The day I realized I needed to make a change – a real honest to god no holds barred take no prisoners sink or swim set the world on fire and figure out who the hell I really am underneath it all change – was the day I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office just a couple of months ago and he told me that I’m perfect. “Perfectly imperfect,” he said. And I cried. I sobbed. I ugly cried. Right there in front of him. Big huge tears and wracking sobs and ugly snot running down my face. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t believe him. Perfect? Me?! Hell no! I’m anything but! I’ve tried and I’ve tried, and oh hell have I tried. But I’m not even close. Nope. Not even in the same atmosphere as anything relatively close to perfect.
I hate this. HATE.IT.
I feel like the aftermath is eating me alive, cell by cell. A slow and painful death. He rips me apart limb by limb. Shoving my face in his muddy entrails. Clawing and shredding any possible ounce of humanness out of me. He laughs maniacally and spits poison in my face. Grabs me by the throat and throttles me until I’m choking so hard I’m actually wishing for my own final breath. And then he releases, quietly slinking back into the shadows.
I’m never sure when he will rear his fierce and ugly head again. He leaves me walking on eggshells. Looking over my shoulder. Only half sleeping, with both eyes always open. Keeping all the heavy armor strapped on as tightly as I can.
And then. Then.
Just at that one tiny tender moment when I falter and become vulnerable. He erupts and comes raging at me in a fiery thunder. All gale force winds and ominous dark clouds and pounding crushing waves. Through all my layers of protective armor. Over every last wall I’ve so painstakingly built. Crashing through the silence. Unbounded from his meager cage. An army of one, ready for war. Forcing my eyes wide open, to stare into his hideous face. To make me watch as he joyfully starts his butchery all over again.
And once he’s had his way and is satiated by the bloodshed he finally declares victory. Leaving only tears and heartbreak and carnage in his wake.
I’m too tired to resist. I have nothing left worth taking.
This is a tough one. For me and for you. It’s a first. It’s the first time so much detail has been written, shared, looked in the eye. Remembered. Faced. It’s the first time a lot of you will learn what I endured. That I endured. It’s the first time I’ve made my own choice to go back, to remember, to document, to share, to endure all over again. On my own terms. To admit. Despite all the shame and self-blame. All the feelings of paralyzing fear, the nightmares, the looks over the shoulder, the locking of doors and covering of windows, the strategically worn clothing, the cowering in the corner, the not making eye contact, the lies, the pain, the excuses.
I trust myself enough to share this now. And I trust you enough now, too. Not to judge. Not to pity. That’s not what I’m asking for. I was in a situation and although it took 8 years, I got myself out. Alive. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want to educate. I want to bring light to a shameful disease that happens more than we’d like to admit. To our friends and our daughters, nieces, aunts, mothers, sisters, good students going to good schools, with good friends, driving nice cars. It happens. Far too much. Yet far too little is being said about it. It’s still silenced and hushed and whispered about. Not our kids. Not at our school. Not here. Not us. But open your eyes dammit! It IS here. It IS us. OUR kids! OUR friends! YOUR daughter! HER friend! THAT girl!
So fair warning. This is all painful truth, and I only take us both so far, but it is triggering. If you can’t read it, that’s your own personal choice for your own personal reasons. I respect that. No apologies.