Apologies to all of you who, when I wrote that I was prepping for some serious change in my life last week, were thinking, ooh, haircut, yeah! while I was thinking more along the lines of ooh, unveiling my emo drama that I don't even talk to my closest friends about...yeah.
I'll just come right out of the gate with the fact that I'm much, much, MUCH better now.
I came to a realization a few weeks ago that I was Very Not Okay. I suppose you want the back story; I suppose you want to ride along with me on the journey. That's okay, today I can do that. Not many days can I let myself take people's hands and say let me show you all of it, the whole big mess, but today is different and the sun is shining and last night I fell asleep feeling brave. Today I have strength enough to outshine the stars.
I am a
I am not on any medication. I exercise 2-3 times a week to keep the darkness at bay. Most of the time the endorphins are enough. Sometimes they are not.
I have confronted my abuser, who is now getting on in years. Each time I tell him what he has done, he is humbled, he apologizes, he says he is a changed man, and that he is deeply shamed. I do not doubt the genuineness of his remorse, but what I doubt is the capacity for this man to change. For here is where it all goes even more wrong.
Each time we have a conversation where I inform him of what he has done to me and then politely and respectfully ask him for the only thing I have ever asked of him in my entire life - to simply be left alone to live my life in peace - a couple months of silence go by. And then the phone calls, emails, and letters resume. Why aren't we talking? they all beg. What did I do wrong?
Turns out, this person wipes their memory clean of any conversation we had regarding what was done to me. I relive, again and again, my loss of innocence while my abuser conveniently forgets what part he played in it. Again and again, we did our hellish dance, abuser and survivor, me reminding him, him apologizing, then him forgetting and picking up right where he left off, trying to get me back into his life, the never-ending persistence of phone calls and heart-broken letters.
So I ended the dance. I stopped responding, I stopped playing the game altogether. My sanity was at a breaking point, my heart was heavy, my appetite non-existent and my sleep occupied with terrible, terrible nightmares. In order to survive, I chose me over him. I've never regretted it.
But I still protected my abuser - from himself. I stopped confronting him and instead let him name the terms and try to step over boundaries while I turned myself into a ghost, drifting this way and that to avoid the inevitable confrontation that gives no closure, only opens the wounds that cannot heal because he will not ever let them close.
I am done with that too, now. Because what drove me to the edge and parked me on the cliff, what made me stare down into the deep, dark pit of what I'd created for myself, given my non-existent ability to say no and to keep letting others walk all over me, is that my tormentor found my blog.
And he began reading it and sending me emails commenting on it and telling my family about the pictures he saw of all of them on it. Every time I sat down to blog I felt like a piece of tape was over my mouth, knowing that whatever I wrote he would read, and I would feel violated all over again - hunted, trapped. Angry. Very, very angry. Fucking furious, you might say.
And here we are. Backed into a corner yet again, I contemplated flight, I contemplated shutting this blog down permanently, I considered turning it private (with Blogger that's a pain in the ass) and I considered moving to Hawaii where no one could ever find me ever again. (Okay, not that last one, but that's because of my budget.)
Or I could stand and unfold myself. Because here it is, here's the huge thing I was missing, the perspective I was so badly lacking:
I am not a child anymore. I am not backed into a corner because there IS NO FUCKING CORNER. There is only huge sky and I'm the one with wings, not him. Trapped down there by his own limitations with his limited view of the world, stuck in the past ... I'm not down there with him unless I choose to be. And I choose not to be ever again.
Childhood trauma hurts us in so many ways, but the way in which it hurts the most is that we can be 47 years old, eating cereal one morning, and someone can say one thing and suddenly we are four years old and helpless all over again. The trigger is pulled and the gun goes off and we are so, so small and wounded and helpless and angry about all of it. And that feeling doesn't go away until we let it. But we are never trapped with those triggers, nor do other people have power over us, even if they once did. I used to think that only death would give me peace.
I got it so wrong. Love gives us peace.
Love of self, love of others, love of this stupid gorgeous world and how incredibly beautiful and ridiculous it is. I have never sought revenge, never meant to hurt this person anymore than they set out to hurt me, but it is not my job anymore to take care of him at my own risk.
So I'm changing the way I look at things. If I'm not trapped in ANY thing I do, how much power do I really have? I don't have to be in relationships or friendships that suck... I don't have to feel trapped by a job or a certain situation... I don't owe anyone anything except to take care of myself.
I just got that. I just got that for what feels like the first time in my life a couple days ago, and I feel so old and so young at the same time because I want to laugh and cry.
It's all going to be okay, people. I promise you - it's going to be okay.