To be honest I’m really not sure where this post is going to go. I’ve been dancing around the edges of writing a post about power and how words, thoughts and intent relates to all that. Instead I find myself sidetracked by another post I read a couple of days ago.
It’s one of those annoying posts that left me in tears as I read it and felt a kinship with the lady that wrote it. It was also annoying as I realised there was something I needed to address after reading. I didn’t particularly want to take action as there is a potential for backlash from this. I’m also suffering from an influx of hormones – the joys of being pregnant. Normally my rule when pregnant is the same as when one is drunk, don’t post anything emotional – anywhere.
This feels different, I’m not sure I can delay this until DC2 arrives, or my hormone levels return to something like ‘normal’. But I still find myself in a quandry as to whether to publish this or not. I have hit a ceiling in my journey and time has come to move onwards. I am definitely being hit over the head with a large hammer. My nature though is to not rock the boat, don’t cause ripples, move through this life quietly without causing hurt or grief to anyone else. At what cost though?
I’m going to post the link to the article that sidetracked me here. Please do go and read it. By all means, come back and read the rest of this one. If you find the original article too difficult to read, please close this window. This is my journey, it is my choice to be on this path. However, you don’t have to walk with me on this part.
Before you read any further, please know that I accuse no-one of anything. I simply wish to shine a light into one of the dark corners of my past, to tell my story and to hold myself accountable for my actions at that time.
I’ve asked myself countless times whilst writing this – for what purpose? Who do I want to read it? I’m still asking those questions. The person who’s name is at the end of this post is not identifiable – unless you know of my history. I am afraid of the backlash and pain it may cause my family by raking over old ground, and too those friends who still have contact with this person. I also find I don’t want to be disloyal to the good times that we did share. Surely maintaining a “dignified silence” is better? Well, all I can say to that is that’s been my modus operandi for the past 15 years. Ignoring it, does not heal it, has not healed it.
If you are friend or family of mine and this is news to you please talk to me regarding this, if you have things to say that is. If you don’t that’s all well and good.
In a situation very much like Britni, I found myself alone at home whilst my Other Half took our toddler out to play. Sat in the dark with the Christmas tree lights on my thoughts went to this article. I thought I was over this event in my past. That I’d done and dusted it, neatly tidied away all the emotions, the nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of total helplessness. There remain just a few strands.
I think it’s come to light now with the recent full moon’s theme on Christmas Day (letting go). It truly is a gift if I can bring what remains of this into conscious awareness, heal from this as fully as one can, and then let go of it.
The other reason for this being prompted, is that the person in question has been on the periphery of my life for years, and for the most part I have fully ignored the fact that he was anywhere near my life. Just one person is all it takes for that connection to be there. I am friends with someone on facebook who has him as a friend also, and even though I started writing this post a few days ago, a few posts have popped up on my timeline with this guy tagged in them. My physical and emotional reaction was another sign for me that its time to deal with this.
I have to realise though that not all of what remains will be eradicated. However, its up to me to make something better out of what remains. The analogy of taking a bowl and throwing it to the floor, then picking it up and gluing it back together does not make the bowl whole again. It won’t leak, it will hold things, but the joins will always be seen so lets not try to pretend that the damage never happened. The Japanese art form of Kintsugi to treat the breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise seems a better fit for what I need to do. It happened. There is no fault to lay at anyone’s door anymore – the time for that has passed. Its part of my history, my story. And this is time to accept it, instead of me hiding it away and pretending that part of my life, and that person never happened, that what happened to me didn’t matter. There are only a very few people who know of this event – up to this point. But my voice does matter. My story matters. I deserve to be heard and not continue to hide away.
There was a meme-post on facebook I saw recently. I’m not holding a grudge against him but by consciously ignoring him, ironically it was giving this person space to live rent-free in my head. It was taking effort to not think about it/him. To not be affected by his presence. To “try to be grown up” about it all.
To many people, I think they looked on how my life was going back in 2002/2003 and I’m sure they thought “What is she doing?”. To walk away from a marriage, a nice house to what? Living with parents again whilst retraining in a lets face it weird career? To go from the land of dependable income and salary of “employedom” and climbing the corporate ladder, to the chaotic, unstable life of being self employed. I get the feeling I’m regarded as somewhat mad, bad and dangerous to know, especially by those who only know part of the story (or who were shielded from it completely) behind why I seemingly went off the rails and walked away from everything everyone else was striving for at the time. With apparently no authentic explanation.
It also raises a question I’ve had levelled at me more times than I care to recall of the fact that its not rape if you’re in a relationship with that person. I don’t care whether you’ve been seeing them a minute, a day, a week, a year, a lifetime… married with kids or just “Together” – my answer is if the word No is said with intent – and it is ignored, you are physically and/or emotionally compromised – it is rape.
It was a company party. I had a lot to drink, for one reason or another, (clue leaving a boring job before joining a new company in a few days time – I felt party time hit!). I can’t say if he had “too much” to drink, but what I can say is that with the respective (large) amounts of alcohol in our systems we were at loggerheads. Stubborn modes were fully engaged – in opposite directions. The inevitable happened when we got back to the hotel room.
He was adamant that sex was on the cards. I was adamant that it wasn’t.
I remember not being able to fight back, down to being very drunk and also physically a lot smaller than he was. I remember not being able to shift his weight. The claustrophobic feeling of being pinned. I’d had no training or experience at that point of pressure points, joint cracks or any of the other nice little tricks one can use if one is physically smaller/weaker than your opponent. I fought it every step of the way. It wasn’t enough. I wasn’t able to stop it.
I went into the bathroom afterwards and looked in the mirror after I washed my face. I saw my Nana looking back at what looked like a very different version of me. The reflection in the mirror said “You end this. It’s over”. I nodded and said back to the reflection “Tomorrow”.
I can’t remember what happened in the morning. I can’t remember if he apologised, or if I cried. I was extremely quiet as I felt too ill (hungover) to go back to the events of the previous night. I think I just went and had something very light for breakfast and then we parted company. He stayed in the area to go to work on the Monday. I travelled home with my parents nursing a big packet of ready salted hula hoops. And Lucozade.
I didn’t tell my parents what had happened at that point. I wanted to get my feelings, thoughts and emotions straight. I went home to the house I shared with him. Knowing I’d be alone at home until the end of the working week.
I was told that it wasn’t rape as we were “together”. I was told that because I’d asked to play-rape in the past (exploring sexuality and fulfilling (very) juvenile fantasies) that he said he thought I was playing (even though no safe word had been set).
We talked. Well, I remember being talked at. Being made to feel that if I did end the relationship with him over this, that it would need reporting, that I would have to go to the police with all that would entail (and why didn’t I report it straight away?) and that would be his life over as he knew it. I didn’t like him very much at that point, but I didn’t want to ruin his life either. I just wanted to forget.
I didn’t want this to be public knowledge at the time – I was too embarrassed that I couldn’t stop it. That we’d role-played at it in the past. That those requests that were with supposedly someone I trusted were thrown back at me. The Trust was broken in more ways than one. I can’t say that “I was made to feel it was my fault”, but as a consequence of the conversations afterwards, I certainly felt it was my fault.
There were aspects of the relationship that were good. But as time went on those cracks that were forged in that hotel room, got bigger and bigger. He started looking for attention / affection elsewhere, and then I did. In reality and virtual land. It just got silly. Anyone with any sense would have seen what was happening and walked away.
The end came for me a few years later, shortly after we were married. Getting married would help fix things I thought. I was stood in the kitchen with my Mum at our house looking down the garden, and Mum said something along the lines of “That’d be an amazing garden to have a child run about in. I can just see a Little Zoe running up and down the garden path”.
Internally I broke. I found it difficult to accept anything in that way of physical closeness from him. I never felt free to be me with him in that way. I knew I couldn’t bring a child into that environment. At that point as I looked down the path and saw the “little Zoe”, I also knew I couldn’t deny that having a child was massively important to me.
A few days later I turned up at Mum and Dad’s in tears. Saying I had to leave him. And I told them why. I’ve never seen my Dad go so quiet or so pale. Mum didn’t know what to do, so she just held me.
I felt awful. Awful for causing them this pain. Awful for putting him and me through years of aggravation when it may have been better to just walk away. It wasn’t my nature to walk away, I’ve always looked for the good in people, to put others first, and that if anything was worth fighting for, you stuck it out and sorted it rather than just walking away. Cue another appropriate facebook meme…
It was definitely a life lesson. Soulmates I don’t know. Certainly in some aspects we seemed well suited. In others – you couldn’t have got much different. So much damage was caused in that relationship in the years following this event. Both ways. From having him whisper in my ear at night when I either was asleep, or very nearly asleep (and occasionally pretended to sleep) that I was cold, frigid and any manner of other things that were thrown my way. A great hypnotic induction into becoming the very things he accused me of. I rebelled and hit back where it would hurt the most. I’m not proud of those actions at all, but it was that or sink under the tide and loose myself.
Its taken a long while, over 15 years to be able to deal with the nitty gritty of this event. For a long while these things were emotionally black bagged and stored in my “deal with later” cupboard. But time moves on and it was only with that passing of time that I am able to look at the final things.
Fully healing from this situation reminds me of a concept of NLP. That one shouldn’t be attached to outcome. The end result may not be the one you think you wanted. For years I thought I would only be healed from this if the person in question cause no further disruption into my psyche. That the mention of his name, passing him in the street or seeing him pop up on a facebook timeline would have no effect upon my state whatsoever. Actually, I think that what needs to happen is that I need to take steps to protect myself. And to not be so naive to think that this person won’t hear about me or my doings in some way, from some source or another, there is more than one route back. No, its time to stop pretending that this person doesn’t exist anymore. To acknowledge his presence upon this planet and to take steps accordingly to protect myself and my family from the disruption that those healing cracks may cause on my emotions from time to time. A very good friend of me said that it was more about defining my personal boundaries than being “childish”. With that in mind I blocked my ex on FB.
I stand here in full light that I am no longer the same girl I was back then. And I hope and pray to all the Gods and Goddesses possible, that he too has walked his journey with honesty, account and integrity.
There remains two things I have to do.
The first is to release him from the past – from my past. For the part I played in this situation and the hurt I caused I am truly sorry, and I release your memory.
Oel ngati kameie.
The second is to reclaim my power in this event.
I was raped, 17 or so years ago. His name was Pat.