I’ve read some studies that say that failure is actually a healthy part of life and that if you look at it from the right perspective it’s actually a positive experience.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I am on one this morning and if I had my gloves I would be at the gym right now taking it out on a punching bag. I am furious and sad and hurt all at the same time and typically when I really want to cry, I punch things instead.
OKAY my perfectionism is screaming at me. So I’m just going to go for it and finish this post before it drives me to hit delete.
Oh and by the way, I might just get a job as a model for an art class. Me. A model. Did not see that one coming.
Anyways I am feeling horrible. I have all these emotions that I want to express but I am sitting here with a blank face, trying to get my stupid brain to cognate so I can finish my homework. Did I mention I think I flunked my Samoan midterm? We had to tell a legend in Samoan and I just did not get to it and I wasn’t sure that the Samoan was right and I stuttered all over the place and other people read or they already speak fluent Samoan. I get a shot at a retake on Friday and I will have to do that or I will be in serious trouble.
I have family in town (and if you remember I have the attention span of the average adult squirrel, you will have compassion on the fact that I am going to topic jump for this entire post), my aunt and uncle, and I’m trying to pull together time to meet up with them and have dinner and go to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Out of nowhere. We shall see how that goes! Did I mention I’m moving? Did I mention my landlady just up and left for Brisbaine this morning?
I feel like I’m going to start laughing and cry at the same time.
I was going to go home and bake brownies for the Tongans who are supposed to help me move, but I feel like I’m going crazy right now. I feel twitchy, like I just need to be doing something and not feeling. And I know why!
Not only did I have a fun experience with my vaginismus this week that triggered horrible body shaming, and get seriously angry with a Tongan manfriend over something extremely offensive in my culture (which is perfectly acceptable in his culure) and try to hold myself back from tracking him down to have it out with him, I also am having my earliest memories of the sexual abuse surfacing.
Last night I started to hear this voice, sometimes it happens when I’m about to remember something. PTSD is like an out of body experience. If you don’t have it, you won’t get it.
Imagine you hear a voice of your younger self saying “No, I’m scared. I can’t tell you. I’m scared. He’s going to kill me. He’s going to kill me.” And sometimes it’s out of sequence “It hurts its hurting me. It hurts it hurts it hurts. I can’t stop him. I can’t stop him.”
And then I see a window. I’m standing just besides a flight of stairs that goes into an unfinished basement. Through the window I can see green grapevines and a pair of rubber workboots. I can see the lifted wooden box that holds up a garden. I can see sunlight shining through the window.
And then everything blacks. I see a little girl, wearing her dad’s old t-shirt, standing in a dark hallway. She sees me. She says “I can’t tell you. He’ll kill me. I’m scared.”
And something in therapy that they taught me to do is called Internal Family Systems, so you visualize parts of your personality as beings. One of mine is a warrior, one is like an angel, another is depression, and another one is a Native American warrior woman. She’s a master scout, a healer, and the center of my spirituality. I also have the survivor and she has two forms. Sometimes she is in athletic clothing. She is the one who shuts down feelings and shoves people away, she is the protector. She recently has begun to show herself in battle armor as a veteran. She has dings and scrapes all over her once golden armor, she carries a heavy weapon. Her body is muscular and lean from hard times. Her face is beautiful but her eyes are somber and dark. There is something tired about her, something ancient. As though she has aged a hundred years in spirit, but has the young body of a twenty year old woman.
Now when you identify these parts of yourself, it helps you understand more about how your mind and self work together, what influences your actions. When the mind can make sense of something, it tends to resolve and gives you power over your internal reactions.
“Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”.
That is about what she looks like. Anyways to help me remember I used her as a bridge. I imagined her kneeling down to talk to the little girl. I wanted her to say “Don’t be afraid” but then I realized that was a really stupid thing to tell a little girl who was about to tell an adult, at the threat of her life, the truth about something so horrible that happened to her, she would carry those secrets for the next 15 years. That that little girl not only survived it, but fought to live.
It would have been a very stupid thing to say, so instead I imagined the woman- who you will note, never touched the little girl to comfort her, told her
“It is all right to be scared. But you must have courage for me to protect and to help you. When we know the truth, we can heal and move forward, but not until you are brave enough to tell the truth.”
So the little girl nods and then I see the room again and the window. And then everything goes black again. And I realize that the warrior in my memory has taken up a position at the stairs behind little me, and that the scout (the Native American woman) has come into the room. Her presence temporarily brings vision back and then I feel the sensation of a sticky, wet penis in my mouth. I choke. Everything blacks and I just feel it in my mouth and I feel vomit rise in the back of my throat and I’m choking on it. I hate it I’m afraid and disgusted but it also feels good and I feel powerful hatred partnered with the fear that has me frozen, with my stepgrandfather’s cock in my mouth.
And the Native American scout says quietly “So that’s when it happened.”
And then it all disappears and I am left lying on a mat in Oahu, across the ocean from the rapist, tortured by pain so real it has overcome my body, so overcome that I cannot even cry even though all the emotions hit me like a physical blow. My body and mind broken by a man who walks free, raping other little girls, and I can do nothing to stop him.
That’s just one night of having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I have had PTSD for almost a thousand days and nights.
Close your eyes, and imagine for a moment what that feels like.
And I will also note that I can’t eat sausage or bananas and I have phallophobia which means I vomit or have a panic attack at the sight or even the thought of a penis. In treatment that came up and I also can’t eat chicken anymore. They challenged me in treatment to force myself to eat it anyways to take back and separate the foods from my fear but I could not bear to do it.
I didn’t have any memories tied to oral rape then, but now, seven months later, the piece is finally fitting into place. Hopefully it will help free me to move forward rather than triggering another episode of the darkest depression you can imagine.
And did I also mention I’m in college in Hawaii taking 15 credits and dancing and trying to get a job while all this is happening. On the outside my life must look so normal. People think I am the happiest person.
But there are no monsters under my bed, they are all in my head. And they follow me everywhere I go, pulling at the darkest shadows of my past, grinding glass into me, and pulling memories back.
It would be so much easier to just punch him in the face. But nothing that could be done to him on this earth could ever equate what he has done to me. In fact, death would be too easy a mercy for a man who rapes children. Hell, even, would be too kind.
People say often, that the best way to get through it is to forgive the rapist. But I will never forgive him. I will never love him. My goal is to take my life back and live it fully and wonderfully despite him. I am stronger than him. I am stronger than rape. And I won’t give up. Ever.
I have to go to class soon. I feel like I’m drugged with sorrow now. And yet I will smile, and nod, and fill out my worksheets and take notes. I am the master of smoke and mirrors and today I need to pull off my finest performance. Wish me luck.