Rape & Recovery: Preparing to tell my mom

“My mom saw the drawing as well, and said it was good, but perhaps too dark in emotion.

That was a perfect opportunity. Last year I would have bailed, but that was my chance.

I didn’t tell my mom what happened to me, but I did tell her that I had such emotions and I can’t always be cheerful.

I proceeded to tell her that I have before sheltered her from some things when I can, but that now I’m an adult. And as an adult, I want honesty in my life, and I don’t want to filter anything.

It was a clear message: no more lies, no more spinning the truth, and no more lying about bad things. I WANT honesty in my life.”

As you all know, there has been a good portion of years around what happened to me, in which I avoided the idea of telling my mom, as if it would set me on fire. I guess in full honesty, I did it half for her (to spare her the pain) and half for me (I was too drained to deal with emotions that anyone but me is having). In any case, once in university, I had spared my mom some bad moments, thinking I was protecting her. So by the time the rape happened, and things got a lot harder and darker, I started sparing her anything remotely bad- even me having the flu. It’s a bad cycle to be in. Until that time, we had the type of relationship where I could share anything. Pushing down all my emotions wasn’t good.

Anyway, somewhere down the line last year, I started occasionally attempting to admit a truth. I said when I was sick, I said when I had some other problems.

It wasn’t a huge thing, but it was still a big step considering.

Still, when it comes to a lot in my life, I am still pretty much leading a double life, and it’s exhausting. I bet there are people that live like this all their life, I’m sure of it- people with incurable conditions that they don’t want known, people to whom something happened and they never admitted a word. I’m not saying that I want everyone knowing- but I don’t want to hide so much, all the time anymore. A lot of who I was, who I always wanted to be, was based on honesty, and such thing weight on me. I didn’t tell a lot of my friends that I was raped, at least for year and a half after. I never told my mom I was depressed and why. In my dance classes, for the first months, I had too many panic attacks to count. I often had to stop in the middle of class, and just watch. Who knows what people thought- people that are now friends- especially when I often said I was dizzy or sick. Anyway. Then there is the other problem. I’m an artist. And I do, I write bad things, but that isn’t venting for me…in drawing however, I’m often unable to draw anything sad, or scary, or dark.

Again, I’m not saying I want to tell everyone- but for someone who wants to be an artist, someone who would like to lead honest lifestyle…I’ve pretty much been concealing all I can. With other people. With myself. At some point you forget that you wanted to be honest at all. The brain is like a sponge. The actions you take may not be who you are…but they always leave a mark.

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Rebuilding my confidence and my life after rape

 

 

There is this moment while I’m in THAT summer, the one where I got abused, and the one where all my ethical and moral beliefs crashed. I have lost myself. I’m hurt, I’m bruised, I’m emotionally and mentally tired. I run out of my house in some childish fit, unable to control myself. I circle the streets I know, and I walk. I walk randomly and with no direction. I walk until I can’t feel my legs. I watch straight in front of me, pale like a ghost, scared to face what happens if I stop walking and actually think about what happened to me.

The word of it, the formulation, r-a-p-e, doesn’t even occur to me.

I always had those ideas about things, you know? You think you know, even if you hadn’t experienced something, you think you know how awful it is. Some of us get close to the truth. What happened to me feels much bigger than that. What a fool I was! Have I known anything til that moment, anything at all? Had I really thought education was going to help me have a brighter life, get as far away as I can from the bad things in life? Stupid, stupid girl. What is happening to me?

That summer, I do and say a lot of things that aren’t quite me. That summer, and every moment after that. Something within me has snapped, broken, torn. I have no idea what it is, but I can’t find logic in anything at that point. I can not find as many reasons to stop myself from things that I have previously found low, unethical, immoral, wrong. But my body hurts, and my soul hurts, everything I can feel is just pain. Some things just stop making sense.

You would think that this is the moment my faith really starts to waiver, but it wasn’t.

It’s not when I am laying bruised on my bed in a foreign country, wondering when will it end. It’s not when I go home and I can’t handle anyone touching me, or coming close near me. It’s not when writing my home works and going to parties stop making sense, or I stop recognizing my body in the mirror. It’s not when I try to make out with a guy, and completely freeze. It’s when I have graduated, started a good relationship, move to a new place where I feel safe and at home. It’s when I start dancing, and meeting new people, and making money online, as I have dreamed of for a while. It’s when all the things that I have wanted start happening, and I can finally feel SAFE.

It’s when I stop waking up panicking that the relative security I have in the dormitories or back in my parents house will be gone soon. It’s when I start living again. I have spend 2 years having nightmares, running from the truth, or dealing with it, and trying to rebuild my life. I have spend 2 years, knowing that everything can fall apart any moment.

The moment I am SAFE, that is the moment I fully loose any shred of faith I was holding onto.

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12 Things No One Told Me About Sex After Rape

I never got to write about my own experience with getting back into relationships and sex, but this is pretty well written and accurate. I do wish someone had told me this right after what happened to me. Great post:) Eventually I want to write about my experiences with it too, but in the meantime, I whole-heartily recommend this.

Thought Catalog

There is a strange sort of unspoken theory that once a woman has been raped, sex is no longer a viable option for her. Sex has been replaced by trauma, fear, pain, and anxiety. I’m not saying this is never the case. Every survivor’s story and experience is different, but too often the assumption is that if you have been raped, you are sexually broken and forever unfixable. That sort of discourse is not healthy or empowering or even sympathetic. What I want to say is what I wish I had been told: rape is not a form of sex, it is a form of assault. Sex feels good. Assault is traumatizing. It is possible for sex to exist after rape because they are different experiences, just like it’s possible for you to still enjoy going out to eat even if you got food poisoning once. You might never go…

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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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(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

Panic Days

Part of getting better, I suppose, is learning to manage our disadvantages better, our disability, our adversity, our weakness, sickness, humanity. For the most part of my recovery, I’ve thought that I will be better when I stop waking up from nightmares, having flashbacks or panic attacks.

Truth is, “better” may be learning to manage the bad moments better, not their absence.

Once a counselor at an online hotline told me that there will always be triggers you can’t predict. The true recovery lies in recognizing that fact and learning to manage them better.

Oh boy, was she right.

*

It all started again last week.

Dancing ballet and trying to get out in the world and socialize again, it has been bringing up issues more often than I would like to admit. 2 years back I would let that defeat me, I would think, clearly I’m not strong enough to handle this. But I like ballet too much, and I’m not giving it up, even after such moments. But there has been more than one class which I miss because I panic, which I only watch because I’m so freaking out that I can’t feel my legs, in which I ran in the bathroom to put water on my face in an attempt to remember where I am and that there is nothing threatening about it. But I’m scared, my god, I haven’t been so scared in a while, dancing is exposing me, and I’ve done such a good act out of hiding.

And so it starts again on Sunday. Continue reading

Recovery Updates: Finding My Way Forward

I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again. Recovery is a process, with ups and downs. It’s a messy process.

I’ve had huge jumps forward lately. I’m finally getting out of my apartment more, trying to meet more people. I’m finally starting to be more stable in my finances, and fix holes in my budget (and wardrobe) that have needed fixing in years. I’m finally starting to want to be more attractive again, and not like in university, where since I was raped, I kept myself steadily thinking I’m fine with combination of being drunk when I go out, or being too exhausted and too busy the rest of the time. It’s a process though. Since I started getting depressed the may-june of 2012 after finally admitting myself what happened, I’ve done a whole circle around.

For most things I’m going better, but when it comes to my body issues I go back and forth. While I was depressed I started wearing simple things. Then I gained weight, I started wearing darker things and going out very little. I spend a lot of time wishing I could go back to the weight I had, and planning the clothes I was going to wear when I could afford them.

But I’m not the same person anymore. It’s ridiculous to think I can go from wearing sweaters, sneakers and wide pants to short skirts, high heels and so on. I’m not the same. There is no moving forward until I see that. And I have never really been the short skirt type that much, but I was just starting to warm up to the idea of more attractive and sexy clothes- right before I had a breakdown.

Most of the time I feel older than I am. Most of the times, I’m only hoping to one day go back to who I was. But I am not the same person. Continue reading

Happiness and Recovery

I’m traveling with the bus tonight, smiling widely, my heart overflowing with happiness. I have had a great day, devoid of the shadows of the past and filled with nice new memories. I don’t mind the gloomy tired people sitting next to me on the bus, or the cold. It’s been a while since I’ve been walking and smiling like this. Nothing can get to me. The city is dark blue, and orange from the street lights, filled with urban smells, and stressed out people, but it’s beautiful and it’s alive. Parts of my past are still here, in my family, in this city and I have dreaded them- but I’ve been stronger than them. I feel beautiful and free and strong and happy and loved. Untouchable. The air is filled with endless possibilities of great days and grand adventures in the future.

At that moment the sadness cuts through me and my heart shatters to pieces.

And I think of that moment 3 years back when that guy had his hand on my mouth and I couldn’t move however I tried. And my heart hurts, shatters.

*

To all of you who have been through something big and life- changing, something huge and sad that broke your heart, I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s that vague inexplicable feeling of getting sad every time you allow yourself true happiness and freedom. That feeling when you feel free, and alive, and strong and happy despite of anything, those moments when you barely remember anyone ever hurt you- those moments used to be your birthright. And then something happened- or someone- and you think you can never again let yourself feel so, because if you do, crashing on the ground next time will be much, much harder.

I’ve fought this feeling, thinking that if I refuse the sadness to overtake me, it will go away.

Instead, avoiding it closed my heart, and made me afraid of having a good time.

Stop running. May be a friend of yours died. May be you were in a car crash. May be you got your heart broken by someone you trusted. May be you lost a friend. I was raped. And I felt that exact same way, we all do when something like this happens.

Like your life was cut open, turned around. Like someone exposed you to the world and left you alone, vulnerable, betrayed, and somehow worse than you were before. And you think, if you let yourself feel sadness when you finally drag your way up to happiness again, may be you weren’t truly happy and may be you won’t ever be so.

But I think I was wrong in this.

I think it’s okay to be sad. I have lost something, when this guy attacked me all those years back. It’s okay to be sad in the midst of happiness. Doesn’t mean you aren’t happy. It means, you’re letting emotions out. Be happy. Be free. Be afraid of that, sad, heartbroken that despite all your “good sense” your heart has decided to take the fall again and be free, taking the risk of everything and nothing. Be happy. Be delirious. Cry if you feel like it, and then, let it go.

It’s natural to feel that way. Let it be. You went through something hard- be good to yourself. Be happy. Let the sadness run through you, and run out. Feel it, and let it be.

And then smile again.

Because it’s okay.

To feel, again.

To live, again.

To be happy, again.

To trust, even if you get hurt again.

It’s okay.

Let it be.