It feels like fall. It is crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings and the air has snap in it that I associate with fall. For most of my life fall has meant a return to school, for myself when my daughter was younger and later for my daughter. As a single mother, fall always signaled a return to more a regular schedule of school and work with just the occasional holidays and half-days needing childcare. Fall is back to school shopping, school supplies, book bags, lunch boxes, meet the teacher night, Halloween. As a pagan Halloween, called Samhain is the ending of the year, the turning of the wheel. I usually find I am very reflective in the fall, reviewing the year. The year my daughter turned 16 fall changed for me forever, 5 years ago almost.
I was working as a sales manager for a cell phone company in a semi-busy retail store. We worked a lot of hours and were constantly under a lot of stress. I liked my staff and it was mostly easy work but stressful and time consuming. In addition I was salary and commission based pay which meant I made significantly less money if I did not hit my sales quota. We were a retail store, in an economically depressed state this was 2009 and we were not sure if the big 3 auto makers were going to lay off, again. That fall I remember that no one knew who would be cut but everyone knew in January there would be lay offs. So, no one was buying cell phones. In addition I was a single mother, my daughter had proved to be quite challenging and I was in need of assistance I was not really ever going to get. I was also a relatively new home owner. I was overwhelmed but making it, mostly. My work decided to offer free online Spanish classes. I was one of the only in my area to sign up to take the classes. Ugh just starting to write this has my hands trembling, my heart pounding, nausea rising and if I don’t focus on relaxing and breathing my vision will start to tunnel. 5 years and I still tried to convince myself last night it was all in my mind, not true, not true, not true. Anyway, my daughter was just 16 and taking drivers training classes. The teacher would pick the kids up after school and they would drive for hours. Her best friend Darnell took the class with her and either his mother or myself was dropping off and picking up. That evening my daughter was being dropped off. I believe that I worked that day, opened, was probably home by 4 or 5. My class started at 7 or 7:30. It was difficult to log in to. I had never taken an online class before and we all logged into like a site where we could hear each other and interact during the class. I had taken my precepts for Korean Zen Buddhism in April and I was making up my prostrations. I was supposed to do 3000 prostrations before taking my precepts and had hurt my foot which messed with my commitment. I had decided to redo the whole 3000 and had broken them down in to so many a day and was keeping track on a calendar I had printed out. I was doing at least 10 a day sometimes 20. Anyway, I logged into my class, got my book for the class out. I was home alone, wearing a t-shirt and panties. I decided to do as many prostrations as I could before my class started. Prostrations are hard on the knees so I had a system for padding. I would lay out my yoga mat, followed by a blanket, my meditation pad and my zazen cushion placed directly under my descending knees. I no longer do prostrations, for a variety of reasons, but I remember how I liked focusing on them. Prostrations can be like walking meditation and if I allowed myself I could both get lost and find myself in them. Anyway, I was focusing on my prostrations when my phone rang. My phone was never ever off during those days. Even while I was on vacation, I was always on call. As it turned out it was a guy I had dated awhile ago. We had gone on a few dates and stayed friendly when it did not work out. I’ll call him J. J and I had met online, on a free dating website. In fact, the same free dating website that I met my current husband on. Anyway, he is slightly younger than me and a real asshole. I won’t get into his host of issues but let’s suffice it to say he hid them and they came out over the course of our early dating. We dated for like 6 weeks maybe, during which he was wanting to have sex from the first date. My first husband, the father of my daughter was abusive sexually, physically and emotionally and I am always cautious with men. He claimed to really like me but was weird about sex. Anyway, when we finally do go to have sex he suffers from erectile dysfunction. I don’t make a big deal out of it but it makes him nasty and we stop dating. We continue to talk on the phone and as the months and eventually a year pass, we even tell each other about our various dating escapades. His job required that he drive around in the evenings and at night. He lived more than an hour from me but would be in my area regularly during his work shift. He called me that evening as I was doing my prostrations in the computer room waiting for my class to start. I believe I had talked to or texted him earlier that day and told him that my daughter had drivers training. I bet you can kind of see where this is going, sadly 5 years ago I could not. Anyway, he was out driving and in need of a restroom. I lived in a “working class” neighborhood and many of the bathrooms in the restaurants or gas stations were none too clean. It seems to me that this is something he did, not often, but regularly enough that I did not think anything of it. I sometimes wonder if he always knew he was going to do that or if something I did made him decide. I may have answered the door in my t-shirt. Actually the truth is my door was probably unlocked and open. Only now is my door always locked, always. He may have just called out and come in. I don’t really have a memory. The memories of this trauma are strange. They are right there, beneath the surface. I feel like if I focused I could remember every detail of that day but I don’t reach for it, ever. Anyway, he came in, went to the bathroom and came into the computer room where I was doing prostrations. He sat in my computer chair and I remember sitting on the prostration padding and chatting with him. I had a dog, Chaos. He looked much larger than he was and poor thing I gave him away a couple of years later. It was not until I saw a therapist that I realized I had anger issues with my dog not protecting me, sigh. Sorry Chaos. Chaos was an Alaskan Malamute mix. I adopted him as an adult and he was beautiful. He looked like a wolf but was so very gentle. I had the animal planet on in the living room, Chaos would sit on the couch and watch it. Otherwise he was in the way while I was doing prostrations. I can’t remember when J closed the computer room door. I did not even notice it at the time but later I realized that he was afraid Chaos would attack him. I don’t remember what we talked about or how he ended up trying to kiss me or some such nonsense. I did not feel panicked at first. I have a lot of male friends and often they flirt and it never goes anywhere and on we move. I did not feel any panic even when we were struggling. I do remember thinking it was last time I was going to let him in my house. He was an immature asshole but usually he just said mean stuff. I think it was when he pulled my panties off that I realized he meant business. I don’t have a memory of telling him no, don’t or stop, but I’m sure I did. We were not making out, sitting next to each other or holding hands; at some point he decided to try to kiss me or hug me and I laughingly was trying to turn him down. A struggle ensued and for some reason I did not realize what was happening until my panties were being pulled down my leg. I kinda remember a what the fuck type statement and he was inside of me. I mostly remember panic, pain and looking over at my computer screen. The spanish class had started and I could hear the tinny sound of the spanish words coming out of the headphones next to the keyboard. I remember he left the door open and Chaos came and laid next to me on the floor. I remember laying there knowing I had to get up and clean up. I could not let my daughter find me like this. I’m not sure at what point I decided that I had not been raped. I could not deal with it. I could not admit that I allowed something like that to happen to me. I decided that rape was just sex and I had plenty of unpleasant sex before and this was no different. I packed up my yoga mat, meditation cushion, zazen, blanket, and put it all in heavy duty black garbage bags. I reordered replacements from Amazon at some later point. I don’t think my daughter ever asked about it. I took a shower followed by a very hot bath. It was just sex, I told myself. He also told me it was just sex repeatedly by text. It was quite difficult to block his texts as he changed carriers at one point to the carrier I worked for. As a manager it was not possible for me to not speak to customers and I could not admit even to myself what had happened. It was a mantra that I repeated to myself until I cracked. I stopped meditating. I did not have my cushion as I had been raped on it. I can remember receiving the replacement and not wanting to touch it. I set it up in front of my altar but could not not make myself sit there. I managed to function for over 60 days like that. I went to work, which was brutal by that point PTSD had set in and having people behind me was rough. Fast forward 2 months, I had dated my current husband previously and we still talked online. I was having computer problems and he came to fix my computer. We started dating again. About a month later I told him via text message what had happened. Not much, just that I was raped. It broke a barrier within me. I started to be panicked all of the time. I could not leave the house, than if I could make myself get into the car I could not get out it when I got the to store. I can remember crying in the grocery store parking lot, wanting desperately to get out of the car. I stopped being able to handle people stopping by or showing up. It became difficult for me to open the door. I flat out quit going to work. I was hospitalized for depression and anxiety and too heavily medicated. I could push my memories aside waking but in sleep they come back with a vengeance. At one point I was being raped over and over again in my dreams. It became difficult for me to know what was real and what was not. I lacked the ability to really explain that this was happening to me. I did not parent my daughter at all. She just ran wild and got into trouble. It was insane. I kept trying to make good decisions that would offer relief. Instead I was making worse and worse decisions and spiraling further and further down. By March I was checking out my how my death benefits paid out and just what my daughter was entitled to. I could not continue to hang around and be raped all night in my dreams and none of the medicine they gave me helped. I was seeing a psychiatrist who I am not sure believed me ever about the rape. She was pissy I did not tell her when it happened? I don’t know but she kept trying to send me back to work. I kept trying to explain that I could NOT do that. The more I told her the more she medicated me. It was not good. Not any of it. I could not meditate at all. I don’t know how to describe the loss of that. My life was crazy and meditation made it work. It balanced me, it softened my rough edges, it maintained my sanity. The rape stole that from me. It was years, years before I could meditate again. Even now if I am having a hard time meditation is bad. I can not stop the loop of the rape and I associate meditation with it. Last year I lived by a lake and was able to finally meditate again. Now I find yoga can do what meditation used to. It is not the same and I resent the loss.


2 thoughts on “Fall

  1. Oh my love. I am very proud of you for writing this done. Letting it have no more power over you.

    I AND Lizzy love you.

    I will call in a bit.

    Hugs my love. ♡♡

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