Yesterday was a bad day I told her. She asked what made it bad? I told her it was my anger and frustration, crying and feeling so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. She urged me to not let him continue to control me. It was then that I fully grasped that she didn’t understand what it was like, not really. I do not fault her because up until last week I didn’t get it either. So I want to try to explain it.
It has permeated my being. The most prevalent thing is my decision making. It’s difficult. Because now I second guess myself. And third guess myself. And fourth guess myself. I don’t trust me to take care of me and that’s perhaps the scariest feeling in the world for someone who previously saw herself and self-sufficient and independent.
I don’t trust my intuition because we were the ones that invited him over that night. My gut is currently on trial. How could I have not known? I’ve asked myself a million times where the red flags were and how they could have escaped me?
Then there’s smaller things. I don’t want to wear make up because he told me how beautiful I was. I don’t want to wear perfume because he remarked how everything even my bedding smelled like me. The bedding he held my face down in so that for what felt like eternity all I smelled was that perfume. I never want to smell it again.
I haven’t wanted to wear anything attention-seeking. Which as it turns out is more than half my wardrobe. I’ve never felt so far away from who I was. I feel splintered in a way much more absolute than after the accident or after my miscarriage.
What I’ve learned so far is that he may have raped my body, disregarding my wishes and asserting his dominance continually temporarily igniting the fire of his manhood. But he did so at the expense of my Self. Not damaging my core but all the shelter I kept around her to maintain her safety. So when I get questions that ask me how I am? I want to answer, “I’m fragile. I’m vulnerable. I’m hurting. I’m exposed.” When I’m asked how long will he continue to control me its confusing because this (healing) is not about him. Yes it is the residual of an unwanted invasion, but I do not choose to make it about him when I frame it that way in my mind. Because then each step in repair would be done out of fear, and I am instead choosing to operate out of love (for my Self).
It is difficult to learn to trust yourself again. To become frustrated when you need to just put on clothes but to spend so much time thinking about the messages your clothes communicate. To see the hundreds of dollars of beauty products currently going to waste and feeling so insignificant as the latest You just needs to be seen for and as who she is. Be it sad or be it happy, I don’t have a desire to pretend with people.
That is, I supposed, the one thing I can say has been interesting about me. I’ve chosen not to house the shame of the act. Of being a victim of sexual assault. It happened. I carry a lot of things with me as I heal but shame is one I put down early. I am okay if people know. It gave me permission to be exactly how I felt in my daily life. I tout that I am in repair and it is no secret. I have tried not to judge myself for needing help, for accepting help. I have allowed myself permission to ask for it when I need it.
I am becoming more aware that I won’t be the same me that I was before. That Jessica already feels untouchable. But the process of becoming this new me….it is bitter work. But I have the opportunity to lay good ground. And so I will take it. With more truth telling. Less hiding and covering up. Less stoicism. More authenticity. Less me and more us. I refuse to believe God allowed this awful thing to happen and for it to have been to my detriment. My resilience through this healing process is going to be noteworthy. I may be shaky and I may cry but I won’t always. I have to be patient with myself. Kind to myself. Bury shame and blame and guilt and water them with love. My reaction will say more of who I am than the act ever would.