Coping with Rape-related things in the media

Today, in the middle of my usual Facebook break in between work, I scroll down updates from pages I’ve liked (I do it more than I should, as I am sure a lot of us are guilty of). I’ve been pretty fine lately- even managed a huge work crisis without falling apart, which to me was a big thing. Usually any situation that makes my living feel threatened, sends me for a huge head spin that leads to a lot of panic and very little action. Being this afraid of failing, is paralyzing. But I have been doing good. Really good actually. Still, there are days, and then, on occasion there are the days

So now I’m scrolling in Facebook, and get to update from a newsletter than tends to publish personal stories. It’s about a woman who reported employee of a company for making a rape joke, and he got fired. (makes more sense in context, but my post isn’t about that story really). Suddenly, I’m pale as a sheet(at least I feel that way), my hands are shaking and my ears are filled with noise. I can’t remember how to breathe, let alone what is on my agenda for the day.

I’m not actually trying to make a thing out of this at all; it happens. After the first year(or few) we all learn how to cope with things. If you get injured, even if the place heals well, you’re always a little extra careful. There are times when old injuries still affect you- you get tired faster, or something else. If you have ever been assaulted, even when you recover completely, triggers get to you sometimes. Continue reading

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Isolation, insomnia and taking control

“It’s like I’m sleepwalking, and I don’t know how to wake up…” Mary, on Reign (TV series)

This quote kind of struck me, may be because it rings so true for me. It’s like I gave myself an allowance to check out of my life for a moment so I can recover 3 years ago, and I never checked back in. Or I check in and out depending on how I feel. Like I’m asleep for years, and I only wake up every once in a while, like I’m in a dream, and I know it’s my choice what I do, and I still can’t stop myself sometimes. Four and a half years ago, I was raped. And when I was ready to stop denying it and destroying myself, I started this blog as a sort of sounding board for my recovery process. I have been doing a lot better lately, but I need to start writing here again. I know I do. I do, because when I write, I push myself, and I discover things about myself I didn’t know.

Otherwise, I have reached a point where my life is getting more and more NORMAL, and I am afraid.

I’m afraid that I still have some important issues I haven’t solved, but that I can live with those. That I can totally let them untouched and push them down again, until I start thinking they are just part of my character. When I started this blog I was the type of person that can make a HUGE deal out of small stuff, but when it came to the big, important emotions, I pushed them down so no one would know they were there. Writing here, trying to regain myself after the rape, it opened me up and I became aware of so much about myself that I was ignoring before. I don’t want to go back to pushing things down.

For the past months, while I was moving my life into more positive direction, I also concentrated in clearing my past- writing, counseling, solving. And then I stopped writing in present tense, and stopped dealing with the emotional issues in my present. Continue reading

Of Gods and Ghosts pt. 2

“I’m not God. I’m not all powerful. I can’t win in every situation.

But I’m a HUMAN, and I do have a choice.”

I’ve spent the good part of the last 2 years, trying to redeem myself and gather the pieces of what was once my life. The first time when I wrote post with that name, it was close to 2 years ago, one of the first posts I had on here. And now it’s 2 years later. So much has changed. So much hasn’t. The base of that first post was feeling like a ghost- feeling like I had opportunities, I had a choice, yet I couldn’t live the life I wanted. I was watching from the sides, broken, terrified that fighting for the life I want, I will lose the dream, I will lose my last hope, and that will be the end. When you barely have the will to get out of bed, life force, energy, hope, it’s one of the most important things. It’s not much of a life I’m living, hiding in bed while people actually experience things- but it’s all I have left. After having poured all energy, money and everything else I had into a project, just to end up not only losing the money, but having to gather myself and survive all sorts of bad situations, I don’t have it in me to make a single step towards my dream.

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click image for source

(2 years ago)

I’m a Ghost.

I don’t live, I exist, and I even do that at the bare minimum. For a while anyway.

My dreams have shrunk too. I don’t have it in me to dream big anymore. I just want a way out of the nightmare I somehow got myself into. I can’t make a step forward, because it will kill me, that I’m certain of. I don’t have it in me to get through disappointment anymore. I don’t have it in me to fight. I’m helpless, immobile, soulless. I feel like I’ve lost everything that constitutes me being human, but I hold on. I hold on for no other reason, than the fact I’ve done it for a long time. I’m weaker, more tired.

I can’t take a step forward. I can’t take half a step. Even a quarter.

So I break down what I do into the most ridiculous tiny pieces just so that I keep going. Even getting through those pieces takes forever. I take 2 hours to get ready for my day at my internship, and cry in my lunch break. I eat junk, watch endless TV, and stop giving a damn about everything. I don’t eat, or overeat. Getting out of bed is an issue. My last project for university is done over the span of 5 months, even though I could have been done in 1 month. Sometimes working on it for 15 min, takes me 2 days of torturing myself to get started. My past is filling my nights with nightmares, and it’s entirely too unsettling. I’ve spend a good amount of years avoiding dealing with things, being “content” with being miserable a lot of the time. My solution to bad things is to run. To just go somewhere else and reinvent myself, into someone I like. I perfect that and it works, for a while. But the ghosts in your closet always catch up with you. I am who I am. Putting a lifetime of change in between of being a helpless kid, and me today, it doesn’t make it go away. Strip away the changes, the people, and all the regular parts of my life, and it’s still there, underneath. It took for my life to break apart for me to see that. Continue reading

Dance and Recovery from Rape pt. 1

I’ve been going to dance for about 5 months now, and I have been writing and drawing again. I can honestly say that letting myself create something, participate in something expressive, is sometimes harder than remembering the bad memories I have. Recovery has been an odd timeline, and I’ve been progressing, as best as I can. I’ve slowly gotten back to the “regular” life -sort of- I live with my boyfriend, I’m seeing friends, I’m working regularly (from home, but nevertheless). Dance however has been a whole new challenge. It’s making me see, and I see more than I can bare sometimes. Here is some ways in which dance has changed me in these past months:

Creating and Drawing

In the past months, I’ve been regularly stretching and practicing for dance classes. Sometimes going there is the best part of my day, and sometimes it freaks the hell out of me. But I keep going. I’ve thought that I’ve left parts of my life, the unwilling victims of my bad past- like drawing. For me, it’s hard to draw when I’m in tremendous pain, or when I’m so torn inside. I know drawing is an expression, and therefore I should be able to use it to express the bad too…but I am not certain I can let myself do that. Every time I try, even since I can remember, to draw in a bad moment, I close up. For all you know, I’ve got no feelings, I’m so freakin’ bottled up.

But dance cuts open through the walls in my life, and I have to either let it happen, or let it go. As it is, I let it inside. And lately, a new/old instinct is coming back to me. The instinct to draw, now even more unrestricted and better. I sketch with no aim at all, for the enjoyment of it. I make a landscape drawing with no idea at all, just dabbing into the tempera colors and enjoying the mixture of bright colors, mixing them and painting like a child. It’s not really about the result- I’m like a kid in a candy store, and I’m making every minute matter. It’s unbelievably fun and enjoyable- and as it turns out, my drawings end up just as good as before, if not better. I’m in love with doing that- and it breaks my heart at the same time. The moment I finish I’m elevated, and then suddenly- I want to cry. My chest feels like it will break. I realize I’ve settled til now. I’ve settled for a good life- but not a great life. I’ve settled for safe life. I’ve left drawing and passions behind me, because they make me feel, and I think it will break me. Truth is, bottling up everything within me, it won’t break me, but it’s much more unhealthy. I’m like an emotional time bomb that explodes at the slightest touch.

And that’s what dance is for me, every time. It’s so beautiful and elegant, so out of the dark corners of what happened to me, that I feel something breaking in me every time I go there. It’s the most powerful thing I’ve found lately. Dance is a language, and I can not express anything into it, if I cripple all emotions in me. I’m new there and for now I’m just concentrating on even getting the ability to do the moves- and even so, I feel the walls in me falling down. I feel, more than I would like to admit. It hurts sometimes, and I don’t want to ever hurt again- but I have to let myself feel things, if I want to dance or draw or do any art. Or else, I have to settle for a safe life. It’s not a bad thing, truly, there’s nothing bad about a safe life- but dance has let me see a bit further than that, and I don’t want to give that up…even when it hurts.

Body-control

I’m learning ballet. I’m over 20 years old and I’m learning ballet for a first time in my life. I’ve let go of the idea that I control my body a long time ago. May be even before I was raped I wasn’t always in control, I can’t be sure. I have a friend that asked me once if I feel like I’m weaker and more vulnerable because of what happened. It feels like a cruel question, because I don’t know the answer. Sometimes I feel that I survived what happened- and I have recovered a lot lately- so I am stronger. I’m pretty sure 2 years before, if anything like that had happened, I would have felt like I want to die. But whether I am stronger or not is a valid question- I’m stronger, yet at times much more breakable, shaky, uncertain. I think it will be a long while more before I get out of that. But ballet doesn’t let compromises. It needs you to be 100% in.

I’ve never been 100% in anything…but, I need this. It’s a struggle, every time, but after the first few classes, I already see some changes, tiny muscles in my body, agreeing a little more with what we are doing in class, parts of me following the movements in class in ways in which I wasn’t able to before. I’m improving, and that isn’t just a thing. That is saving my life. Being in a dance where every muscle in your body is involved and your control is a test- and it makes me a failure from start. I can see already that I’m behind most people there. Even if we disregard the fact that most of them are teenagers and this is somewhat easier on their bodies- a year of depression and laying in bed has made me weak and inflexible. My body just refuses to follow things, even easy things. But slowly, I learn to. I stretch out of class, try things on my own, and slowly my body starts to obey me again. I’d given up on that long time ago. I’d given up on that while I was lying under that guy being unable to move an inch. I’d given up then.

But now…now my body is becoming mine again. Sometimes when we try to do a certain move, it’s not even that I can’t move that way, but that I don’t feel my body there, like that guy removed all feeling I had in me. I’ve closed myself a long time ago, and ballet just needs me to open up. There’s no way around it. Slowly I begin feeling my back, my toes, the arches of my feet. Slowly I begin reconciling with my body again. It had betrayed me long time ago, when I couldn’t stop that guy from forcing me to sleep with him. I have betrayed my body my laying and eating junk and hiding myself ever since. Now we are finally reconciling.

To see my body do things I couldn’t do before the rape even, it’s the best recovery tool.

It shows me that I can still grow.

(to be continued)

Back Home: Equilibrium

Last week, I went back home, to my parents place, for about 6 days.

I’ve dreaded this for the past few days. It’s the first night.

I wake up at 5 am by my grandfather shouting at my mom for some reason, and her shouting back so he would hear her. I’ve barely gotten any sleep. The shouting makes me want to go in the corner and cover my ears like a little kid. As I am not one anymore, I bite my lips, and wait for the shouting to be over. How does my mom go through this every day, I wonder.

I can barely make it a week. Continue reading

About Mothers and Honesty pt.2

So as I said in Mothers and Honesty pt. 1 , that fall while I was getting over the SA, me and my mom kept having fights; all the time.

At certain point it’s so often, that I forget that I always felt lucky about my parents. I forget that my mom raised me to be her friend and tell her honestly things whatever they are. I forget that just because they have had a rough life doesn’t mean I have to protect them from the bad sides of mine. Somewhere between trying to protect my family from everything bad that ever happened to me, and my own inability to handle the rough patch that I am going through, I forget how to be honest with my mom.

But there’s nothing like SA to give you the sense that you have to protect yourself – at all cost.

Having had that happen from someone you trust gives you the uncontrollable feeling that you don’t know whom you can trust with what anymore. If protecting yourself means being a little distant from your family-so what? If it means somehow getting colder and distant with your friends and never truly letting them in – then that’s what you have to do. It’s not a conscious thought of course. But that is what you do.

And after a while, I stop remembering why I’m fighting with my mom.

I just get angry.

*

All that was 3 years ago. By any counting, I thought it doesn’t matter. After I went back to university, and I got back to my regular life, we slowly stopped fighting as often. Since then, I always felt that we lost some part of the closeness we had. I told myself that it was okay. Sometimes you grow apart with your friends, or your parents. It’s not like there’s anything I can do about it, I told myself, so I have to just get used to it.

I was never quite as honest again. I started not telling my mom what I buy with my money because I thought she would judge. I stopped telling her when I had bigger problem, because I was afraid that adding to their problems would be too much – for her and for me. Sometimes, I vaguely regretted how things were, but the most part I was pretty content with just letting the subject go.

And then I came to this stage of recovery.

There wasn’t any big revelation about it or anything such. It’s not like in movies. For the most part, I don’t think I considered much what I’d say or how. Continue reading

Farewell for now

To everyone out there,

who has read my blog here or is reading it right now. My last post was at the end of March, and I still haven’t gotten to another one.

I’d been convinced I would have time to write here, as well as in my new blog, which I mentioned in the previous post. Now I know that I have to leave both blogs in order to move forward. Continue reading