“Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.” –Sara Bareilles
Some things, you don’t get over. Not all the way.
I have always been a leader. I am naturally confident, despite my repeated assurances to those surrounding me that I am, in truth, shy. I am, as a woman I greatly respect once told me, someone who is very quick to spot the shortcomings of others, though not in a bad way, and who is very certain regarding what I want to do. I translate this to mean that I know what I want, and I know that I am more than capable of achieving it. At some point, she must have seen that in me. At some point, I saw that in myself. I don’t see that now and it scares me. However, she still seems to see it and is quick to steer me back that way when I mentally wander, as I have a frequent tendency to do.
I obsess over even the smallest of faults. In my eyes, anything less than straight As is a slip. When I see seven out of tens on very simple concepts that I should have nailed, I see it as a failure. The perfect scores come and go; I only take notice of where I am lacking, failing. Even one failure is too many. I use my grades to fill a hole where I once had other things; when I get good grades I am successful. But not now. I’m worried that I will slip, that I will fall, that I will fail. The past is still too new, no matter how much distance I put in between myself and it. If I could talk about it, if I could say hey, look, over here…drowning. But I don’t. I don’t talk about it.
Drowning: the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in a liquid substance.
There was a time in the unspecified past when I thought I was drowning.
Near drowning: the survival of a drowning event.
What they don’t say about near drowning is that is almost as bad as drowning itself, and that some people would say it is easier to let yourself drown. When you survive, you spend forever after picking up the pieces that are left behind by the experience, cleaning up the mess that has been made of your life. You are supposed to get over things, but sometimes you can’t. You are never the same as you were.
I am not the same.
I let other people speak for me. Those who care the most want me to speak for myself. It’s hard. Sometimes, I can’t. He took my voice away.
I am allowing the past to bury me. I can’t for the life of me comprehend why this is so difficult now. I expected more of myself. Moving on is hard.
Have I gone too long? Am I too far away?
No one can answer those questions but me.
I am straddling two worlds now; those who know, and those who don’t. I don’t fit into either. Those who don’t know wouldn’t accept me anymore; they are the ones I fear would turn their backs on me. Those who do know are the ones I don’t want to hurt, the ones who keep reaching out. The ones I am ashamed to let see me.
The ones that hurt for me, despite my best efforts to shield them.
When something bad happens to you, sometimes the only solace that can be found is inside yourself. When the world is abnormal, when everything is altered, when you are all that you have…Controlling your emotions is the last thing you have left. And silence was the only way I could hold back my emotions.
I worry that I don’t fit into the world anymore, in the after. I worry as I watch the impact on those who know, the wave that rushes over them. I worry that I am different to them now; that I will always be different. I worry that their opinions of me are forever discolored. I see it in their eyes, and I hear it in their voices. I worry that I’m getting lost.
I don’t fit into the world anymore. Not the me that is here now, not the way that I am now. I can never fit back into the place that I left behind. I have to form a new piece, a new place in which to fit. I plunge ahead, even as scared as I am that I don’t know how. That I will never fit. That I will never accept this experience as mine.
When a woman is raped, she loses her voice.
I lost my voice.
This loss didn’t happen in the physical sense; I don’t mean it in a literal way. Rather, it happened in the mental sense. The act of rape is such a violation, such a shaming, that it is hard to connect in the aftermath. It’s hard to talk to people. It’s easier to keep silent than to risk getting hurt again, easier to hide behind words and false adjectives and creative pronouns and tenses. Easier and safer. No matter how much time passes, be it days, weeks, months, years, staying silent is always the easier option. Day to day interaction is difficult after. It is hard to share any thoughts at all. Everything else in life seems ridiculously trivial.
I want to be normal. I want my greatest problem to be deciding what to wear on any given day. I want to be the girl with the obsession with pandas and pajama pants (in no particular order). I want to be known for my brain, and for the awesome things I can do with it. I don’t want to be known for the things I have lost, the holes that have been left behind. I only want it to be known that I have beaten them. I want to beat them. I don’t want to be silent. I want to finish my memoir, I want to publish it. I want to be more than simply the one that these things happened to. I want to be the person who conquered the shit out of them. I know that I can be her.
Some days are harder than others. Some days remind me of the past, of all that has been lost. And even though there is still so much coming my way, there are days where I am stuck. Today is one of those. And so, I write. Because I’m looking for the happy ending, for the life preserver that is floating in the pool.
Because it’s time.