There is the version of what happened that I convinced myself of before I told anyone else about what happened. I did it in a desperate act of self preservation. If I convinced myself it wasn’t that bad, maybe it would just go away. I would forget about it. It wouldn’t affect me everyday.
You have either been to the Indy 500 or you have not. And until you’ve been you can’t fully comprehend the sights, and the smells, and how witnessing such an event changes every other sporting event or mention of car racing forever.
When I talk about my assault I talk about it in the same sense as calling the Indy 500 ‘just a car race.’ It’s safer that way. It keeps all the little things that happened, that hurt, in a safe little bubble where they can’t be reached. Details like the door opening from the right or the sharp buzzing pain I felt when he cracked my head against the wall don’t come rushing back when I tell my version of the story. Basically I took all the awful parts, boxed them up and locked them away three levels deep where I could pretend they didn’t actually exist and hope they would just disappear.
I started listening to Tori Amos again for the first time in over 15 years. Tori was my life in high school, and if you would have told me that I would remember every single word from Under the Pink after not hearing the album for 15 years I would have thought you were crazy. But I do remember. I don’t know where I stored that information with everything that has gone on, but I remember. And in remembering the words I remember the life events that surrounded my obsession with Tori Amos. My favorite sweater, the boy who broke my heart, what it felt like driving my first car up Emigration Canyon with the windows down and nowhere to be.
I’m in therapy. And the person I’m working with is easily the reincarnation of every good and loving thing that has ever existed in my life, brought together to help work through everything that happened and everything I have tried to stuff down and ignore.
I’d rather not.
I was doing a really good job of ignoring it.
She said I had a magnificent gift of self preservation. That I was really good at putting up walls, defenses and coping mechanisms in place to protect myself. I said “Thank you.” she replied “It’s not a compliment.”
She explained my assault happened in a space and time where I had no defenses, no walls, no protection, no choice and that’s also where my recovery needs to happen as well. Not from the safe place I’ve created for myself since then.
Ugh. She’s right.
Just the thought of going back makes me nauseous. Blergh.
But it has to happen.