Reclaiming Me

***This was written a little more than 2 months ago after a therapy session. What is surprising to me in this is my
disconnect from my rape. I shy away from details, I blame myself. The rape has no detail but the Spanish class. I had recently begun working with my therapist to discuss details of the incident. By denying the incident as I did I lessened the intensity but at the cost of my spirit. As I begin to stitch the memories back together I realize that the overall shape has changed. Not the details themselves but the color, odor and sound. I can remember traffic noises, the tv, the smell of his detergent/fabric softener (original Gain), etc. It reminds me in a way of the movie Pleasantville. Everything is in black and white when the siblings first arrive in Pleasantville. The people are happy but not really as their lives are dull and scripted. When you see the red apple it is stunningly red. That is kind of how remembering and acknowledging my rape has been. By denying, even to myself, my rape I created a black and white and falsely real like world like that of Pleasantville before color. In it I had a role I played and could not stop playing no matter what it cost me. Even though the script was destroying my very soul. The red apple for me was the tinny Spanish class in the head phones set which was sitting next to my open Spanish book which was really more similar to a 3 ring binder. The detail stood out immediately when I began to discuss it haltingly still with my therapist. It is the anchor I used to explore my story from. Ah, perhaps the red apple is from The Giver by Lois Lowry. My hubby and I just took my niece to see the movie 2 weeks ago and I just today finished the quartet. The red is the first color Jonas sees in the gray world of The Giver. I prefer the comparison to Pleasantville better. Once I began to focus on one detail the others begin to come into focus. Without effort or any pushing I begin to remember a more complete, less choppy narrative. I also realize some of my fear and panic is enhanced by the not knowing. Not acknowledging the details leaves me consumed with the emotions. What a number I did on myself. This is one of my very first attempts to explore this and it is choppy. The post I wrote and posted earlier was written today from the further I have been able to reclaim that memory.
My therapist said something interesting to me when I was in his office yesterday. He said that “J”, does not own me. I feel like he does. Haunting me all day is his face. I can see him out of the corner of my eye, blurry, but there. Every unexpected knock at the door, every loud noise the neighbors make and my heart pounds, saliva gathers in my mouth, I feel nausea rise low and heavy in my belly, my breath whistling between my parted lips and my knees trembling. For awhile all of my days were like this, like too much stimulation, bright lights after 90 minutes in a darkened theatre, overwhelming and physically painful. I have always been a great communicator but for some reason I could not make anyone around me understand that for some reason this event, this one singular event, nothing that had not happened to me before, an event lasting in reality probably less than 20 minutes? 15? 10? Was more than I could take. Is in fact the moment my soul shattered. Wow, almost 5 years now and I am still trying to find all of the pieces that scattered that day. I don’t really know. It seemed like forever. I lay there on that mat looking at the computer screen. My class had started by that time and I could see the pictures and text flash across the screen. I could hear tinny Spanish words from the headset on the computer desk. I just lay there. I don’t know how long. When he left, he left the computer room door open and at some point Chaos had come in and lay down next to me on the floor. His large body warm and reassuring, his stinky dog breath strangely comforting. I’m not sure at what point I decided to lie to myself about what had happened. I could not open my mouth to tell a stranger what happened. I still wasn’t completely sure I knew what happened. It was like a nightmare. Not like on tv or like last time or like I thought at all. There would be no way to keep it from my daughter. No, she and I were struggling so much. I was in trouble at work, my daughter was struggling, no way could I take another dramatic event. No way was I admitting that happened to me. That I had been too weak to stop it. That after more than 15 years I was again a victim. I thought I left that girl behind with my ex-husband and my childhood. By the time I was 19 I was separated, a mother and a college student. It took me years, more than 3 before I could even contemplate dating a man ever again. To say I was damaged by my experience is to put it mildly. It took me years of spiritual work to recover but I did. I was not even bitter. I was so proud of myself for walking away. It was awful but I figured that was my horror story and really it was lucky that I was young enough to enjoy the benefit of my experience for a lifetime. Somehow I thought I was insulated from it happening again, like lightning never striking twice. Which is not true by the way, I once read online about a man somewhere down south who had been struck by lightning twice and survived. 
The moments that change your life are so ordinary. Sun shining, nice weather. It seems like how can the sun continue to rise and set, doesn’t the very earth beneath my feet must feel my pain. Like everything should pause it hurts so bad. It lends itself to a very surreal feeling. Everything looks and sound the same but no way is this my life. It seems the sameness of everything carries you through. In time I came to be grateful that world continued as my little corner was irrevocably altered forever. It moved on and was waiting for me when I could join it again.


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