Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shoved in the shadows

I began this great new life, pursuing my dreams, working with artists I'd admired for years and feeling like an extremely productive wide eyed child because nearly everything was new and I was finally making a giant leap toward pursuing some of my dreams. A "friend" offered to help me financially and as with everything else being new, for the first time in my life I accepted. But see, what I had always feared is what happened and his help came with a price. Rather than just lend me money, he always wanted to hang out as well. This was before I knew my body the way I do now but something always just felt gross about him and the way he spoke to me. My ex felt it through reading texts and called it out long before I moved cross country. A combination of wanting to prove her wrong and needing to eat while I looked for a job made me play by his rules.

I went back and forth forever about using the word rape. But it needs to be said. Last month a friend confided in me how she was drunk and half asleep when her ex whom she had been only friends with for years now, took it upon himself to spoon her, pull her panties to the side and just have his way. She told me she didn't want to have sex with him but was too intoxicated and tired to deny him. She danced around the word like I have but she was raped. It doesn't have to be violent to leave you feeling violated.

Because it was a "friend" and we shared mutual friends it wasn't as easy to call a spade a spade. In my head for months I tried to justify everything by thinking of myself as a one time prostitute. He had given me money and taken what he paid for. But the reality is that he stole my wings and I've been walking around trying to ignore my wounds ever since.

Before I was given chemo, it was explained to my family and I that the type I'd be receiving was too new for them to know if I'd ever be able to get pregnant. I was 22 so while it wasn't an immediate concern, as someone who loves kids, it always hung in the back of mind as a giant question mark. Bittersweet is too loose of a word to describe the polarized emotions I felt and how each extreme actually made the other that much worse. I surely didn't want to find out that yes, I was fertile and capable of creating a life... through the act of rape and now though some part of me was ecstatic that the ability was there, I was going to have to destroy that life. And it gets better. When rampantly advocating for a woman's right to choose for years prior, I for some unbeknownst reason had been under the impression that abortions could be low cost or free. Maybe in some places they are but being broke in Brooklyn doesn't get you jack. Without being able to stand up for myself yet knowing he was fully responsible and should pay, I found myself muffling my rage and swallowing all pride to ask him to pay for it. He did eventually give me the money but not before berating me for not going and taking a cheaper morning after pill.

It's astounding how much pain one tiny pill can cause. That night I ran the full course of shame, regret, guilt, rage, sadness, despair, fear. Nearly all directed towards myself. I cried on and off for weeks afterwards and figured I had allowed myself to experience my emotions and now it was over. Only now, 4 years later am I seeing the extent to which it has continued to haunt me.

I began to fall in love. Or I began to realize I had always been there. He was fun and made me laugh and I felt safe and warm and like I could spill all my secrets to him and he'd just love me even harder. Yet, he knew the man who violated me and I myself wanted to put it all in the past and just focus on working and playing and exploring this newly realized love. When he did find out, it wasn't through me and all he knew was that I had been pregnant and had an abortion, not that it had occurred against my will. He then began to distance himself a bit from me. Though I can easily rest on the term "everything happens for a reason", to this day I still wonder where we would be in relation to each other if none of the horror had occurred.

I laid in bed the other night digging deep to bring all this to light and what I realized is just how much of the shame and guilt and embarrassment and anger still exist within me and have successfully bled over into every part of my life since then. Somewhere during my NY stint I became conscious of the fact that we create our realities and are responsible for attracting what we do into our lives. Though I was striving to make a living and excel in a creative field, I shut my creative self down. She was the bright, colorful and confident girl. She was also the version of me who either created a situation in which she was raped or attracted a person who raped her. How and why would I ever want to be that version of myself again? I've kept her hostage in a dark corner somewhere in my universe ever since as it hurts too much to stare in the face of someone capable of creating such circumstances.

In January of 2013 I kneeled in the storefront of my work packing boxes to ship to Sephora when my new coworker offered to help. As I had learned, "help" seems to come with a price so I declined. He then kneeled beside me and said "You can't forget who you are." We barely knew each other when he uttered those words but it sparked something in me that eventually led to no longer be working for that company or living in NY to now coming to terms with part of me I had been trying to forget. Months later somehow he caught wind that I used to do youtube videos and asked how to find me. I couldn't even watch my old self let alone share that person I was so ashamed of with him. My job wanted me to film and do youtube videos for them. People leave me comments every so often, taking me back to who I once was and I can't hide her anymore. I don't want to live as a fragmented human being anymore and if I wish to thrive in life as I once did she needs to step out of the shadows and reclaim her power. I will forgive myself for feeling ashamed at being naive enough to think someone may just actually want to help me with no strings attached. Several men and women have shown me their good nature since. I forgive myself for feeling guilty about destroying a creation I never agreed to. I will allow my anger and rage to fuel me, disappearing whenever it does and I most certainly will not shove some part of me in corner because I or others are afraid of her or she's too much to handle.

I finally understand why you've been walking by my side all this time Lilith. Thank you...

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