Cue struggle/recovery phase in which I am frequently brain accosted with the image of being penetrated by a greedy indiscriminate budging phallus slicked with primordial snot and covered in an oppressively thick layer of tiny diseased insects frantically climbing over one another.
I am haunted by images like this; Not only was I incapable of consent to the sexual activity in itself due to being ranting breakdown drunk, we ‘negotiated’ foregoing my long-established boundary that we always use protection without my having the knowledge that he’d been fucking someone else without it for months.
When that visual strikes me, I feel marked. I feel slimed and profoundly disgusted. My legs close tighter, and my guts fold over themselves like I have been invaded by an evil opportunistic disease. Occupied by lies and self serving opportunity. Like my body, and to a degree my trust, simply isn’t mine, anymore.
Oftentimes I respond involuntarily with coughing and deep gagging. I stop and wretch periodically, for seemingly no reason, to the outside world.
When this started happening with me a few days ago, I slowly realized that I was also plagued with another issue: My throat has felt constricted and closed off, as if I were being physically strangled by tiny ghosts.
After a little noticing, I realized it was because I felt like being vocal at all about how what happened is manifesting in me, and being honest that it fucked me up and continues to be something I am struggling with in the back of my mind and in my body, is somehow a burden, or too raw, or too.. something. Like my experience wasn’t violent or malicious or horrible enough for me to deserve to be seen about it.
I wondered if owning that it was textbook second degree rape made me the bad one somehow, and maybe I felt self stifled because I should stop using that awful triggery word in favor of contriving something more poetic and approving.
I wondered if my trepidation regarding my concern that any person I approach with vulnerability about this will dub my response as unjustified, or choose to empathize with the poor guy who chose to rape me and violate some of my most important personal boundaries, was stronger than the rest of me. If I really believed I would just feel more alone and fucked up about it than I did in my silence.
After about two days of this, I shared these visuals with someone, to work my way out of that shame and tinyness. And it was a good choice; He was empathetic and right there with me, wretching a little bit himself. It was an important step, and it helped us know one another better.
Seriously. Fuck that shame and tinyiness. I was taken advantage of by someone who chose to be a self serving opportunist and betrayed the depth of his continued disrespect for my established boundaries as well my personal well being. I was raped by this person and it fucking sucks and it feels horrible and I’m responding exactly as any sane visual processor artist type person would.
“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life…….”
― Akshay Dubey
These visions are good for me. They are healthy. Being appalled and self protective is healthy. Feeling violated is healthy. I know this, because I know what an unhealthy response looks like. And I think, having known only that coping before, it just took me some time to get used to who I am now.
So who am I now?
I am, in fact, not armoring up about it, staying enraged, going on a revenge rampage, trying to complicate his life or hurt him out of spite or a need to get back at him for anything, like part of me still expects I should.
Instead, I am taking care of myself, continuing to live my life, investing in my own future, and feeling things other than this fucked up creepy stuff. I am taking worthwhile emotional risks in my friendships, setting healthy boundaries, and trusting in fewer and fewer people; only those who have genuinely earned and continue to earn that trust.
I am not internalizing the bad behavior I am allowing myself to be feeling the effects of (BRAVELY, MIGHT I ADD; SUPER HARD FOR ME KTHNX) by acknowledging the reality of what that is looking like. And I am not being a bad person by having the stones and the desire to share my story with others.
Most importantly, and probably most uncomfortably, I am not making excuses for what this person did. I am not compassion baiting myself, shaming myself for not spending more of my effort feeling sorry for him, or spending my precious energy trying to see things his way. I have no interest in being a part of his recovery or his life. And I am not feeling as though I can’t move on from him or the trauma without reconciling, or making my trust being violated by his choices my fault.
Acknowledging is not the same as wallowing. I am far from comfortable; but I actually think I’m doing pretty fucking well, all considering.