The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

Archive for the tag “PTSD”

Hearts Held Together With Duct Tape and Superglue

    One of the things you begin to realize as you go through the healing process after an assault, is that there are parts of you that are irreparably broken. It’s not that you don’t want to fix them, it’s that they can’t be fixed. Other things can be fixed, and they get fixed in time… if and when we are ever ready to handle those broken pieces. Regardless of whether or not they can be fixed, we try to superglue and duct tape the pieces back together anyway. This usually causes deformed shapes.  Honestly, most of the time I wonder if on the inside I’m like the hunchback of Notre Dame, just instead of physically being deformed, my emotions and means of processing the things around me are deformed. These internal deformities cause me all kinds of problems, but this even more compounded when a man is in the mix.

 From what I understand, no one likes to be rejected. You can correct me if I’m wrong, and you either are or know someone who greatly enjoys being rejected, but I have never met anyone who does. This sense of rejection, whether falsely or not, is heightened in the walking wounded. Every little action, behavior, and word is analyzed to death. What did he mean by that? By this? Obviously he’s rejecting me. Whether or not I was really rejected, probably remains to be seen. However, that is how *I* see it. Rejected. Every little slight, perceived and actual, beat down on every chink and hole in my poorly held together emotional state of being. It turns out that a heart held together with duct tape and superglue while missing pieces, has no real defense. Like any good captain though, I remain at the helm. I will go down with my ship.

     You may wonder why a person would allow another in anywhere near the chinks in their armor, if they’re not sure if they’re going to be rejected or not. Valid question. In my experience, it is better to open yourself up to the possibility of pain, then to keep everyone out until they have shown they will not reject you. Besides, they’re humans. Humans hurt humans. That person is going to hurt me eventually, might as well see what they do from the get-go, right?

     I have been up since 8am on Thursday. PTSD triggers have been pulled, and I can’t sleep. I feel insignificant. Unimportant. Unattractive. I want to vanish. It would be great to pack up my bags and just leave. No telling anyone, just leaving. Unfortunately, I can’t. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t run anymore. I will face this monstrous beast of laughing insecurity and torturous self-loathing head on. I want to bleed. I am feeling less than human again, and bleeding always serves as a release and reminder that I am human. I will not cave. I will not start a fight, nor will I harm myself. I can’t. I always feel so weak afterwards, like I might as well just concede defeat. There has to be a better way to remember I’m human; to get that release. These ugly things that I am reminded of as this latest episode rolls across my life like a tsunami, pick their way through the holes in my defenses even more, creating huge, gaping holes. I feel so beat up and used. I can’t seem to remember what it feels like to not feel like a broken doll. Again, I torture myself wondering, who the fuck could ever love a woman such as I? A woman who will not be able to love the way she wants to every day, as some days the dissociation is so bad, that I can’t feel a damn thing? I remember that I am supposed to feel something, but I don’t- nor can I be bothered to care that I don’t feel anything. 

     Some days, I can’t help but still wonder if it wouldn’t have been kinder and more humane if he had have just gone all the way and beat me to death. I was so physically changed anyway after he raped and beat me, what would a little bit more have done? I don’t know. Maybe if I could ever get to fucking sleep, I could feel differently. 

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Stream of Consciousness Post #1

I don’t know if I’ll be doing any more of these, but I was in this weird place and couldn’t think of any other way to get it out. So I did a journal entry in the stream of consciousness style. This is what was the end result.

And no, I’m not going to explain it. Or apologize for it. Sometimes what goes on through my head isn’t pretty. Go read someone else’s blog if you’re looking for pretty.

 

Rage.

Cold, hard rage.

Breaking.

Breaking down.

FUCK.

Smashing shit, smashing your shit.

Fuck you.

Bleed.

Make me bleed….

I need to feel the pain,

The sweet fucking release.

HURT ME.

Why isn’t anyone listening??

Fuck fuck fuck.

Cold.

 

In other news, I now feel better. Still spun up, don’t know if I can sleep, but I feel better. Which brings me to my next point: do whatever is therapeutic for you. Those of us with PTSD can’t always control the way we feel, but we can work through it. Sometimes that means doing something, writing something, or saying something that others either can’t, or don’t want to deal with. Fuck them. The goal is to release, not make everyone else feel all happy and fluffy. Sometimes, you feel like what I just wrote above. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it becomes a problem when you ignore it, not when you recognize it and find a way to release it. That is all.

I also should probably state that the way stream of consciousness entries work is that you write everything that pops in your head. You don’t question it. You don’t edit it. You don’t stop. Anything that comes into your head, you write it down. Sometimes you have a time goal, and you just write something like “I don’t know what to write” until your mind pushes something to the front. Other times, like the way I did it, is you just keep writing until your mind stops pushing things forward and there are no more words, just silence.  Have fun, and be well.

I’m sure I’ll hear back some interesting things if anyone has the balls to say anything.

-D

I Like My Eggs Unfertilized, or Adventures In The Meat Market

I was talked into going to the club. Those of you who have known me for a few years now know I hate the club. It’s a walking, grinding, thumping meat market. So much worse than bars. I went anyway. They’ve been trying to get me to go for a while now, because who doesn’t love dancing? I love dancing. I just don’t love clubs.

The biggest complaint I have about clubs, is everyone seems to feel they have a right to reach out and grab. It’s like if you enter a club, there’s this imaginary, invisible sign on your person that says “Grope me!” or “Cop a feel!”. It’s always bugged me (just ask my friends how I react to something simpler, like a cat call…. I lost count of how many shoes I’ve lost from throwing them at people and cars cat calling at me), but it’s even more disconcerting for me now. When you’re with someone you’re attracted to, you want them to want to touch you, but when in a club setting I’m pretty sure I am not attracted to and wanting that attention from 98% of the people there. Logic. Get you some. It is one thing to appreciate the looks of someone else, and an entirely different thing to think you’re entitled to touch. I’ve decided next person who grabs without asking is getting a fist to the face. I’ve been nice lately, which should weird out some of you, but no more.

Another thing I have a problem with is the sheer number of people in a space. Let’s get real, I was assaulted at a huge party. What do you think I think of when I’m at any other huge party? Yep. Freaks me the fuck out. I can’t relax. I can’t enjoy myself. I’m always on alert, making sure no douche is going to come up and feel entitled to even more than a grab or feel. I also don’t drink. How can I? I’m terrified I’ll get too drunk to do anything about an assault, should it happen again.

There are a few people that even in a fairly large crowd, I feel comfortable and safe enough with that I will let loose and drink. Even get drunk with/around. Something just says to me, “They’re not going to let anything happen to me. I’m in good hands.” I know some friends think I should feel that way around them, or more of them. How can I? I had other friends that I trusted there the night I was assaulted too. They said later that they felt something was off, but did they do anything? Say anything? No. And while I don’t outright blame them for what happened to me, I’m not trusting enough to just let loose and relax around a good 95% of people I call friends when alcohol and large groups of strangers are involved. I’m sorry if that’s hurtful. If you had have been through what I’ve been through, I think you could understand.

Anyways, now I’m all wound up, tight like a watch that’s been over wound and is about to burst from pressure. I’m stone cold sober, and I can’t sleep. Hello insomnia. How nice of you to drop by again. I’m hoping that since I caved and went out to the club, people will lay off from asking me to go for a while again. Maybe I can go another 2-ish years without stepping foot in one.

On Being Objectified/The Walking Wounded

There is just about nothing I hate more than being objectified. If you are trying to get me so angry that I want to break your nose, openly objectify me. I triple dog dare you. It makes me incredibly angry.

Today while walking around this small town’s idea of a mall, I came face to face with being objectified. I walked into a store and came across a small group of male soldiers. One of them was looking at posters of a naked woman bent over and said “That’s my kind of woman!” I wanted to respond with, “And that’s why you’re single!” but I held my tongue. Then he saw me. His eyes immediately went to my cleavage and I knew what he was thinking. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure that out. My blood boiled. He and his buddies went quiet as I walked by and he continued to objectify me. It was humiliating and angering. I wanted to bash his face in, and if he had have made the slightest move towards me, I probably would have. I was so angry and could feel the desire to commit violence rapidly rising.

Even after I left the store, I was livid. I could feel every inch of me just seething. It took all I had to not turn around, march back into that store and punch him in the face. I forced myself to keep walking and left the mall. I couldn’t be in the same building as him, not when all I wanted to do was commit violence. So I left. I removed myself from the problem.

Some might say my reaction was overboard. Let me tell you why it was not. Jackass douchebags like that prime example are the asshole who statistically rape and abuse women, especially in the military. If he has not already committed a crime against a woman, I don’t give him that long before he does. The military will cover him though and hide the crime. They always do. My rapist was a lot like him. Arrogant, condescending, and objectifying. I know that type and I know it well. Breaking his nose might not have changed his ways, but it would have made me feel better. I wish a woman had have broken IK’s nose. Or has. If that makes me wrong, tough cookies. I’m cool with being wrong. One thing I am not wrong about is that douchenozzle. I wish that by recognizing asswipes like him (I refuse to refer to him as a man, as I believe men are respectable beings and there was nothing respectable about this asshole), we could take care of them, as in removing them from society, because I know that if he has not already, he WILL assault a woman. That is guaranteed. If we could remove him, we could prevent some woman from having to go through hell, but we can’t. He is allowed to walk around, objectifying women, before he finally snaps and assaults a woman and it will be “all her fault! She was flirting with me, she wanted me!”. Trust me on that one. I think that’s what sickens me the most about this. Some poor woman could have been saved, but won’t be. She’ll be another walking wounded. Like me. Like some of my dearest friends. Perhaps even like you.

Doesn’t that just make you sick?

Now that my blood pressure has gone down, this situation makes me want to cry. Cry for me. Cry for those that I love who have been through this. Cry for the people that are affected by what I’ve been through indirectly. Most importantly, cry for the unknown, unseen woman who is about to go through what I’ve been through. When are we going to say enough? When are we going to change our culture in order to ensure that there are no more walking wounded from sexual assaults? When are we going to hold our military accountable for the crimes against women they have committed, continue to commit, and will commit? When do we let them know that it’s not okay?

How much longer will you enable our attackers?

Division of Head and Heart

I’m unsure of the trigger, but I know that somewhere over the past week a trigger was pulled. I began to notice it in dance. I was uncomfortable with people being too close to my face. Like somehow they’d see something in me that I didn’t want them to see. Perhaps I am afraid they’ll see me, and really see me, and decide I’m not worth their attention. Sometimes I think they’ll see that I’m not as strong as I pretend to be, and they’ll see all the cracks in my defense system.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to go with this.

I’ve always been able to write things out, but this time I’m not sure I can. I don’t know how to put into words what I’m feeling, or even what I’m thinking. It just is. I just am. I ran into two friends earlier after rehearsal and they asked me how I was. I couldn’t think of how to answer it, so I just nodded my head. I just said “yes”. Hah.
“How are you?”
“Yes.”

…I am yes? I am existing. I am. In that respect, I totally am “yes”. They laughed. I wrote it off as me still being sick and tired, but honestly, that’s the only answer I have right now. “Yes”.  I’m not good, but I’m not bad. Then again, I suppose that’s relative, and that answer might change depending on who you ask. For the moment though, I’ll take existing. It’s better than the alternative at this point.

I met this nurse who works in mental health, and deals primarily with combat veteran males who suffer from PTSD. Turns out she’s a part of my team in one of my classes. We’d never talked before. We talked about some of the differences in different disorders, and a little about my experience in therapy. She told me that she thinks I’ll make an excellent advocate for women some day. I’m not sure what I think of that. I’m not sure if I even want that. Why is it, that all these people, most of whom I barely know, tell me what they think I will be? Or should be? I know I shouldn’t, but now I feel the expectation is there.She said I have the right personality for it, and due to my background, could really make a difference. Could I? Or would it just be me banging on pots and pans in the middle of street, with my body painted in vivid colors? Screaming at the top of my lungs: “LISTEN TO ME.”? I told her I still feel so broken, I don’t know if I could be of much help in that department. I told her that I didn’t know if I could pull my pieces together to make a shape coherent enough to make a difference in a world of sharp angularity and vulgar obscenities. Not in those exact words, as I wasn’t feeling like being forcefully admitted into a psychiatric ward, but in a saner way. In a less poetic way, that’s exactly what I said.

Our conversation continues its course, and it somehow turned into symptoms. She mentioned that women vets she had met had problems not attaching emotions to everything. I told her I had the opposite. When I am triggered, I withdraw. I have a hard time feeling connected to anything or anyone. I live in a complete disconnect from the world around me when going through an episode. I can look at someone, and know in my head that I love them. I care about them. They MEAN something to me. But during these episodes, I don’t feel it. I don’t feel hate. I don’t feel love. I don’t feel connected. At all. My heart goes cold, like black ice, and I can’t make a spark even to bring a hint of emotional connection back to any relationship I have. I have to wait it out, and wait for the episode to be over so I can reconnect. I hate it. I hate looking at someone I care about and not feeling a goddamn thing. I feel like somehow, that makes me less than a person. Isn’t that what humanity is? The continuous process of making, growing, and breaking relationships? Making connections with others? How can I be a part of humanity, when I can’t always do that?

I’m there now. It’s not complete, but it’s just about complete. I look at people who I know are supposed to mean something to me, but I can’t feel anything. I might as well be looking at a complete stranger.

What does that make me?

Sunshine and Dancing Shadows

One of the most interesting things in the world, is how others perceive you. You have limited control over this perception, and the rest remains with the individual looking at you, and their background, their biases, their history, their personality. I have no idea why some of you read this blog, and no idea whether its doing any good for any of you or not, but that’s not my concern. I have no idea how any of you perceive me. What you see when you look at me, or for those of you who’ve never seen me, how you imagine me to be. I’m not talking just physically either, I mean, what kind of a person do you think I am? Do you see me as a woman? A victim? A disembodied voice? Am I true? Am I a lie? Maybe I’m a reflection of you? What about a shadow? Am I your shadow dancing on the wall? A dark impression of a dark memory in your mind that normally stays hidden but is seen when exposed to the light? Who am I to you?

These are some of the questions that float around in my mind, but are more prevalent today, thanks to the newfound attention this blog has been receiving. I am flattered and honored that my friend at http://weavingamongthestars.wordpress.com/ found my blog to be of enough interest to honor me with the New Blogger Award, but what does it mean? Do I now owe her or anyone reading this anything in particular? Am I now obligated to create posts that are infotaining enough to get my point across while dancing like a monkey to keep you coming back for more? Am I allowed to continue on as before, without regard to who may or may not be reading this, or why?

I have no answers.

I cannot pretend to not know that there are people reading this now, just as I cannot pretend to not know that there is a spotlight, no matter how big or small, on me now. I’m not sure how this will affect me in writing this blog, but I am sure that I will be attempting to write still as though no one were reading, and to keep that blunt honesty that I have tried to maintain at all costs. If nothing else, I owe it to myself.

Today I am happy. I have spent time taking pictures of some of the beauty that is found downtown, and of my shadow in different poses. I love the idea of my shadow dancing, mirroring my own life where I am continuously dancing, even if it’s not recognized. Shadows are most always seen as scary and almost evil, or at the very least, as mischievous and tricky as seen in Peter Pan. Why can’t our shadows be our friends? I really think that today my shadow was my friend and my dance partner. There is a tremendous amount of delight and joy that can be found when dancing with your shadow. I’m sure to anyone looking in on me in my backyard, it looked ridiculous- a full-grown woman dancing around, holding odd poses and laughing at her shadow, but for me, it was magical. I did feel like a kid, but it was a great sensation.

How often we forget that it’s okay for us to play! We run around, putting life into a neat, ordered “to do” list, checking things off as we get them done. Graduate high school? Check. Get accepted into a college or university? Check. Get a job? Check. Get married? Check. And so on and so on. For the record, if we were doing a huge checklist for life, I’d be failing miserably at this task. I seem to jump around a lot, and not do things in order, or do some things at all. Luckily, life is not a “to do” list. Life is so much more, and is so much more fun as a result. Life is about living in the moment, and taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, even the ones to play. A thought that struck me in the shower a few days ago was, “The best part about living, is living.” I like that. A lot.

After class, a classmate walked with me to my car. Which is clear across campus. He talked with me the entire time, and we jumped around from topic to topic. It was great. I haven’t had a conversation that comfortable and free-flowing with someone I barely knew in a long time. It went so well in fact, that I gave him a ride to his place and we decided to do this again on Wednesday. That’s right, the woman who almost never makes plans, just goes with the flow, has made plans to just hang out and chat with someone for about an hour and a half on Wednesday. What has the world come to? I don’t know, but it sure is beautiful.

Dance shadows, dance!

“All These Little Rejections, How They Add Up Quickly”

Sometimes it’s an Alanis Morissette day, as she puts into song exactly how I’m feeling. This is one of those days. I’m just incredibly insecure today, and I don’t know why, or what set it off. I wonder, are there always reasons for everything, or do we just sometimes wake up feeling the way we do?

It’s really bad today. The things I used to be able to do or use to help stymie this overwhelming feeling of not being enough to get anyone’s attention, or not even deserving it on multiple levels, aren’t working. Instead, they’re having the reverse effect and making it worse. I’m avoiding several people, websites, things, music, books, and other forms of media. They’re all making it worse. I feel like the people I used to be able to run to, are snubbing me, or verbally backhanding me and affirming this message of “You’re ugly. You’re fat. You’re stupid. You’re worthless. Why do we ever bother with you?”

I feel like when I was 13 again. Having just moved, and not just to another side of town, or another city, or even another state… no, a whole different country. I had to relearn a culture, and it was hard. I was the new girl, but I didn’t dress like them, talk like them, or do a lot of the same things as them. I was different and so was ignored a great deal. Rejected. I know I’m fine. I’m not that different from everyone else, but I still feel that way. I still feel rejected. Not always, but definitely right now.

I don’t even think most of these people know that their behaviors toward me are being taken as rejections. Oh, but they are… I feel so tiny and unimportant, like if I just vanished no one would notice or care. Which is a lie, and I know it. There are some very good, very close and dear to my heart people who would both notice AND care. Head knowledge and heart knowledge are two different things though, and sometimes they contradict each other. I wish sometimes that the people around me could tell when I was feeling like this, and that there was a magic button that I could push that would make it go away. Instead, I just want to curl up into a ball and disappear. I’d say turn invisible, but I fear I’ve already done that. I feel like no one sees me. No one wants to see me.

This whole thing is compounded by another level of insecurity that I CAN name. The one brought on by painful reminders of IK and that night. And maybe both feelings of insecurity are actually one and the same, and the only reason I feel so hurt and wounded is because of the pain and wounds re-opened by the reminders of IK. I feel like I’m constantly in fight or flight mode, and every little slight, imagined or real, is making me flinch when it hasn’t even happened yet. I feel like I did right after the assault, when I’d have to constantly remind myself to brace myself for impact when I’d walk anywhere because I knew I was going to pass by a group of people and they were either going to look at me like I was a whore, or actually say it. Those non-imagined rejections are now fueling my imagined ones and I don’t know how to make it stop. I just want them to stop.

So Unsexy
Alanis Morissette

Oh these little rejections, how they add up quickly
One small sideways look and I feel so ungood
Somewhere along the way, I think I gave you the power to make
Me feel the way I thought only my father could

Oh these little rejections, how they seem so real to me 
One forgotten birthday, I’m all but cooked
How these little abandonments, seem to sting so easily
I’m thirteen again, am I thirteen for good?

I can feel so unsexy, for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring, for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind

Oh, these little protections, how they fail to serve me
One forgotten phone call, and I’m deflated
Oh, these little defenses, how they fail to comfort me
Your hand pulling away, and I’m devastated

I can feel so unsexy, for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring, for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind

When will you stop leaving, baby?
When will I stop deserting, baby?
 When will I start staying with myself?

Oh, these little projections, how they keep springing from me
I jump ship as I take it personally
Oh, these little rejections, how they disappear quickly
The moment I decide not to abandon me

I can feel so unsexy, for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring, for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind. 

Let’s Talk About… Sex!?

I know I just recently did a post, but it wasn’t really related to MST/PTSD, whereas this one will be. I love flirting and teasing, it’s a huge part of who I am, and everyone who knows me, knows that. There is a line though, and I do not understand why or how, men can’t see that. I’m pretty straightforward and blunt about who I am and what I’ve been through. I let interested men know that they have to move slowly with me, because I was raped a few years ago and physical intimacy can be very hard for me. But let’s back up a bit, shall we?

Right after the assault, I went through a phase where I had a lot of sex. Usually this was one night stands with strangers or men that I knew, but would never be interested in having a relationship with. Really, I just wanted to be able to close my eyes and not see IK on top of me. I thought that maybe I could fuck his image away, but I was wrong. Once I realized that wasn’t possible, I closed myself off sexually from the world at large. I lost all interest in sex, and in the connection I felt with a partner.

Then I met JW. We hit it off immediately, though his sister was against it. Not because she didn’t like me, but because she knew he’d drive me nuts and wanted to save me the trouble. Too late. Sparks flew and the fires were roaring. We didn’t have sex the first time we met, but we did the second. For the first time ever, I knew the difference between fucking and making love. It was incredible. This man was loving me, and showering affection on me. I didn’t achieve orgasm, but it wasn’t necessary. I was loved. To date, he is the only man I’ve slept with, who has made me feel that way, but now that I know it’s possible, it’s something I crave. I want to be fucked too, but I really want to be made love to. I want to be adored, caressed, and made to feel beautiful. I want to be held afterwards, so I never forget that I am adored by the man I just made love with. Before JW, I had no idea these sensations existed, or that I was even worthy of them. That’s how messed up I was. JW ruined me for all the assholes who just wanted some wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and never wanted to take the time to love me. I will always be grateful to him, for waking up my soul and body to this awareness.

To be fair, RM tried to make love to me, but it was so soon after the assault, I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t be receptive to his messages or his intent, and sadly it was wasted on me. RM gave me the next best thing, though I’m not ready to talk about that in this entry. That’s for another day. JW made me feel like a woman, and I had never felt so much like an actual woman during sex, than I did with him. I wasn’t an object. That’s important.

Other lovers that had their place in my history between JW and now, have no place in this particular entry, so they’re being skipped over. Suffice it to say, they have all had their place and reason for being in my life, and I truly believe I am a better person because of them. Now, at the end of the year 2011, I finally feel like I’m open to being loved. I think this has reflected itself in the way I treat myself and others. I have been flirting with a few men, and have even gone on a few dates recently, and I feel amazing. I feel beautiful, even without the attention, and I almost have a sense of wholeness again. I love it. One of the men I’ve been talking to, we’ll call him PLS, has particularly been aggressive in pursuing me. I’ve told him my history as it relates to the assault, and explained to him that not only do I have to move slow physically, that I am very sensitive to stuff related to my assault. Last night he was texting me and flirting and things moved into the sexual territory in our messages, which was fine. But then he said something that just… it ruined everything we had been building between us. He was trying to show me how sexy he thought I was, but there is nothing… NOTHING sexy about telling a woman, especially a woman who has been raped, that if you were there with her, you’d rape her. What.The.Fuck. That is NOT okay.

Not only does it show you’re insensitive, it makes her an object. Not a person. I refuse to be an object to a man I thought I was interested in. JW has shown me that I don’t have to be an object, unless I want to allow a man to see me as such. I do not. I will not allow it. I am so much more than an object. I have feelings, passions, dreams, goals, and so much to offer that a mere object can not. I was appalled. I immediately sent him a message back telling him that I knew he did not just say that to me, and I haven’t heard back from him. To be honest, I don’t think I want to hear back from him. Any man who has been told my history and still thinks it’s okay to tell me something as derogatory and cruel as that, is not a man I want to associate with, much less date. I deserve better than that, and thanks to men like JW, I know men who are better than that are out there.

Sex is an intimate act. You’re incredibly vulnerable in your nakedness and the shared vulnerability is beautiful. I can not ever go back to being seen as an object, meant solely for fucking, and I don’t think any woman or man should. I think the lesson here is to respect one another, and if you say you like someone, show them that through the way you treat them. Actions speak so much louder than words. PLS had told me he would support me and go slow to help ensure that I didn’t go into panic mode, because he was interested in pursuing a relationship. Telling me he would rape me, even in some sick, twisted version of a jest, was an action that spoke completely opposite of what he had said. I no longer feel comfortable around him, or safe. I could never be naked around him. On the plus side, one loser down, and the potential to meet an amazing man and give him my attention has increased.

I no longer associate myself with religion, but one of the things I have taken from my former belief system is a passage from 1 Corinthians 13. I think it’s beautiful and applicable no matter your belief system, especially when it comes to relationships:

Love is patient, love is kind… It does not dishonor others. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
-1 Corinthians 13, verses 4a, 5a, and 7. NIV.

Confession of a Buried Self-Loathing

I’m sick today so have spent the day sleeping, and when awake, listening to songs that inspire me to choreograph or watching videos of dance. I have always loved aerial ribbon dancing, and would love to do it myself. In order to do this, I need to strengthen my core and seriously lose the rest of the weight. Not a big deal. Right?

Wrong. After my assault I was told that it was normal to lose the desire to be found attractive. That it was a defense mechanism. I swore I would not let that happen to me and worked out like a maniac for about a year afterwards. I was not going to be fat. A year later, I decided to actually begin to feel some of the feelings I had been suppressing and they were overwhelming. I discovered I hated myself. I did not want to be seen as attractive as I did not see myself as attractive. I wanted to make me look the way I felt. I gained weight. A lot of it. The military forced me to toe the line and I was stuck in this yo-yo of hell, constantly losing weight and then gaining it back. I felt terrible about myself, and was throwing myself into row after row of destructive habits. This was only one of many.

It got worse after I got out of the military, as I no longer had to worry about regulations concerning my fitness. I gained even more weight, it was disgusting even to me. I had no willpower though, and the more I resented myself, the more I ate. When I started dancing again, I felt even more self-conscious than ever before. Those pink tights you wear in ballet are not merciful or forgiving on anyone, so if you have fat in your thighs, you’re just screwed. There’s nowhere to hide it. And the black leotards? Oh yeah, black is a slimming color, but when you wear it in a skin-tight ensemble, it can’t help you. I was forced to deal with my body image, and I hated it. I forced myself to stay there though, because the second I walked into that dance studio, I fell in love all over again. I have literally cried, sweated, and bled in that dance space, and it has become my sanctuary. I started losing weight thanks to the hours spent in that studio, and regained self-confidence, but discovered I still had a large dose of self-loathing. All of my self-blame over the assault has manifested itself in this unhealthy fascination I have in keeping myself overweight. I will not let myself get too big, because my self-disgust kicks in and I work my ass off to lose some of that extra weight, but I will not let myself lose all of the weight. It’s as though I’ve decided this is my penance for being assaulted. What the hell is wrong with me? In this respect, I’m a complete masochist, and I’m fucking brilliant. There is no one in this world who can torment me greater than I can. I want so badly to lose the rest of this weight and regain my former technical proficiency in dance, yet I seem so determined to destroy myself, inch by inch. No more.

I am publicly denouncing my self-loathing. It is not okay. I have nothing to be ashamed of, and no reason to continue to punish myself for something I had no control over. I did not ask to be assaulted. I did not ask to be made to hate myself. I’ve always said I wanted to take back everything he stole from me, and this is just one of the many things I need to reclaim in the name of me. I’m hoping that by being this brutally honest via this medium (holy shit, a bunch of strangers could be reading this!), I’ll realize on a daily basis the truth I’m telling myself now: It is not my fault I was raped. It is not my fault I feel this way. However, I can do something about it- I can reclaim myself, and I do not need a self-defense mechanism of being overweight in order to prevent a second attack. I am allowed to be beautiful. Being beautiful is not an invitation to others to harm me.

Fuck you IK. You took enough from me that night, you can not have any more of me. I am not waiting until New Year’s to make a resolution, as I’ve always thought those were silly anyhow. I am allowing myself to be free. I resolve to allow myself to be as healthy as I can be, and in that health, find an inner freedom to be beautiful. I invite any of you reading to do the same, or just encourage me when you think of it. I’m not a fool, I know this is going to be hard. It’s always hard when we tear away the destructive habits we build up around us as a defense. I have to do this. More importantly, I finally want to do this.

Lots of love to all of you in this holiday season, and may you all find happiness and peace, even if but for a moment, during this season.

Something Women Need to Hear

I haven’t written in a while. I know. However, a friend posted a link to an article that I read on women and their sense of beauty and worthiness. It created this mixed reaction in me that ended in a long response. I’ll post the link first, and then my response.

http://www.danoah.com/2010/10/worthless-women-and-men-who-make-them.html/

I like the idea that men stop expecting a woman to be as flawless as a magazine cover, but I can’t help but feel like this was still sexist. That somehow, whether intentional or not, the author was stating explicitly that a woman could never find a sense of worth by herself and NEEDED a man to give that to her. I find myself disgusted and repelled in the end. I’ll give it this, it’s a decent first step, but I can not, and will not, support anything that tells women they need the validation from a man. I’m beautiful. I’m not a classic beauty as portrayed by media, but I’m a goddess- a Venus, an Aphrodite. I have issues that sometime cause me to doubt my worth as a woman, or my desirability, but I try to never lose sight of the fact that I’m a WOMAN and that means something. I’m single mostly because I refuse to bow down and kowtow to some watered down version of a man, who seems to think that I should be submissive and the “weaker, fairer sex”. I am neither. I will not submit. I am strong. I have been through hell and am still standing. I may be pretty, but my prettiness is not a sign of weakness. The rose has thorns, and I too have means for survival. No man could ever validate me, because I have already validated myself. I have worth because I AM. I have worth, because I contribute to a society that needs me. We all do. None of us are greater or lesser than another in that respect. We may allow others to peg us as such, but we are not.

To give some background, I grew up in a Christian household where I was taught that the woman submits to the man. So, when the guy I thought I was going to marry asked me to give up a few things, I did so willingly. Things didn’t work out. I went into the military. My first year in, I was raped and beaten so badly, no one could recognize me. I was told by my Commander that that was too bad and to soldier the fuck up and get over it. I had troops to lead. The military therapist told me that it was partially my fault for wearing a short skirt and being drunk at a beach party. I was given nothing. No time off, no support. Everyone sympathized with him, because I was ruining his life. I was ruining his life? This fucker, this dog who dared to call himself a man, elicited more compassion from my chain of command than I could, and I was the one walking around looking like a piece of bloodied meat. I had to quietly walk by as other soldiers called me “whore”, and do my best to maintain my demeanor. I was a fucking soldier. We are always composed and do not show emotion. We’re trained to be like that, and I was going to be damned to let my fellow airmen down. A few months later I had a miscarriage. My little girl who should be here right now, would have been 4 years old. I named her Angel. It took me 2 years to learn to smile again, and 2 1/2 to laugh. During that time, I stepped off a cliff in Big Sur, CA. I just wanted to end the pain. Friend of mine caught me around the waist and pulled me back up onto ground and sobbed into my shoulder. Made me promise to NEVER do it again. I keep my promises.

I have PTSD. I have good days. I have bad days. The past 5 years I have struggled the most with a sense of self-worth. On my bad days I feel worthless, like I have nothing left to offer and I am damaged goods. No man is going to want me. I completely and totally resent re-hearing that message in this article, regardless of what his intentions are. I do not need him to tell me I have worth, it may have taken me years but I now KNOW I have worth. I am a woman. WOMAN. I’m strong, smart, beautiful, with an amazing capacity for love and compassion. I will not ever allow myself to think in the same patterns I used to, and I refuse to stay quiet on this issue. I think for our current generations of women, and our future generations it is CRITICAL that we stand up in unity and tell ourselves and our daughters the truth: we don’t need a man to give us worth. They need us to be strong and show them what a real woman is, not what the media wants them to believe about themselves. And all that starts from within yourselves, ladies…. not from a man.

I love you all SO much, there are no words. I’m crying as I type this. I wish I could show you how amazing you ALL are. If I could, I’d hug you all and spend hours telling each and every one of you what is so amazing about you in particular. ❤ Just know you all have worth and are amazingly beautiful. For those of you who struggle like me, you might want to look into reading a book by Sue Monk Kidd, it has helped me greatly. It’s called The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.

Again, because no woman can hear this enough: You are amazing and beautiful. I love you ❤

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