Betrayal

The last few months have been insanely hectic. With work, covid, and preparing and i preparing for changes that seem to happen when I least expect it. It’s been trying. And my head has, well, had to managed to stay on relatively straight for about 3 months of constant change. But. I suppose everything falls apart eventually.

About two weeks ago, with a stuffy nose, headaches, eye pain, body pain, the whole covid gambit, I felt myself deteriorating. Concerned that I was coming down with the virus, I saw my doctor and she recommended I get tested. Spoiler: though my results haven’t come back, I’m mostly confident that I didn’t contract the virus. But. That’s not what this about.

A few days ago, about a week into quarantine, I started feeling weird. Growing up in a Christian environment and professing the faith for myself, I’ve still massively struggled with the idea of God. Who’s this big guy in the sky? And the fuck won’t be do anything about the shit happening in our world. I run the length of anger and confusion and devastation on a daily basis. And I guess this week it was time for it to rear it’s ugly head.

I began to wonder about the impact of trauma and abuse on my abilities, or lack there of, to trust in this being called God. I looked back on my childhood, the few parts my brain allows me to remember and I began to wonder. Can Stockholm Syndrome be caused by a violent childhood? I tried a quick search on google, but after too many entry questions and not enough emotional wherewithal, I decided against it. I didn’t want to know.

I’ve spent a major pet of my adulthood and even childhood trying to force myself to move forward. To not hold grudges. And I genuinely, truly believed that I’d let so much of it go. I felt no anger to those who hurt me. But a compassion and love that made me cry my eyes out whenever I thought about it. But was it really love? Now I’m not sure. That night, I went to bed, and was immediately flooded with nightmares of my childhood. Things I’d believe to let go.

I woke they next morning, after a fitful night of sleep, in tears. Crying my eyes out in the dark, trying to make sense of my dreams. And all I could think was, why did you hurt me? Why couldn’t you be gentle? Why couldn’t you be kind? Why didn’t you love me? Love me enough to not hurt me? In my dream I’d lost my fucking shit. Screaming and crying and yelling. Willing them to hit me just so I could hit them back. I was so hurt. And I was so angry. I just wanted to be held.

I felt betrayed by the people who I thought were supposed to protect me. And when I realized this, I saw how that thread of betrayal wove it’s way through the entirety of my life. I’ve often felt betrayed by others’ disloyalty. It might be slight but it felt so crushing to me. Because I felt like I wasn’t worth loving. Wasn’t worth fighting for. Wasn’t worth protecting. And even after the abuse, all I’d want was for them to take me back. Accept me. Forgive me. For whatever it was. And the same hands that hurt me embraced me. And as I recognize now, really harmed me. My emotional maturity.

However, I also feel guilty. I feel as if I’m betraying them now. Because people change, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But it also hurts. It hurts to the core that this happened. And I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to shame anyone who has hurt me. But. I don’t know if I’ll ever heal if I never talk about it. My life goal has always been to not y’all about the people in my family who have hurt me until they’ve passed. That way I can’t hurt them, while truthfully communicating how I feel. But. I didn’t realize that I was letting myself die in the process.

The last few days I’ve felt a heavy pot on my stomach. Not focused on the feelings much, but not knowing where to go from here. How do I recover? Do I want to? Do I just want to end it all? But that’s selfish. I know it. And even though they’ve hurt me, I don’t want to hurt them. I guess the difference is, when they hurt me I was a stupid kid, on the receiving end on so much fluctuating emotions coming from adults who all I really wanted was to love me. Not for who I could be. But for who I was. Completely imperfect and confused and needing love. I was just a child.

I’m not sure what bruised me harder, the hands and the belts and the hangers. Or the words that were said when they were upset. Or the loneliness that crept into my heart. Desperate to know how I could get them to love me again…without hurting me.

Betrayal

TLC, But Not For Me.

It’s been a rough week. Maybe because I ran out of meds at the beginning? I wasn’t sure if they were helping but if this week has been any indication then I think they have been. Or it’s just been a shit week.

Without going into to many details, there’s been a change in my family. And honestly the level of fear and anxiety I feel right now is insane. And it’s got me thinking.

It’s really, really painful. The other day my friend joked about me being the black sheep in the family. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself that. But I’ve been feeling that. When I was younger, I went through a lot of fucked up stuff. My brothers didn’t. This led me to act out more I think. My thoughts even as a kid were always darker I just didn’t say them aloud. I didn’t have much help though. My parents didn’t know what was going on. And when they did, it was evident that they believed it to be my fault. Not ever asking me.

I remember when I was in 7th it 8th grade, I was on the school bus. It was right before Christmas. This kid on the bus came up behind me as I was putting up my window and began rubbing his naked… you know, on me. I froze. It hadn’t been the first time a boy had touched me without consent. No that started even younger, when I was a in elementary school by a family member. I was so distraught about the situation. One because I believed it was wrong, but also because I wanted attention, love and affection. That situation wasn’t even close to any of that. But I was 11.

I went home that day, writing in my journal what happened. A family member found my journal and consequently. I was spanked, arms out, then made to stand in a corner while my journal was read to me. I was then hauled to school, the boy was suspended. My parents were furious and I was wasn’t allowed to ride the bus for the rest of the year. In that moment, I made the conscious decision not to trust my parents, not to ask for their help for anything. And to never open up again. I’d take the affection I was given from boys, because at least it didn’t hurt. But I still longed for the affection from my parents. Aches for it. I was constantly haunted by the fear of them dying and leaving me. But so angry when they hit me. But so desperately wanting their love and affection even after they hit me. It’s fucked. I remember waiting and hoping they’d not be angry with me anymore, even though they hurt me.

My parents are different people now. They’ve grown and become better people. I don’t know if they’ll ever apologize for what they did, but it’s not like I’m waiting for an apology either. They didn’t help me much with any of the things that hurt me. The things I didn’t understand. But they made sure I never went without, supported my theatre and singing. And challenged me in school. So, I became successful in the things that mattered to them. Or I tried. But at some point I just realized I couldn’t come to them broken.

As I said, they’re different now. And as my brothers go through challenging times, they are the most supportive loving versions of them that I’ve ever seen. And I’m grateful. But I can’t help the sick feeling I get when I see them supporting my brothers through their stuff, knowing I never had that. Part of me is jealous. Part of me is angry. Part of me is so fucking bitter. Another part of me is deeply lonely.

My friends became my support system. But my friends are also a little batshit. And I love them for it. But as an adult now, it’s different. And life feels more sad. Because I have taught myself from a young age to be fiercely independent. To keep all family at an arms length. So if they hurt me it wouldn’t hurt too much. And if they died it wouldn’t crush me. But I am still crushed. Watching my parents champion my brothers, wondering why they couldn’t be that for me.

Fucked up sexual abuse as a child really changed the course of my life. But no one in my family talks about it. I was told that the person who did it isn’t in a place to have such a direct conversation. That essentially I’d have to move on. But how do you move on from a weight that sits on your chest that feels like a million pounds? From a fear that it will happen again to another child? I feel sick. I’ve cried so much about it the last few days. And I’ve distanced myself from my family. I don’t want to be like that. But it doesn’t feel safe. And I’m tired. I’m so so tired.

And I’m alone. Willingly and not so willingly Im alone. Because I can’t turn back the time. I can’t ask them to give me the love and support I always needed. I somehow have to create it for myself, even while watching everyone from the sidelines receive the care and support they need, while the hole in my heart grows just a little bit bigger.

TLC, But Not For Me.

Springtime

It’s not quite spring, but as February starts to come to a close I feel those feelings that I do every spring. I can’t explain it. People love spring and summer. They love the brightness, warm sun, the flowery air. The rushing water and chirping crickets. The smells of mulch and chlorine. They love it.

I don’t know how I feel. I can enjoy it separately if I look at it in parts. I enjoy the chipping of crickets. The smell of a bonfire. Driving with my windows down. I think that’s it.

This time of year feels overwhelming. Like full of life that I can’t quite connect with. That maybe my younger self found pleasure in but not safety. And how I crave to be safe. Spring is when I started experimenting too much. Spiraling into all the things I thought would make me feel good.

Spring reminds me of senior year, when I almost didn’t graduate. That was the first time my depression really crept up on me. Somewhere between junior and senior year of high school o plummeted.

Spring is when Eric and I broke things off. The guy I thought I would marry, the first one anyway. I cried for months. That was maybe the first time I didn’t have a filter for the pain, except in sex and other guys. I was devastated. I wanted to be a good Christian. But I hated everything.

Early summer is when I lost my virginity. I remember the day. And then a year later, 12 days after, I’d be raped by the same man I gave my virginity to. It was one of the first times as an adult I consciously knew I couldn’t ask my parents for help.

Spring is when a lot of people died around me. And all I could do was helplessly watch. And summer is when I gave myself away again and again. I didn’t want to be the girl that was so traumatized that I started acting out sexually. But I was. Time and time again. Spring summer fall winter.

I could cry writing this. I feel it in my throat, my head heavy and my eyes burning. But what would it do to help? I’m broken, maybe irreversibly so. I can’t forget. And I want so much to forget. I see people loving normal, whole lives and I wonder if i could have had that if my life had been different. If I didn’t go through what I’ve been through. I sort of feel ruined. I think maybe I am. Because every time I smell the spring air, I’m only reminded of the days that shattered me, beyond repair.

Springtime

“Shhhh…”

I laid there, face down, my face smushed into my pillows as my body froze in shock. When you walked in that night, I felt my stomach turn. You’d been asking to come over for ages. I’d turned you down. You and I had always had chemistry, played dirty. But after the time where you claimed you couldn’t hear me, and my progressive spiral into letting you use me after trying to make myself believe it, I didn’t know if I could trust you.

It’d been 3 years. 3 years and you’d saved every picture. You’d text me periodically asking me how I was. You’d said you hadn’t been with anyone since me. To be honest I wasn’t ever sure if I really was into you, but I liked talking to you, and you lavished me in attention. You pursued me. I wondered if my lack of immediate I te rest had more to do with me being stuck up rather than you having some sort of flaw. But after the last time, I didn’t trust it. So I pushed you away for years, until I didn’t.

You’d asked to come over. Said you’d drive to the area, and let me decide from there what I wanted to do. I remember pulling myself together, trying to ease my heart to be calm. I’d seen you before. We’d been together before. There was no reason for me to be so worked up. I threw on some sleep clothes and made myself look decent. I didn’t know what would happen. But I guess I had an idea. I wasn’t against it completely. But I guess I was just scared. I had texted you before and told you how anxious I was, how the last time hurt me and I needed you to be patient with me. Not to try anything. You’d responded kindly saying you completely understood and would be happy just to talk in, see me, give me a hug and then leave. I remember thinking that was so sweet, so I let my guard down some. Now I wish I hadn’t.

I felt you, there, and my hands froze. They’d been grasping at the sheets. I wasn’t sure what was happening. If you were just passing by. I wasn’t sure what your intentions were. Then you pushed, and I felt my breath rush out of me with a force, as if I’d had the air knocked out of me. Immediately I started saying “no no no no” but I couldn’t get my body to respond. I couldn’t shake my fear. My breath was coming out in rapid pants. All you said was “shhh” and “it’s alright sweetheart.” Then you pushed more. And more. And more.

I started to cry realizing what the fuck was happening. But my body was frozen. My pleads and my tears got louder, but you just reprimanded me, hands on shoulders. And I let myself sink. I sunk into the pillows, letting my cries wrack my body. I wasn’t even angry with you. I was angry with me. For trusting. For believing. For hoping.

It felt like an eternity, but it was only a minute or two. You pulled away, not finishing. And I had sunken into this dark place in my head. I couldn’t believe that I was here. Again. Shame are away at me as I tried to rationalize what you did. Accident? Maybe you didn’t hear me? Again? How the fuck did you not hear me again. But I needed to make it make sense. Because even as I sat up, still crying, my hands shaking I knew that something was completely wrong with what just happened.

How could I admit that I’d been raped again? That the guys I tend to like like me pliable and I’d liked them a little rougher. but some liked me more than just pliable. More like a shell. Like a empty being. a toy. How could I confess that I froze. That my fear was the freeze kind. I didn’t know how to fight. My brain just shut down and sent me into a place where I left my body to a degree just so I could withstand what was happening? How could I tell anyone that I let this happen to me. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

You watched me cry, and take a big drink of water. I tried to stay calm and asked you to leave. You tried to comfort me, which made me cry more. I felt sick. I felt betrayed. But by you or by my own doing I couldn’t tell. You tried to hold me but I just needed you leave. To go.

I texted you later, my disbelief finally vocalized, and you said that if we had a safe word like “unicorn”, because I loved unicorns, you would have known to stop. But since we didn’t, you didn’t. But we had never used a safe word. Ever. We never had to. But now it was my fault. Because I let you in. I gave you what you wanted but it wasn’t enough. You stole more. You stole it all. A part of me died that day. Through all the fucked yo stuff I’ve been through in my life, that felt like the cherry on top. The last straw. I can’t take anymore. You got what you wanted, and broke me in the process. I don’t know who I am anymore.

And I don’t like unicorns anymore.

“Shhhh…”

Moving

Two in a day? Who am I? How long will this last?!

Anyway. For the last year and a half or so, I’ve been mentally preparing to move. Renting a basement apartment I’ve known full well that I may need to move soon and have been agonizing that process. So I’ve been looking.

And looking.

And looking.

Not to much avail. After taking a break, my brother mentioned he also was looking to move and in my head I genuinely thought that if I couldn’t live where I live now, or by myself, then I’d want to live with my brother. We’re different, but cut from the same cloth. And we are finally friends instead of bickering children.

For the last few months I’ve been looking. My brother has been working his credit stuff out. I’ve been hunting for places and deals. Last week i finally found one, though, i wasn’t convinced. Then, as I’m leaving to go look at the place with my brother, the family let’s me know they probably aren’t moving for another year.

I am hit with a ton of bricks as well as joy as I try to work this out. Because living here has been so incredibly stable. How do I tell my brother how broken I am? How broken this man made me? And how I’m holding on simply by a thread and my living arrangement is the only thing that keeps me in place right now. Otherwise I don’t know what I’d do.

I can’t tell him I was raped… sodomized. Fucking ripped. I can’t tell him how my body was destroyed underneath the weight of a man who met my tears and my begs with gentle “shhhh”s and “stay still”s. That finally something inside of me broke. After years of fucked up shit happening I feel actually decimated.

I am broken. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get myself back together.

The guilt consumes me, and I wonder if I’d not spoken to this man, trusted him, allowed him in, would he not have done what he did to me. That maybe I’ve just failed my brother and myself, and that being raped, I’ve placed myself in a position where I can’t be there for my brother because I can’t even be there for myself.

The thought sickens me. I feel ill. And I feel angry with myself. I’ve let my brother down. My family down; myself down. Why did I freeze and beg him as if he was going to fucking stop? Why did this happen to me? What is wrong with me? What did I do? I wonder if i could have anticipated what happened better. Where did I go wrong?

The rabbit trail of guilt and self hate is endless. I’d never want to let anyone else know how crushed I actually feel to the core.

That thread is wearing and I’m holding on tight for everyone I’ve let down.

But I have to stay here. Where I live. Because even though I can’t say it aloud, I just don’t know how much more I can take.

Moving

Running

To preface this, I don’t run.

It’s gross. Hot and sweaty. Well that’s how I feel about it.

But mentally I run. All day and all night. Looking for some kind of noise to fill my ears. During my drives music, at work, endless chatter, in the evenings audiobooks and podcasts. At night white noise.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to always challenge others to learn to live the quiet. To learn to sit with themselves, to not shy away from it. But here I am. Running. And the way I run… I don’t like it. It’s dark. But it’s all I know. And even though it scares me it still feels safe.

And I’m afraid. Afraid of memories. Afraid that everything negative that I think and feel about myself will bubble over, and that I won’t be able to breathe anymore. I used to not mind it. But now, I feel the nagging. The pull in my heart when I let things get to quiet. The pain I feel that I’m constantly avoiding because it feels like to much.

I don’t feel ready. Ready to step into what’s slowly killing me. I guess that sounds dramatic but my thoughts have been veering down that windy road.

My friend who knows what happened will ask me how I’m doing. I don’t think much of it. But when she asks, and when I have a moment alone, of quiet, I feel it all. I cry in and instant and I realize how broken I am.

But I never sit with it. Never let it sink in or last, because it hurts too much. But it stays anyway, sitting like a boulder on my chest. Waiting for me to find the courage to push it away.

Or die.

Running

Touch

I went from tactile to nothing.

Lost in the embarace and the eyes of another. The warmth of intimacy. The breath of love swirling its way through and around me.

It was gradual. I didn’t really recognize the loss. I never had it much growing up. Touch. Hugs. Closeness. But I always longed for it. Found it in places my parents didn’t approve of, though now, they’d likely say they were being over protective.

Breath. Warm. Strength. Touch.

My shitty ex. He was there as I was pulling away from an environment and different season of my life. He was there to meet me at that door. He was a man baby, as well as he meant not to be. So he was the one that was held. Believed in. Comforted. Affection given. But I didn’t mind. Because there was touch. Was it safe? No. Was it warm? I suppose. Was it happy? Not at all. But it was close.

I woke up this morning wishing I’d had someone to hold me. Nothing sexual. I’d lose my shit. Just…close. There’s this feeling of grief being absorbed in the arms of someone who loves you even if there are no words shared. I like that. I like the not talking. I like the melting. The breathing.

I’ve spent the last few months hiding in books and novels and podcasts, an art of which requires absolutely no touch. I didn’t realize just how much I was hiding from. Until it gets quiet. And I didn’t know just what I was longing for until the air wasn’t filled with noise. I was lost in another audiobook, when I felt myself sinking. Literally as if my soul sunk back into itself. I felt like I didn’t recognize where I was or who I was. Then I realized that just for a moment, I’d left the dark space. When and for how long, I don’t know. But I felt it’s return.

I think maybe when I was holding my friends baby, I came back to myself. Came back from fear and anxiety, self hatred and distress. I was all smooth curves and caresses, sweet words and tiny hands. The warmth of a baby.

I was all too fondly reminded of how I’ve always loved touch. Showing affection in that way. I think I sank back, only to realize how much I longed to be shown affection. In anyway, but, mostly that way.

So this morning I woke, tears streaming down my face. Wishing someone, maybe anyone, would just hold me. Touch me. Absorb the heaviness. No words shared. No grief bared.

Just touched.

Touch