Fragility and Hardness


…They don’t understand that I would rather be dead than live through that again. I don’t say this lightly. I am not suicidal or depressed. I have a beautiful and strong relationship with my higher power. I believe in my purpose in this world. But I believe that in my core, I would not survive it. You can’t explain that to someone. Nor, do I really want the people I love to understand the kind of brokenness I’m talking about. No one should have to know this wreckage.

I think about how people view women who are angry. Women who say things that are honest and uncomfortable. I think about (…) how I pointed out that men use their penises as weapons. And while this is simply a fact, as someone has certainly used their penis as a weapon against me, as there are documented cases of mass rape being used as a war tactic, some of the men in my class became very agitated and upset with me. My friends. Almost as if I was accusing them. One of my friends even suggested that this desire was due to natural urges. I think about the consequences of being this woman. The reality I have endured since high school. What it always comes down to is that I simply cannot be any other way.

My then-boyfriend says that he didn’t know what to do or say. (…) A younger me would have asked him to come over (…) He doesn’t offer, and I don’t ask him. The difference is I want him to be here, but I don’t need him. (…) imagine what I would say to a woman who I was counseling, a woman who was experiencing this moment. I would say that it’s normal. That it’s okay to feel like this. I would say to take your time. That healing is never linear. That it’s not fair. I would ask her what she needed. I would ask her what I could do for her in that moment. I would say that even though there’s still a part of her that believes it was her fault, because she snuck out, or she did drugs, or she gave mixed signals, that it’s not her fault. I would tell her that she’s not alone, and that she doesn’t have to go through this alone. I would hold her, and we would just be.

(…) he thinks that I can control this. He says that I can call him anytime. But I won’t.

The next morning I woke up, I prayed, I read my morning meditations, and I blocked my rapist on Facebook. I decided that I would rather have his name written permanently in my privacy settings than have to see his picture. I note our mutual friends. I think about what he told people at school after I had been kicked out, and he knew that it was only a matter of time before I told someone the truth. He told people that I was begging for it.

I am okay in the sense that I will do my work, and meet my friends, and continue on trying to help people and to do the next right thing. But as the scar tissue thickens, there’s aftershock. I put the teakettle in the refrigerator. I spilled hot, wet coffee grounds all over my kitchen. And despite this bizarre fragility, I feel an incredible hardness beneath my skin.

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