When we started this project I was just a story teller in my head, a head full of secrets, demons, passion, lust, fear and apathy. And then, I was encouraged to start putting my stories into words again—as I had up until I was twenty years old.
I started just like this, on an airplane flying home from Florida with my sister, my daughter and my niece. On our way home from an exhausting vacation both emotionally and physically. I do not travel well. I took a piece of notebook with Sesame Street printed on top and wrote a short essay.
Earlier that week, my friend and business partner Carry allowed me to tell her a story on the telephone. It had been a long day with the kids and sister. I smoked a lot and then told her about a time in my life, about being raped by two men as a child—laced with giggles and comedic overtones.
The conversation made her physically ill and it was then and I forget often, that I realized my story wasn’t all funny.
Daily, since the day I made my friend throw up from my self-deprecating humor she has pushed and cajoled me kinder and with more talent than I could ever write—to continue to tell my story.
I made it a job. I am a writer.
Being who I am at the core is a hard worker. I am a hustler, I have always found a way to get by before and after I was married. I have been hungry, tired, afraid and alone. But truth be told I got it done. Through years of disassociation, addiction, codependency and self medication, I have survived.
My job of chronicling my traumas and the process of going through realizing the true root of my pain has been and is only beginning for me. Athough (you) and (I) are anonymous I have started a new life with you all. You are the witnesses to the beginning of my journey. Eventually, my stories will be shared locally—I am better prepared by starting here. I am given strength, hope and belief through all of my readers. Regardless of gender, race, age, sexuality. I need and love my job of sharing and telling you all my stories. It is and through the Grace of God; truly always an honor, to have my words touch a heart or provoke a smile, a memory, a random feeling of anything. Just to have my thoughts spelled out and not caged anymore is my gift. Truly, truly my gift.
I recently had to tell my ex-husband, you know him as TripleEx, that he could not rent the extra room in my office/apartment above my homestead. It has been a hard decision for me as I really want him to be okay. I wanted to continue to believe that he was something that I made up in my head a long time ago. He isn’t that man and frankly , after sitting with some true thoughts for a bit and having the courage to see what’s real—he never was that man. Maybe for a day, or a week or sometimes an hour—but really that’s it. I latched on to “I love you and only I will love you”, twenty four years ago and have held on to it like a medal, when really, it’s a scar.
After allowing myself to be manipulated while trying to work over the past two years I have only continued a cycle of self abuse that I cannot endure or tolerate any more. I cannot allow something to happen, something that will continue to take joy from my life, rob me of a chance and feed on my fears without saying no again.
I have felt like a joke—but today it really seems inappropriate.
So I told my ex,” No”.
I had to retract the offer allowing him to move in. It’s a bad idea and although I wanted to explain more and plead my story, make him somehow understand how hurt I am; he saved me the grief and anxiety of an Oscar winning speech by screaming and repeatedly calling me horrible names. He called with the same a few more times and that was that. It was over.
When approached in most any fashion, often, that is the reaction of somebody abusive—as long is nobody is looking.
When I came home from Kentucky, after my short military career, marriage and honeymoon as a military wife with said crooner above, I reached out to some old people. I was twenty or twenty one and had a cousin I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked a few times on the phone and decided to hang out. When I got to her apartment, her boyfriend was sitting on the stairs outside. I was feeling good and young and somewhat brave from leaving my husband and trying to take care of myself.
Her boyfriend was “the rapist”. My rapist.
He said, “Hi Babe. You look good. She’s inside. We should hangout.”
That day and for several months I endured the dumb conversation, I never said anything, I smiled politely and tried to be friends with my cousin. Finally, I told her a few months later. I haven’t spoken to her since.
This is what happens in a small city. We all know a little bit about somebody so it begins to feel like a trap. It occurred to me only recently; had I told on those men who raped me, had I had the courage and strength that I have now through daily affirmation, to just once tell somebody who could help me, maybe I could have learned how to feel and live a little sooner. I may have saved myself and had the knowledge to know that the men who did similar things to me after were also accountable. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so hopeless, so unloved and worthless so often.
Maybe just maybe…
Some days the only strength I have, the only hope I muster up is; that it is my job to persevere, to continue to chronicle my traumas while narrating as a newly- admitted survivor. What I can say now is that nobody deserves to be sexually abused or raped. Nobody deserves to be verbally or emotionally manipulated, tortured or have their love held against them.
I am a woman with a story. I am a rape survivor and I suffer with severe PTSD. I will get through this. I have the tools. I have the support and I am coping. I have the faith in something besides myself.
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