PTSD, Pill Poppin’, and Preparing to Face the Past

It seems trite to start this post by pointing out how I haven’t blogged much in a long time. But the truth is, I have not blogged much in a long time and there is a reason for that. For a while, I told myself I was in an “acting phase” and not really into writing but this week, I figured out that the truth is, I’ve been scared. I have realized that if I didn’t blog about everything that’s happened this year, I’d never be able to blog again. Like I couldn’t go over it, I couldn’t go around it, I couldn’t go under it. I have to go through it. So, here I am. I’ve poured myself a giant glass of red wine and I’m going to write about it the best that I can because I’m not okay.

I mean, on the surface, I seem okay. Better than okay. Great even. My Instagram and Facebook posts are happy and I’m not lying. I am happy. Life is going well. But that’s all on the surface. Underneath the surface, it’s black. Gross. The PTSD is bubbling up and bubbling over, like a volcano about to erupt, and it’s leading to scenarios like falling apart on my sweet husband’s chest while I ask him how I might find marijuana or tearing up at girl’s lunch and my precious friend who knows knows having to rub my back until I can participate in the conversation again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad I have people in my life who are aware of what has happened to me, who know I’m not okay, who listen and don’t judge and say things like, “You are a brave and courageous person. You will beat this.” Without these people, I’d be an even bigger mess and I get that, so my walking prayers in the morning involve a lot of thoughts like, “Thank you for the people in my life and the love I have. Please help me give that love back tenfold.”

It’s just that anniversaries are hard and this weekend is an anniversary of sorts. Not a traditional anniversary. Nothing to celebrate exactly unless you think it’s worth celebrating the fact that something derailed me, nearly destroyed me and everything I thought I knew and understood about this world came into question as a result of this situation which culminated last year at an annual event I attended. The same event I must attend this weekend. Same place. Same group of people. Same person who literally held my hand last year, leading me down a dark, disturbing, destructive path.

The PTSD is strong right now. There is a rehearsal for said event and then the event itself. My husband has agreed to accompany me as my date and my best sister friend will be with me and I will be fine. Technically. No one can hurt me. I am safe. I will be safe. My brain knows that. But my brain also knows that, if I break down in sobs every time I think about it now, once that night arrives, when I’m actually in the place, in the situation, near the person, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to keep it together. In fact, I’m so sure of my impending meltdown that I’ve had my husband locate some sedatives I was prescribed last year when I was scheduled for an MRI that never happened. He still has them and I’m pondering taking one which says a lot because he practically has to force feed me ibuprofen if I have a rare headache. I’m googling things like, “Valium for anxiety” and “What to do when your gut tells you someone is bad” and “How to tell if someone is a sexual predator”. It’s all coming back. Like it’s happening all over again. This isn’t fun.

Why am I attending the event, you ask? Because I have to. It’s my responsibility, for one thing. But there is also the simple fact that I’m one of those people who hates to be defeated. If I don’t attend this event and that person does… then they win. And I can’t let that happen.

I won’t let that happen.

Looking at my life today compared to a year ago, I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky and like a gigantic winner. Yes, I lost friends but every friend I lost has been replaced by three. Yes, my marriage went through hell but today my husband is my best friend and I know I can depend upon him to take care of me and be here for me when I need him. Every single part of my life is better than it was a year ago. There is so much to which I am looking forward, I’m having a blast, I’m not hurting, I feel pretty good, school is going well, I’m heavily involved in causes that matter to me. Stuff’s just great. So I know once this event is over, I will return to my regularly scheduled life and I’ll feel so good about myself for not letting anyone and their scariness run me off from something I love to do. And maybe then I’ll feel strong enough to blog about the rest of what happened to me. But until then… I think I will just have to accept that no one is invincible, everyone has a breaking point, and most people in my situation would have been run off soon as this happened to them so, the fact that I’m even writing about having to attend this function means I already win.

Even if I have to pop pills in order to make it through in one piece.

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Pregrieving

Burning intense and with passion in the beginning

And it flickers out leaving nothing but ashes

This is how he describes all of my relationships

This is why he says I can’t keep friends

Because it is never just friends

Clearly I am building a wall

Stone by stone, daily I make it taller, wider, thicker

And I dare anyone to try and climb over it

As there I will be, on the other side, shaking in fear and ready to run

“You weren’t invited here,” I’ll scream

YOU WERE WARNED.

Best of luck

Everyone leaves eventually

Either I push them away or scare them away or won’t let them in to begin with

The results are all the same

It doesn’t matter

But this is how I feel and I know it doesn’t matter

That connection is so hard to find and so hard to live without

Because when I make a connection, I have to fear that the connection will be severed

So it is simply easier to avoid the connection in the first place

 

Vulnerabilty and New Friends: The Struggle is Real

Sometimes it’s scary trusting new people to come into your life and not make a giant mess of things.

After being hurt, repeatedly, by people I once trusted wholeheartedly, over and over and over again this past year, I’d nearly decided to not let myself love new people. It’s like I’d put in a place a cut off date… my friendship suddenly had an expiration date of sorts. If I’d met you prior to August of 2015, the friendship was viable otherwise it was too late.

And I’d built up walls. I’d convinced myself that no one could be trusted and I needed to be careful no matter what because everyone was out to get me.

It wasn’t a fun way to live but at least, so I thought, I was safe.

Then something amazing happened. I met a person. I met this person in the exact same context in which I’d met the last person who nearly destroyed me. Only this time the red flags were missing and my stomach didn’t lurch when I was around them.

At first I was terrified of making a new friend. And to be honest, I still am. But I feel a lot less alone and a lot less worried that I’m unsafe in the world. Not sure where I’m going from here and once I’m taking a break from theater, I might revert back to having those walls up. Still, I can’t help but think it’s super healthy for me to be dabbling in the art of “getting back out there”.

It’s terrifying to be vulnerable and to have to admit that you are, every single day of your life, not only to others but to yourself. I’m learning to navigate vulnerability. I’m also learning to recognize that others are also vulnerable. I’m not the only one out there scared of being hurt. I’m also learning to recognize that, when I let my vulnerabilities show, sure, yes, I get hurt but I am also given the unique opportunity to make some pretty incredible friends and connections. There are advantages and disadvantages to being so authentic and transparent.

Right now, I just know that I hate myself a little less and I hate other people a little less. So, I guess, that has to count for something.

 

 

When I hate myself

A few months ago, I didn’t hate myself.  I wasn’t completely in love with me either, but I was better able to look past my many flaws and focus on the things that I did right.  The things that made me who I was and that weren’t so bad.  Then, the “derailing” occurred and as I sit here, trying to put together the pieces of my shattered self-image, I find that I don’t love me so much anymore.

I ask myself why, exactly, is it that today’s version of me isn’t as good as the one I saw back in the spring?  What is it that makes me avoid looking at my face in the mirror and that has me sobbing into my pillows at night?  And I think I’ve come up with a few answers.

For one thing, the derailing involved being bombarded regularly with another’s self-hatred and while I did not agree with this person’s assessment of self, I was pained to see that the characteristics brought into question for being justifiable causes of self-loathing were ones I shared with this individual.  So if they were hate-worthy in someone else, they are hate-worthy in me?  If I wasn’t allowed to love this person who was so like me, how could I possibly love myself?

Next, I think I had covered up my self-hatred by creating a list of a few traits which I found to be admirable and using them to help me ignore the ones inside, the less admirable traits, the ones of which I was not so proud.  Apparently, I had begun to base my self-esteem on what I could do.  I could get up at 5am, work out, create food from scratch, unload the dishwasher, plan and execute school lessons, and just plain old nail everything.  As long as I was doing these things, these tangible things, I was at least okay and not being some of the qualities I least liked in others (wasteful, slothful, lazy, useless, boring). However, the past few months have left me less able to “do”.  Between nursing a broken heart, a shattered self-image, the loss of several relationships with people who may or may not have been my friends, it’s hard to say, and intense physical pain… well, I’ve slowed down.  It’s all been a vicious cycle.  When I don’t sleep, I am exhausted.  When I hurt, I can’t exercise.  When I don’t exercise, I deal with stress in my life less efficiently and I become depressed. When I’m depressed I don’t sleep.  I’m finally at a place where I can work out somewhat again but it’s been very difficult to get motivated.  If I look around and I see only half as much in the accomplishment department as I used to see then, well, I feel like a failure.

Then, of course, there is the pressure to be a better wife than I was for the past 12 years so that my husband doesn’t leave me.  Because he could leave me.  He should leave me, maybe, even.  Other people have left me and my actions had little to nothing to do with them so why shouldn’t he?  When I look at myself through his eyes, I have a hard time seeing what is making him love me.  Is he just pretending because it’s what he’s supposed to be doing or has he genuinely had a change of heart?  How much longer can he keep up this facade before everything slips back to the way it was?  And now that I’m not as useful around the house and with the kids, what could he possibly like more about me?  I’ve put on a little weight due to lack of mobility.  That has to be a deterrent.  Eventually he’ll notice that, right?  Besides, people don’t change.  So, all of the good stuff around here is basically a ticking time bomb.  When I see myself, all I see is a chubby, out of shape, emotionally wrecked, mentally challenged, useless drain on him, her children, and all of the people around her.  How can he see something so considerably different?

Once upon a time, I had the unconditional love of a mother.  She thought I hung the moon and the stars and the entire universe centered around me (not healthy, I know).  Still, I knew what it was like to be loved. At least by her.  This week, we got the tubs of old pictures belonging to my mother out of the attic.  Among the photographs of my childhood memories was a journal she was keeping near her death.  In fact, there were several journals she’d started about that time.  She never finished one.  Never stuck with it.  Annoyed the living daylights out of me.  As I thumbed through this one journal, though, a gratitude journal, I started to realize that toward the end of her life, her focus on me had shifted.  Not one time, in the pages upon pages listing for what she was most grateful did she ever once mention me, my children, or anything related to us.  By the time my mother died, she no longer saw me as the entire world.  In fact, I’m not sure we even liked one another.

I hold my babies in my arms, day in. Day out.  I wrap my arms around them and try to send them all of the love, strength, and positivity I can muster.  I imagine being able to somehow, magically, let them know how much they mean to me.  Are they my entire world? No.  I have other stuff in my life that brings me joy.  I’ve made sure of that.  And while I know that I will always love them more than life itself, and right now I know we have solid, healthy relationships, I cannot help but fear that one day, in the distant but not-so-distant future, my self-hatred will eventually destroy even that. That one thing I’ve managed to do right.

As the dust settles

The past two days I’ve had a change in perspective.  The dust is starting to settle after the craziness of the intense drama which finally blew up in my face.  My perspective has changed in that I’ve been able to see the important gains and positive results of this traumatizing experience.  I’ve been able to look beyond the losses and see what has been given to me.  And folks, it is so much.  More than I ever dreamed possible.  In no particular order, the gifts which I have received…

My husband.

I’ve never tried to cover up the fact that my marriage wasn’t exactly perfect.  Okay, it was not good, guys.  One terrible thing after another has happened to me and my husband throughout the course of our relationship and frankly, we never had a chance to catch our breath and reconnect before the next storm would hit.  So we were hanging on by a thread.  Living a very mundane existence of “waiting it out ’til the kids were grown.”  This wasn’t what either of us wanted but it was what we had.  Over the past two weeks, my husband has more than made up for any shortcomings and any wrongdoings I might have been holding against him.  He’s proven to me, once and for all, that he loves me, he’s not going anywhere, and he’s been willing to make changes he’s needed to make in order to truly be in a marriage with me again.  I’ve been changing too.  I’d say, “We still have a lot of work to do” but that doesn’t even feel right to say.  We’ve been doing all of that work for the past 9 years.  Now it’s time to just enjoy each other.  I was ready for that old marriage to be over.  This new one is way better than that old one ever was. We’ve divorced the old marriage. Not each other.

Friendships.

The chiz went down and when it did, I had to figure out to whom I could turn.  And the people I chose weren’t the ones I usually chose in the past.  Through this ordeal, I learned thtumblr_muqc21nqys1rsyukao1_1280-534at some people in my life were ready to move up to “the friend you call when you need someone right away” ranks.  I was reminded that a couple people who were on that list to begin with were still on that list.  And I was shown that ones I thought were on it?  Not so much.  I also reached out to new people who seemed cool and that went very well.  And, I reached out to one bestie who has always been here for me but, for some reason I never imagined I could be 100% myself around.  Yet, it turns out, no matter how ugly. No matter how imperfect my life becomes? She’s still there.  Loving me.  I’m in awe.  I reconnected with my cousin through this difficult time and learned that we are as compatible as friends as we ever were.  Best of all? I discovered that my very best friend, for life, is the man to whom I’m married.  He’s willing to fight for me.  He’s willing to tell me the truth.  He’s willing to forgive me and tell me that, just because I may have made a mistake does not mean I’m not lovable.  I’ve never been so loved by him.  Yet here I am, at my most unlovable.

My precious children.

Of course, I’ve always had my kids.  They didn’t go anywhere.  However, I must say that they have shown me more compassion and love during these dark weeks than children should ever have to show their mother.  The kindness is immeasurable.  Their love is tangible.  The sweet hugs, the wiping away of my tears, taking care of me and the house, the looks of compassion, a tender hand in mine or on my shoulder.  They may not have been blessed with a perfect mother but they have been blessed with a training program for learning how to be great listeners and empathetic friends.

49587f1ebb377cf5ac35a8d1f69323a5Discernment.

Turns out, I’m pretty book smart but my street smarts aren’t so hot.  I’m about as naive and mature as a teenager, at best.  At times I think I might be less mature and more naive than I was as a teen, even.  Like I might be developing backwards.  I look young, I act young, and I think young.  I also trust and love young.  Easily, openly, and hard.  I love hard. This is all well and good when it comes to my immediate family.  Those people I can safely love hard and no harm will come to me.  Unfortunately, I’m not always able to refrain from loving everyone around me.  Once in a while, that love is dangerous.  Abused. Taken advantage of. Exploited even. I keep thinking about how, if I can’t even protect myself, how am I to protect my children?  Hopefully, and it seems as if this is the case, they already have more discernment even at their tender ages of 11, 9, and 6 than I do at 37.  I’m not sure I’ve gained discernment but I sure have read a lot of articles about red flags and manipulation and, well… hopefully next time I’ll be able to just go to one of my family members and say, “HEY?! Is this dangerous?” and they will be able to guide me.  Also, my gut? It’s pretty on target it would seem.

Focus on new (old) things.

Many of the things I love are bringing me down right now because the are connected to bad memories.  So I’ve had to force myself to focus on either new stuff that interests me or bring out the old stuff that isn’t somehow connected to the icky stuff.  This has helped me refocus on things like my love of the B-52s, my art, my writing, movies in my Netflix queue which I’ve been meaning to watch, working out, my love of healthy foods and coffee.  I cannot remove all of the bad feelings and I cannot control all of the triggers but what I can do is continue to reintroduce non-triggers as regularly as possible.

Have you ever been able to see gifts and precious rewards given to you as a result of a difficult time?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Scouting Out a New Heritage

As my children and I celebrate the Supreme Court’s lifted ban on marriage equality, I couldn’t help but remember details of our (less than pleasant) stint in the (conservative alternative to Girl Scouts) organization American Heritage Girls.  Realizing I never did get around to blogging about that whole ordeal, I decided this was a good time to let it all out.  All of that shame, humiliation, and discomfort that my daughter and I experienced… right here.

Years ago, I learned about AHG online.  I’d always had ill feelings toward Girl Scouts for their support of organizations that leave a bad taste in my mouth.  I have strong feelings against Planned Parenthood for personal reasons and the fact that they (Girl Scouts) financially supported this organization bothered me greatly.  Also, I was still trying to do the conservative thing and be the conservative wife and mother.  So, mental note, if a troop ever formed nearby, I’d check it out.

We attended an open house and immediately I was bothered by what I saw and heard.  I was told that pledging allegiance to the flag was not optional and I had to sign something saying that I believed marriage was between a man and a woman.  While I didn’t want to sign this document, I went ahead and did it (when will I ever learn?) because my daughter said she wanted to participate and I’d dragged her there so… I signed.  I justified it by saying that, at the time, same sex marriage was not legal so therefore, technically, marriage in our state WAS between a man and a woman.  They should have written the statement differently.  Loophole.  Loopholes everywhere.

I didn’t want to leave my daughter alone with these strangers so I was also required to purchase a membership just to be allowed to sit in the room with her.  Okay.  RED FLAG.

Once the meetings got going, I could see that my daughter wasn’t happy.  She felt awkward at the meetings and like she didn’t fit in.  They didn’t allow her to join in with her grade.  She had to be put into a group based upon her age and she was significantly more mature than the rest of the girls in that group.  Eventually she made one friend but that child was in the older girl’s group because they met at a homeschool activity and were in the same grade.

Also, the joke was on them because I literally did not stand for any of their pledges.  I sat during each one, just daring them to try and make me stand.

We are pretty big on follow through here at our house.  If you start something, unless there is abuse or danger or some other terribly good reason, you finish it.  Just simply not having a ton of fun wasn’t a good enough reason to drop out of American Heritage Girls so we continued.  We worked on badges at home and participated in the extra activities outside of meetings.  My daughter hated every second of it but, confession, I thought it was kinda fun!

Still, there was a part of me that felt uncomfortable. For one thing, I noticed that at the beginning of one meeting, the leaders prayed, publicly, for “marriage to remain only between a man and a woman.”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Were they seriously praying about gay marriage?  This would not sit well with my daughter. And it certainly didn’t sit well with me.

At the beginning of one meeting, a girl approached my daughter and the first thing she said was, “Why does your mom homeschool you?”  My daughter was taken aback.  She’d never been asked this question before so she responded in her most defensive tone, “Um, because she doesn’t want me to grow up to be stupid.”  While I laughed hysterically at this response, we did take a few moments to discuss alternative responses should such a circumstance arise again in the future.  I believe we decided upon, “Because it’s what she feels is best for our family” to be a better answer.  But come on, when someone approaches you with a question phrased in such a manner, they are kinda asking for it!

During our 14 months of being involved with AHG, I felt humiliated several times.  Perhaps the most humiliating situation was when my girl was earning her theater badge.  One of the requirements was to be part of a production and then invite your troop to attend the performance.  This “children’s show” called Goldilocks and the Three Bears had closed-to-parents rehearsals.  Great.  I have stuff to do.  So I dropped my children off at the theater and went on my merry way. My husband and I made plans to attend the very last performance.  Meanwhile, four families from my daughter’s troop had purchased tickets.

Little had I known that the show included drug and alcohol references and a lovely little song about bras, with the actors (all children, mind you) holding a variety of bras.

Now, I’m no prude.  My kids watch all matter of “not appropriate for children” material and I’m fine with it. But in the context of government funded children’s theater, I take family-friendly very literally.  That should mean all (or at the very least most) families should be able to attend the production.  Considering what I had learned about the level of conservativeness in the AHG community, I was certain I must do something and I needed to do it quickly.  I went home and wrote a letter of apology to the four families who purchased tickets.  Two of them responded graciously, laughing it off.  Another family didn’t respond at all.  And the troop leader?  She’d been forewarned about the material from a friend who attended the show opening night and made the judgment call to keep her children at home.  She didn’t blame me but I could tell from her letter that we were parenting in two entirely different worlds. Still, I felt like had a level of respect for me, especially when I wrote the appropriate emails of complaint, requesting her ticket money be refunded.  I’d done all I could.

So imagine my surprise a couple months later when I asked her to spread the word about my public Q&A session with Veterans at the public library and I was met with great resistance.  My homeschool co-op put together a “Meet the Veterans” event.  It felt like the perfect fit for AHG since they are all about patriotism and loving on our Veterans (a characteristic of the organization I appreciated).  I was called and questioned at length about why my co-op is secular.  What did that mean?  Why did I choose to involve myself with a secular co-op (which I started, by the way)?  After I answered her probing and irrelevant-to-the-event questions, I felt mentally violated.  I never could figure out why the answers to these questions mattered when it came to informing the other AHG homeschoolers about our Veteran’s event.  I was humiliated.

My daughter eventually experienced humiliation as well.  The night of the last awards ceremony, my daughter wasn’t informed that she was to go up with the other 2nd graders.  She sat there waiting for the 3rd graders to be called because she was in 3rd grade.  Anyone would be confused.  She stood there, waiting for the announcer to call her name.  They never did.  Finally, they saw her there and said her name very quickly just to get her moving off of the stage.  She was never actually recognized.  She was so confused and I felt terrible for her.  Someone should have remembered that she’d been stuck with a bunch of kids in a different grade from her own.

At her final meeting, we both decided that it was high time our family and AHG go their separate t ways.  She left that meeting horrified.  I did too.  She witnessed one of the leaders in her classroom verbally abuse her developmentally delayed daughter over misusing a wipe.  I witnessed a mother in the lobby slap a little boy in the face for basically just existing.  We were both heartbroken.  This was not an environment in which either of us felt comfortable.  I told her that night we’d not go back in the fall.

I asked the troop leader, a month or two later, to remove me from the mailing list once she started sending out reminders about the upcoming school year.  It was then that she apologized for the embarrassing mix up which had occurred the night of the award’s ceremony.  When I explained that my daughter had been crying, begging to not go to meetings, and that I couldn’t keep forcing her, the troop leader kindly offered up prayers that she’d find an activity she truly enjoyed.  And I believe she was sincere.

Now that I’ve had a full year to reflect upon the entire experience, I’m, more than anything, just glad to be away from it.  I’m sure they’ve issued a formal statement about the decision made by our Supreme Court yesterday.  As soon as the Boy Scouts instated their policy of homosexual acceptance, I received an email from AHG stating that they were suspending any and all affiliation with the BSA organization.  No doubt there are plenty of AHG members praying about the fate of our country.  Certainly the leaders of the organization are making plans to “take back” our nation for the sake of our girls.

Meanwhile, I took this picture of my daughter last night.  When I took it, I didn’t realize she was wearing her AHG shirt.  But it seemed rather fitting that she’d be donning her most patriotic attire on a day when we were all feeling a little bit more proud than usual of good old ‘Merica.  I’m thankful for a daughter who tolerates, loves, and accepts unconditionally.  She learned all of those things without the influence of some religious sect disguising itself as a “scouting troop”.

gaycookies

Relentlessly gay cookies in celebration of marriage equality.

Repressed Memories, Kimmy Schmidt, and the Art of Self-Exoneration

In the past few days, since the news about that family has dropped (you know who I’m talking about), I’ve been obsessively reading any article on the matter appearing in my Facebook feed.  Initially, I was simply trying to gain more information as I was in shock.  The shock was not about what had happened.  The shock was about my being right.  I’ve known for years that something was up with this family (beyond the fact that they were part of a cult) and my gut told me it was this.  This exact thing.  But of course, that self-doubt creeps in and you tell yourself, when those instincts are triggered, that you couldn’t possibly be right and, further, that you are just a mean-spirited person for thinking that way. 

Early on, though, I kept reading because learning of this situation had triggered a memory I’d stashed away.  I’d hidden it so deeply, even though it happened when I was nineteen, that I’d even blocked out the person.  There have been plenty of comments in support of the offender in this public ordeal but there has also been support for the victims.  Those poor girls.  In these words of support for the girls,now young women, whose painful past is being dissected and discussed publicly, I found support for myself.  I would never pretend that my experience was the same as the experiences of these girls.  The victims in this high profile case have endured so much and I cannot even begin to imagine how much irrevocable damage has been done. My circumstance happened one time, and when I woke up, my perpetrator quickly removed himself and that was that.  After I moved out of the dorm, I don’t remember ever seeing him again.  What I learned that night was not to fall asleep on the sofa in the lobby of my college dormitory while studying/reading.  I learned this was a bad idea.  Because I was just inviting someone to touch my private parts. I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t to blame.  That I didn’t invite Mitch (that’s right, his name was Mitch) to molest me in my sleep.  I also tried to tell myself that I didn’t invite my boss, a few years later, to tell me that I “oozed sexuality”.  I tried to tell myself that I did not ask for it when, recently, I tried to befriend a fellow male writer who happens to be male and he propositioned me.  I tried to tell myself that these men were to blame.  But of course, that self-doubt creeps in and you tell yourself, when those instincts are triggered, that you couldn’t possibly be right and, further, that you are just a mean-spirited person for thinking that way.  

So, now I’m swimming in these memories.  I’m feeling a lot of anxiety, anger, and frustration.   Certain things are helping, like this sketch from Funny or Die.  It helped to link the dark humor from one of my favorite shows, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, to the situation so I created a meme:  white-dudes-holdI’ve cried a lot.  But mostly I just keep reading and reading and reading.  The articles in support of his victims, the comments in support of his victims, the ones stating that they weren’t to blame and shame on any whacked out cult-like teachings that might indicate otherwise… that’s the stuff I’m looking for.  That’s good stuff.  That’s the stuff that is helping me heal.  It’s helping me throw my feminist fist in the air and shout, “I’m not to blame”.  The way I dressed, the way I spoke, the way I flirted or behaved or awkwardly handled myself was no reason to do anything to me, in my sleep, no matter where I happened to be sleeping.

Instead of waking up, reciting to myself a little chant, something akin to Kimmy Schmidt’s “I’m not really here. I’m not really here. I’m not really here,” I wish I had  immediately sprung to action and punched the creep in the face, a move I liken to the response Kimmy had when her backpack was stolen.

What I have gained by watching this scandal unfold is… well, some pretty upsetting repressed memories.  But also, I have gained the ability to see previous positions in which I’ve found myself as not my fault.

I wasn’t “asking for it”.  I was just existing.

kimmybeyou

I have to let them know they didn’t break me.

Also, thanks Kimmy.

Next time, I’ll be unbreakable.