfortably present in my experience. Underneath that numb sensation on the inside and outside, there is this terrible ache, the kind of ache that you cannot help but notice. It won’t go away, you can’t forget about it, and it sure as the hell isn’t going to let you sleep, eat, talk, walk, work, or socialize without reminding you every fucking minute that it is there.
That’s what I have been dealing with for the past few weeks, and if the numb ache wasn’t bad enough the triggers and flashbacks make up for whatever lack of torment I’m already enduring. I feel a desire to tone this down, to suggest that it isn’t this bad because I don’t want to make you uncomfortable but I’m tired of hiding it. I’m tired of pretending that I’m better than I actually am for my friends, for school, for work. I’m tired of acting like I have it all together while I fall to pieces on the inside. I’m a mess.
I know, shocker, right? Emma’s life is dreadful, per usual. I swear to god that I’m not exaggerating this shit. I promise that I’m not self-sabotaging in an effort to have a more dramatic or interesting life. This is my existence. Divorce, lost job, drunken unemployment, dating disasters, more drinking, rock bottom, clawing my way back to sanity only to have the first person I fall in love with since my wife mistreat me, break our poly contract (aka cheat on me), and then sexually assault/rape me when all I wanted was someone to cuddle with to de-stress from full-time mental health work and full-time graduate school.
I forgave her for hurting me, I forgave her for breaking our poly contract, I forgave her for her lack of appropriate boundaries, and when I decided to give her one last chance she hurt me more than I thought possible. It is incredibly common for rape survivors to blame themselves for their rape. It’s so easy to think about how I should have known better, how I shouldn’t have trusted her that one last time. It’s so easy to second guess my decision to see her that night when I should have just gone home to go to bed. It’s so easy to think that I deserved my rape, that of course it would go that way. I am nothing, I don’t matter, and people only ever want something from me and they will take it whether I want them to or not.
That’s how fucking broken my brain is right now. Those are the thoughts my childhood abused self was so used to thinking and now I must face them again. I was finally moving on from them, I was finally starting to confront my darkest trauma, but it seems I have more darkness to face before I can come out the other side; and darkness is where I have been living the past few weeks. I don’t go out anymore. I don’t reach out to my friends. I don’t trust anyone more than I have to. I don’t laugh, I don’t smile, I don’t feel joy. I don’t embrace the new day like I have in times past. Now I simply roll out of bed and let out a long sigh that I have to go on another day. I want nothing more than to sleep and sleep and sleep some more until all of this has passed.
That, however, is not an option, not if I don’t want to lose my job, fail out of school, and destroy my friendships, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to let the selfish actions of another to do me in. I am still here. I am still alive. I am still sober. I’m still working. I’m still studying, writing papers, and doing group projects. I am still talking to my friends, as much as I can stand.
That doesn’t mean that I’m normal, or good, or happy. I am living out of spite right now. I am sober out of anger right now. I still have a job and am participating in school because my rage will not allow me to falter. I cannot kill myself, drink myself into a stupor, or give up completely because I have too much pride for that, but not because I want to. I want to give up. I want to drink myself stupid. I want to kill myself and have even tried to… but I can’t. If I do that then she wins. If I do that then my babysitter wins and both of them will be right that I am nothing, that I don’t matter, and that I have no worth.
My refusal to quit, however, doesn’t stop me from isolating inside my house. It doesn’t stop me from barely sleeping and constantly walking around with an overwhelmed sensation in my chest. I just have to keep walking, keep working, keep studying while I try desperately to heal on the inside. Even if I wanted to stop to take a break, the world wouldn’t let me.
That’s the part that is the hardest to digest: the way the world just keeps turning as if everything is as it is supposed to be. Your friends go out and have fun. They laugh and joke and have a grand old time. Your boss keeps giving you work to do, they keep pushing you to produce what they pay you for. Your teachers keep lecturing and assigning work. The papers keep coming and the projects keeps piling up. Your grass keeps growing, your bills keep coming due, and your car keeps needing gas. Your cats keep needing attention and food and water, and your friends keep needing you to be there for them.
None of them care that you can barely function, let alone get out of bed. Maybe your friends try to care and try to be there for you but there is nothing they can do to make it better. The pain is on the inside. The broken parts are unseeable and cannot be operated on. There is no linear healing and there is no timetable for when things get better. If you break a leg then the doctor can guess how long it might take to heal, when you are raped there is no way to predict how long it will affect you. Chances are it will forever affect your life, even after the immediate trauma is dealt with.
I will never be the same. I will never be the person I was three weeks ago. I cannot go back to that person who only had distant memories of the darkness. I cannot unsee what I’ve seen, unfeel what I’ve felt, unhear what I heard, unsmell what I smelled, and unexperience the panic I felt as she pinned me down and didn’t listen to me as I told her no and begged her to stop. I can’t go back to what was before. There is nothing to do now but move forward with this new darkness inside of my mind and my memories.
I just don’t know what to do my darling readers. I don’t know how to inhabit this place of needing to stop to process what has happened to me while at the same time moving forward with life. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know where I go from here. I never want anyone to ever touch me again because the very thought makes me feel sick to my stomach… yet I know that the thing I need more than anything right now is to be held gently with love and care. I need to be touched even though I detest the thought of it. I need to feel love again, even as I’m certain I will never love again because no one will ever be trustworthy enough for that. I need to let someone in fully even as I build bigger and bigger walls around my heart.
And the thing that really gets me is how much I miss my ex-wife right now. I miss her. She might have been mean to me at times and she might have made a horrible decision at the end of our marriage, but she never hurt me like this. She was safe and I always knew that she would care for me if I was feeling broken like I am now. She would hold me as I cried, telling me that it was going to be okay. She would look at me with these eyes filled with such love. I need that right now… but I can’t have that. She’s not here and she’s not about to go holding me with kindness and love… so I am alone. So very alone with all this pain and sorrow inside me. If I’m not crying then I’m numbly floating from one experience to the next hoping to not hear those dreadful words, “how are you doing?”
I hate those words now. They are the four worst fucking words in the world right now. When I hear them I just want to shout: stop asking me how I’m doing! Stop asking me to lie to your face because we both know you don’t really want to know how I’m doing. You don’t want to hear that I want to die or that I wish I could just sleep for a month so I don’t have to deal with my miserable fucking life. You want to hear that I’m doing better, that I’m doing okay, or that I’m doing good and when I cannot give you that, you try to console me with some empty platitude. Fuck your sympathy. Do us both a favor and fuck right off… oh wait… I can’t say that. I have to be nice. I have to be friendly. I’m okay, no really, don’t worry about me, I’ll be alright, how are you? Are they gone yet? Yes? Thank god, now I can go back to… oh yeah… this darkness that has taken over my life… sigh.
And that’s it. That’s where I am. No fun dating stories. No heartwarming anecdotes from work. No political commentary. No enthusing about the Olympics, which I have been watching bits and pieces of. Nope, nothing fun or exciting, and I’m okay with that right now. I can’t do fun or exciting right now. I need to do chill and cathartic. I cannot allow this darkness to overtake me fully, but I must do that alone. No one can help me right now. No one can carry this burden except for me. If you want to help me then just send a positive thought in my direction and envision me writing about how I had some super amazing experience that I’m excited to tell you about. If you are really ambitious you could email me something sweet so that I know that the world isn’t completely devoid of kindness.
That’s all she wrote for tonight, literally.