Yesterday I had what we had hoped would be a closure meeting with my therapist. Everything was going well, I had more confidence and didn’t feel anxious. Then near the end of the appointment she asked me about Valentine’s Day. Everything slowly crumbled under me. At first it was just a general dislike of the holiday, and to be fair, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. I love romance, but hate the holiday. Then it spiraled into a conversation about physical intimacy and any hangups I might have in that department. Oh boy. The crumbling apart sped up.
I confessed that I did have problems with physical intimacy, that I had to move slower in that department then I used to before the assault. I am so messed up still, that sometimes one moment I’m completely okay with being touched and a few minutes later I don’t want you touching me. I don’t even want you looking at me. The guy usually hasn’t said or done anything wrong either, it’s just this immediate turn-off, instantaneous freeze on my part, and I don’t know what’s triggered it or why it’s there, it just is. This is so frustrating for me, because one of the major ways I communicate with someone, especially someone I care about, is through touch.
She recommended that I just take a time out when these moments hit. She suspects that when those moments hit me, that I’m probably subconsciously picking up on cues that these touches are leading to sex, and that I may feel it’s going too fast, or that I’m being objectified because whoever I’m with might be thinking more of himself than of me in those moments. So these cues are causing me to shut down. I need to try just taking a time out and just being with my partner, and if he’s not okay with that, lose him. I’m pretty good at losing guys, it’s getting a guy who’s willing to move slow so as to not scare me, and take the time to make sure I’m comfortable with him that’s hard. I’m single right now, and I’ve been single for a few years now. Apparently, the thought of opening myself up to a vulnerable state is still very hard for me to do. I’d like to though.
I don’t know when I’ll find someone, or even if I will. I’m not sure if my hang-ups are too much for someone to handle and deal with. My therapist seems to think I will. I don’t know if she’s also psychic or what, but she’s confident that I’m going to meet someone and he’ll be worth it all because he’ll be patient and loving. I certainly hope so. I can’t do casual sex anymore. I’ve done it before, but I’m at a point in my life where if I’m not with someone I trust and love, I just can’t do it. It’s terrifying enough just thinking about being with someone who I love and care about, I can’t even begin to imagine being with someone who didn’t love me, and who I didn’t love. I don’t think I could trust them, and that may be sad, but it’s true.
She wouldn’t let me leave on time. She knew we had uncovered a sleeping ghost, so kept me for an additional thirty minutes. I have no idea if she had an appointment scheduled for after me, but if she did, I’m so sorry I made you wait half an hour, but I was not ready to leave that office and face the world. As I was leaving her office, I was unsure, and as I told a friend via text message, I was so insecure. It felt like everything was in shades of grey. I walked back to my car and thought to myself, “Why can’t I get over this? Why am I stuck on this hang-up? Will I ever get over it, or am I doomed to be like this for the rest of my life? If I ever find someone and that’s the case, I really hope he has a lot of patience. That poor man. He’d be better off running.”
I had to miss my ballet class because of the appointment going over, which was even more frustrating for me. I went home after meeting my mom and a friend for lunch and just passed out. I was so exhausted, it was like I’d run a marathon. Woke up and went to see Wicked. It was amazing! I had a great time with my mom experiencing the show! I left smiling and in a great mood. I thought that maybe that was all I had needed and now I could go back to being upbeat and positive. It was not to be. Instead, I had the night from hell.
I spent my night tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep, but scared to at the same time, because every time I did fall asleep, I’d have nightmares and wake up crying or moaning. I kept dreaming that I was in this strange building and this man raped me. I remember thinking every time “Not again… I can’t do this again, can’t go through this again.” But it happened again. And again and again and again. Afterwards, I’d try to call the police and these other people kept telling me I was a horrible person, and a liar, and that nothing had happened. They’d make lewd gestures at me and laugh these horrible laughs. I hurt so bad, emotionally and physically. No one cared about me, it was like reliving the original rape all over again, just with different people and different circumstances. I woke up more exhausted than I went to sleep as. I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position, hiding in my closet, and not step foot out. The world was a cruel, terrible place again and I wanted no part of it. I was literally sick to my stomach and could not eat. I forced myself to eat a little bit anyway, because I was not going to miss class. It was not happening.
I got myself ready and cried all morning getting ready and on my drive to school, but I was determined to go. Even if it meant hundreds of people seeing me cry, because I was not letting these awful dreams and feelings keep me home. IK can’t have any more power over my life, no more dictating where I go and when I go. Those are MY decisions. I may not be very strong, and I may not be able to look people in the eye or walk with my head up high on days like today, but I will be damned if I don’t go just because I am afraid. This is my life, and I will go where I want to go and when I want to, because it’s my decision.
My ballet teacher is amazing. Seriously. I broke down in her office and she handed me a tissue and said this was absolutely the right decision. When going through hell, dance works as a fantastic means to take your mind off of everything, and this could be the only hour and a half I get today to not think about what’s bothering me. She kept on me extra hard, to ensure I had no spare seconds to dwell even slightly on it. Bless that woman. She was completely right, and I even managed to smile in class. I worked very hard and found I felt better. My next class was difficult, because thoughts did come back, and I did cry again. Thankfully, I had another dance class afterwards, and without being told a damn thing, it was like my contemporary dance teacher knew. She pushed me hard to really focus on every little movement I made and again, I had no room to think about anything besides what I was doing in that very moment.
Now I’m exhausted, ready to crash, but I feel so much better than I did earlier. I don’t know where the strength to push forward came from, but I’m thankful it was there. I’m also thankful for all the people who care enough about me to send me encouraging messages and texts throughout today, or when they saw me, to stop and give me a hug and let me cry on their shoulder for a bit. You all are amazing, and I know you know who you are. You helped me get through today, honestly.
If I can get through days like today, I can do anything. To quote Mariah Carey’s “Through the Rain”:
I can make it through the rain
I can stand up once again on my own
And I know that I’m strong enough to mend