“Wait, let me explain,” you said as you grabbed my arm in the store the other day.
I’ve seen you many times in the last few years because while all your counterparts have moved away, you still live in the town we grew up in.
And I thought I was over it. I thought I was because I’ve looked you in the eyes and told you that I forgive you, I’ve helped you pick up things that I caused you to drop when I quite literally ran into you, I’ve stood in front of you in the checkout line as I told you what God’s done in my life.
I thought I was over it. I thought I was.
But I’m not–all these years I’ve been repressing and it’s been festering. And all it took (and I say all in the most sarcastic way possible because it’s not a small problem; it’s a huge problem) was being sexually harassed every day for three months for the problem that I’ve been ignoring to explode.
So, no. I’m not interested in what you have to say. I don’t care for your explanations and your smack-in-the-face apologies. Your you wouldn’t have PTSD if you had just killed yourself like we wanted explanations for your you started it because you wouldn’t go out with me behavior.
And you are absolutely mistaken if you think I’m going to do a TED talk with you. I know this one woman did this one time, and maybe she’s a far better person than I. I can put up with you: I can see you in the store and be fine. Heck, I can even sort of stand to see you in my church like I did a few months ago (although, secretly on the inside, I’m glad you haven’t come back). But, I have no interest in hearing your side. At least not right now.
“Wait, let me explain.”
No, let me explain.
Let me explain how much what you and your “friends” did to me ten years ago has impacted my life. (And I use the term “Friends” lightly because from what I saw throughout high school is that after what you did to me, you five never talked to each other again. A guilty conscience is easier to bear alone.)
Let me explain in no uncertain terms how much I’m hurting right now because I thought I was fine. And then my therapist said, “Actually, you’re traumatized, but one part of you tried so hard to block it, and the other part of you remembered all of it.”
And he was right: I am traumatized. Because even as I sit here writing this, I feel like I’m about to break. I’m trying to keep the tears inside my eyes at least until I finish this. Because it’s really hard to write when all you want to do is cry, when all you’d rather do is break.
Because I am traumatized to the point of being suicidal, and the biggest problem with this right now is that anytime I get triggered in any way (That is, as soon as I’m reminded of what you did to me), I want to drive into a tree.
Which means, right now, my therapist won’t let me go to the gym. Because every time I go, especially by myself, I end up sitting on a bench for an hour or two solely so I won’t get behind the wheel of my car. I shouldn’t have to protect myself from myself.
So, I’m not interested in your explanation, in your you’re making mountains out of molehills because I am not.
I haven’t slept through the night in who knows how long because I keep having nightmares about school bathrooms and dripping faucets and hands all over my body. About bite marks and being choked. About things in my mouth and words in my ear and things in my body that no was unable to stop.
And I am fighting so hard to be ok. I’m fighting so hard to prove you wrong, to rewrite the definition you gave me.
I’m not interested in your explanation because the truth is, for so long, I blamed it on myself. Sometimes I still do.
If only I..
If only I..
If only I..
And the truth is: it’s been a week since I self-harmed (the second time I stopped. The first time was seven years ago, but then the shit hit the fan). Because I would cut myself open in the places you touched me when I felt your hands on my body because physical pain has always been easier for me to deal with than emotional pain.
And the truth is: I’m hurting. I’m broken.
And I don’t want to be. I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to keep being reminded of my past: I don’t want to have to worry that some guy touching my hand will send me into a panic. I don’t want to have to worry that some guy in the store looking at me for too long will make me want to drive into a tree. I don’t want to have to worry that I’ll have a panic attack in the waiting room as I’m waiting for therapy because some guy on the phone has a voice that sounds like yours.
But that’s where I am right now: simultaneously living in the past and present, unable to look to the future because I’m not sure I’m going to make it that far.
Because I feel broken and dirty, discarded and used.
And here’s where the disconnect is between reality and what I perceive to be true: none of the sentence above is true. But that’s how I feel.
That’s how you made me feel.
I’m not interested in your can I send you flowers because I remember what it was like explanation because I’ve tried for so many years to forget.
But all I did was repress, and now the dam has burst, and I’m sitting here writing this alone, feeling everything, wanting to feel none of it. Because sometimes I’d rather be dead than feel how I’m feeling in this moment (which is why I’m in group therapy right now: to learn how to manage this moment of emotion long enough to work through the larger issue at hand). And the larger issue at hand is how you caused me to view myself.
Because the way I view myself is broken and ugly and worth very little, completely unlovable and unredeemable.
And I know that’s not true because I have a God who’s made me so much more. Who died so that my red could become white. Who loves me so much He literally bore it all for me.
But, here’s the thing: I sent a text to one of my best friends tonight, the one who about two months ago started going to the gym with me so I wouldn’t have to go alone. I asked her “when I’m ready to go to the gym again, would you want to go with me?”
She replied: “Absolutely! Is that even a question?”
It shouldn’t be a question, but it is.
It is because sometimes I think I’m the worst person in the world because of what happened to me. Sometimes I think I’m the worst person in the world for telling people when I’m hurting. Sometimes people have made me feel like the worst person in the world for the way they responded when I told them I was hurting.
And here’s the thing: I’m trying so hard. So hard.
But I am so tired. Because the truth is, right now, I can’t go out in public without being reminded of what’s happened to me. And maybe someday, it won’t hurt. But right now, right now in this very moment, it does.
And I’m not interested in your you were better off dead explanations because the truth is: I’m not. Because I’m not scared to tell my story, to tell what you did to me. I’m not scared to tell people that I have PTSD, and as a result have Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, and am suicidal.
You don’t scare me. You hurt me in profound and deep ways. In ways that I’m going to be working through for a while.
What scares me is people thinking that they have to walk through life alone. What scares me is people not reaching out, not asking for help. What scares me is that somedays, I see myself heading back that direction.
And I’m so so so thankful for the people in my life that won’t let me do that. I’m so so so thankful for those people that say, “Hey. Let’s go get lunch.” I’m so thankful for the ones who don’t let me isolate myself, who won’t let me hold everything in.
Because they, they’re the ones whose explanations I want the most. They’re the ones whose your not a terrible person for feeling this way reminders are the ones that are helping me.
And one day, my past won’t define me. Because I am so much more than what you did to me.
(But right now, in this moment, it hurts so much.)