I don’t bother to speak about my problems anymore. I don’t bother to share what’s on my mind as much as I used to. I do not speak much at all lately.
At first, not having friends to talk to really bothered me. Kept me up at night, made me cry even. But now I find comfort in my silence, I prefer being alone. It doesnt bother me. My solitude is like a blanket.
I still have my family. And I could speak up if I wanted to. But i dont. I don’t want to talk about what bothers me. How I’m hurting. Because all I will hear is how I am not the only one hurting. I will get solutions thrown at me left and right. I am tired of hearing how I am not alone in my suffering. How people love me. How I am not the only one effected by what Marty did. I did not realize my family was in the back of that truck that day. I did not realize they too were raped with me. Excuse my shitty memory. And if people love me then where are they? Where were they? And solutions?? I dont want solutions, I dont want to be patronized, I dont want pity. I want silence. No I’m not alone in a house of 5 people but that doesnt mean I can talk about what I’m going through. I dont want to feel guilty for being depressed. I’d rather suffer in silence and be as lonely as I feel.
For many years, I could not remember most of my childhood. Big chunks of it were missing from my memory. Ages 3-9 were a blur. 6 was practically gone completely.
Many survivors of trauma often forget a lot of what they survived, and it comes back in snapshots, fragments and details. This is especially true of survivors of sexual assault or abuse. The details of the attack are blurred at first and in time the brain releases what it can handle processing at the time.
I was molested when I was 6 years old. And when I told my dad and step mom, they told me not to speak of such things. I learned from them that being violated was not something to speak about, that the shame that I felt was to be carried in silence. So I repressed what I went through, I suffered in silence for many years and eventually I forgot that it even happened. I was 15 or 16 when I remembered. I dont know what triggered it so many years later but when I did remember, it didn’t come in fragments, it came in a flashflood. All at once and without resistance. I was laying in bed half asleep in the middle of the day listening to music and I was thinking deeply about something when all of a sudden it was like every nerve in my body lit up. A loud alarm was going off in my brain and I could see it happening, I could hear everything and feel everything like it was happening for the first time. And I cried. I called my mom and she came home and I told her what I remembered.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of flashfloods of memory. They’re mostly good ones. I’ll be in the car and smell something and all of a sudden I’m in my 3rd grade classroom on the second day of school. The memories are so vivid I feel like I’m experiencing them in real time like they’re happening for the first time. And like I said most of them are good, and its refreshing to have them back. To have good pieces of my life in my possession again. But I’m also remembering dreams I’ve had throughout the years. Dreams, not just events that actually happened and that is strange for me.
When I was 4 I had night terrors so bad that I had to see a neurologist for them. And recently, my brain released them to me. I was awake when I remembered these nightmares. The thing about this particular nightmare is that it has been reoccurring throughout my life. It is like a reboot of the same movie played years apart. But the character in the nightmare is the same. Same monster.
I was morbidly afraid of the goblin from the Harry Potter movie when I was little. The first of the night terrors took place in church. Everyone was talking and visiting with one another and the goblin was chasing me. I was screaming for help as loud as I could but no one helped me. I was the only one who could see the goblin so when I cried for help everyone called me crazy because no one else could see it. I ran and ran and ran but it kept chasing me, calling my name, touching me and I was screaming but no one saw the goblin was trying to get me.
The second night terror: I hated going to my dad’s house as a child. I would kick and scream and cry and beg not to go. The second night terror takes place in a building I dont recognize. But I’m on a table begging my grandma and mom not to go to my dads. My dad is prying me off them and in the doorway the goblin is waiting for me. Only this time, everyone can see him. I’m begging not to go, the goblin will get me but they’re telling me he wont. They’re saying he’s nice, he wouldn’t hurt me but I know he will because he has.
I had several night terrors like this. With the same literal monster in the dream but what I dont know is, who does that monster represent?
My last good day was August 5th, 2017. I’m sure I had a few good days between then and the third attack on September 9th, but August 5th was memorable, it was special.
My family took a last minute day trip to the beach with another family that we’re really close to. All 7 of us jammed into our SUV and packed everyone’s favorite snacks and blankets and left early to go to the beach. I was in the 3rd row seating with my knees under my chin wedged between a 5 year old and a car window. We were all practically on each other’s laps and the odor of cow shit was strong as we passed through small towns on our way there. But I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much. We were all talking. And the kid I was sitting next to is by far the coolest 5 year old I know. I was laughing, we all were. Then we stopped at this place that looked like a giant old saloon and it had a bunch of hand made ice cream, candy, old sodas, fresh fruit etc. We all stopped and ate together then piled back into the car and kept driving. I don’t remember why we didn’t stay at the first beach we stopped at but we kept driving and ended up in a small beach town called Cayucous. The beach was huge and not super crowded, it was beautiful. The town was tiny and quiet. The perfect spot. I remember getting in the water with my sister as far as we could go. My family took pictures, we talked and we laughed. We ate and we slept. Nothing super exciting or life changing or special happened on this trip except that I laughed so much. And I felt happy and content. I haven’t taken a trip since then, and I haven’t felt like that since then. Since my last good day.
I want another good day. I deserve another good one. Even if it’s by myself on a beach somewhere. I deserve good things, even if the good things are just memories.
The past few nights I’ve woken up in the dead of my sleep and sat up in bed to look at my window because I feel like someone is there. Waiting and watching in silence. And I stare at the curtains until the shadows outside start to look like my monster. And I wait and wait and wait for something to happen. For fingers to tap my window, for the curtains to move, for his voice to say my name. And I wait for that feeling to pass. And I wait for sleep to come to me again. But it doesn’t.
For about a week almost every night without fail this happens. I wake up and I feel him. I know he’s not there. I know he’s not out to get me. But I feel, and I fear.
Out of the 3 monsters. It is always Marty that I think is there at my window. It is always him I fear running into when I leave the house. It could be any of the 3 I think of at 2 in the morning when I sit up in bed and stare at the window. But it is him, because it was him that waited and watched for so long before doing anything.
The attack itself was the least violent out of all 3. I had no bruises, no scratches, not even soreness the next day. But it caused the most damage. It was the most disturbing, the most vindictive, vile, and traumatic.
Lately he is in almost all my dreams. Even the good ones, he is there in the background watching. He hardly ever says anything but he is there, even when I can not see him I can feel him.
I’ve been getting more and more flashbacks. I see him in snapshots, I hear him in fragments, but I feel him almost constantly. I remember things from the attack that I did not remember before. I remember his hands and his lips on my breasts and I want to cut them off. Every piece of me he touched I want to burn, I don’t want it.
I read once that it takes the body 7 years to regenerate and replace every cell in the body. It gives me comfort knowing one day I’ll have a body that is untouched by any monster. But the emotional aspect of trauma..that burden is mine to carry for as long as my memory works. And I wish so badly that I could cut out the pieces of my memory tainted with traces of my monster. I want so badly to take away the damage.
I wrote another letter. But this time, it’s to someone I have a love hate relationship with right now. Someone I’ve been avoiding, someone who I used to be really close with. I lost touch with him, and I am unrightfully angry with him. I know I am out of place by saying the things I say in this letter. But this letter is the first communication I’ve had with him in awhile so maybe that’s progress.
When all else fails I go to my wall. I stare at this wall, I feel this wall and I change this wall. Being near it gives me clarity. Adding to it makes me feel content. It is my depression and anxiety in its most refined form. For every item on this wall, every photo, ribbon, receipt, bottle cap, letter, poem, is a time I decided not to end my life. Every scrap of this wall is a moment in time I decided not to cut my wrists. Every piece is small battle won. It is a time where I did not let my monsters win, it is a time where I took a small portion of my sanity back. And I want to share it with you.
In the center, is a poster that was used in civil rights movements, the original text says I AM A MAN. I added HU, to make the word HUMAN. And a handprint to depict just that. It is a reminder to me that being human has it’s ups and downs. Underneath that, on the same poster I wrote I AM HERE. I wrote that to remind me of how far I have come. And when my mind drifts off to ugly places it reminds me I am in a safe place. This poster is in the center because everything around it makes me human, an individual. All the letters, photos, etc are pieces of my life that shaped me. The butterfly canvas to the top right corner depicts change, something I struggle to embrace at times. The origami cranes (to me) mean peace of mind. These are just a few aspects of the wall I decided to explain.
This wall is a piece of me, of my mind, of my struggle.
I had a good day. I went to work. Which makes me feel like I have a purpose and I really like my job. (I’ve started tutoring 2 children with special needs.) After that I spent the day with my family browsing antique shops which is one of my most favorite things to do. I love finding old pictures of people that I find interesting or photos of scenery or what not. I take them home and put them on my wall. Every picture I keep has a special place in my heart, because the people in those photos have names. They have families and pet peeves and favourite colors but some how the memory of them got lost in the world. Maybe the picture was mixed in a yard sale or something, but either way that memory trapped in the film is misplaced. So I take them. And give them a home on my wall. Maybe that’s creepy but for me, I wouldn’t want to be forgotten. I’d want my memory to live way longer than I do, whether it’s by a photo or my words here that you read. Maybe what I’m doing is all in vain, this trying to keep them alive through a photo on my wall. But it gives me comfort and it’s a hobby so. Like I said, over all it was a great day. I came home, and got in the shower, started singing as usual but the music I was screaming to felt unusually heavy. I felt the music weigh on me. And I stopped singing, I cried. For the first time in about a month. I don’t know why I did. I’d sung the song a million times. But it felt too heavy all of a sudden, I felt terribly alone in that moment and I felt my depression like a wet blanket. Heavy and cold. My depression is like a creepy man. Always lurking around the corner, waiting ever so patiently. My depression is that one relative that barges their way in and over stays their begrudging welcome. My depression is a disease. My depression is a friend. There when no one else is. Whether I want it to be or not.
I saw that my last post addressed to the people of my religion was viewed many times. It’s funny how words spread like wildfire. At this point I think even my monster has read it. Their words keep coming and now so do mine. Here’s one more for you since you liked it so much.
Sinners and Saints
I would never expect a saint like you to understand
A sinner like me who was dealt a bad hand
All I ever did, was try to numb the pain
I never meant to divide a people
Or throw dirt on a divine name
The consequences of my actions
Reach farther than it shows
And the way you speak about me
Shows all the Nothingness you know
You’ll never understand what it means
To be betrayed
In fact I’m slightly grateful
That you’ll never know such pain
But I wish you’d understand
The way things really happened
That I didn’t want to be involved
But some how I was trapped in.
Another thing you do not know
And that I haven’t bothered to share
Is that a sick obsession was started before I was even aware
A monster was lying in wait, using your trust as a covering for sin.
And he used a mentors manner as
A mask to pry his way in.
I’m not one to explain myself
I didn’t think I’d have to
But the concept of rape is not common
So I suppose now I’ll have to.
You paint me as a sinner,
Yourself a saint, and me a whore
But what you have forgotten
Is that while Jesus loves the saints,
He loves the sinners more.
He died for the ones who needed forgiveness
The ones who knew real pain
If he died for those who were “perfect”
His death would be in vain.
He even said himself
A strayed sheep returned home
Was worth more than the 99 who never roamed.
I may still be out here lost,
But I’m trying to find my way.
I’m still stuck out in the cold, just trying to come back home.
Your judgements keep me locked out,
Your whispers keep me at bay
I’m trying to feel God’s love,
But all your hatefulness is in the way.
I just got my phone back on Thursday after nearly 6 months of not having it. (The police had it in evidence for the case.) I’ve been going through it the past few days, reading old messages between friends and looking at old pictures. And then today I stumbled across some poems I had written and kept in my phones notes app. Almost all of them are written within a few weeks before to a few days after the rape. I thought I’d share. Bear in mind, I was in a bad place. And a lot of what was going on influenced my writing. At the time, I was stuck in a bad place, I felt alone. I was being manipulated by my monster and my mom was really depressed and I felt like I lost her for awhile. I can not stress this enough, I was in a bad place. A lot of the poems were addressed to my mom, I shared two of them with her. I felt a lot of anger and I felt trapped. And by reading this, you are almost literally entering my state of mind in that time period.