Dear Gabby Douglas

Dear Gabby,

You are adored by the world, thousands of Americans watched the 2012 Olympic Games in awe of the 4 foot 11 girl who was achieving so much for our great nation. I too, was one of those spectators. I watched in awe of how well you moved and the strength in your body. I celebrated with my fellow Americans when you won gold and truly represented your country.

It can not be an easy feat being a young girl with millions watching. You are not given the opportunity to mess up and later grow from those experiences. Instead, you are scrutinized and put under a microscope that can detect even the tiniest of microbs that look suspicious. For this I am sorry. I will not pretend to know what this feels like from the perspective of a young woman in the spotlight. But I do have experience with being under the microscope of a different sorts.

I am a survivor of rape. Everywhere I turn these days, I see more and more women coming out with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. I can hardly get on Twitter or Facebook without seeing a new case coming out or someone telling these survivors why it’s there fault that these tragities have happened to them. What you said is no exception.  Yet, I would like to challenge what you said with my own story, instead of bashing you for a mistake you made. When I was 19, I was at a beach house with friends when I was raped. You hear beach and you might thing that I was wearing a bathing suite and you would be wrong. It was cold that night. I wore a red give blood t-shirt and Nike compression capris. I got drunk hours before it happened, but by the time it did happen, I was no longer drunk. I said no hours before it happened, but could not find the words to say it again when it actually did happen. I’m not saying this for your empathy, I’m saying this because I hope that it might be of a learning experience.

While it is not my fault that I was raped, it is also not your fault that you said what you did. I blame many factors, but primarily I blame the society that we live in. We live in a society where it is easier to blame the victim than to believe them. Maybe in a sense it is to make us feel empowered, like there is something that we personally can do to keep us safe from becoming a victim ourselves. Sadly, this leaves the ones who do become victims with a magnitude of shame. It leaves thoughts like, “if I had just worn less provocative clothing,” or “if I had just screamed for help,” when really all that needed to happen was for the rapist to not rape.

I will not forget that you did publicly apologize, and while I will not say it was completely invalid. I will say that it is easier to say sorry out of pressure than it is to say sorry out of true remorse and understanding. While your apology will suffice some, I doubt it will suffice survivors. I cannot speak for all of them, but I am angry. I am angry that you’re raised in a society that has brainwashed you into thinking and believing these things. I hope that one day you will understand that a survivor is never at fault. I hope that you come to this conclusion through logic rather than through experience.

Gabby, you may never come across my little piece on a little blog on a little place in this world. But if you do, know that I will not blame you.

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Dissociation

Dissociation is a relatively new thing to me. This happens when I know I’m about to go through something that I cannot handle. The last time I remember seriously dissociating was during a sexual assault training when I couldn’t handle listening because I knew I would start going through flashbacks.

Today I was going through my notes for my drama class to prepare for my midterm, as I was going through I smiled at the little doodles that I remembered doing and the funny notes that I took about something the professor said or something a fellow student said. As I progressed through my notes, I noticed my handwriting got more sloppy and one page made absolutely no sense and then I came across a page that I didn’t even remember writing. I don’t mean I didn’t remember as in I had forgotten. I mean I didn’t remember as in the memory was not there. It scared me. The only time I have dissociated is when I actively did it to protect myself. I’ve never had my unconscious do it for me. My friend mentioned that maybe I shouldn’t look at this as a negative thing and look at it as my body giving me the rest I need but will not willingly give myself, thus my unconscious taking over and removing this memory from my mind. While this makes total sense, my biggest fear is that this is apart of something bigger than myself. Since my biological father has borderline personality disorder, I am worried that this is something I could have. BPD has been shown to be genetic in some cases, one of the symptoms is dissociation, and most of the time it does not manifest until a person’s late teens or early twenties. I’m trying to focus on everything that I need to do for school and work, but now this is lingering in the back of my head. It’s like a huge shadow that won’t stop following me. Below is what I wrote when I dissociated.

 

How do we ask for help? Do we simply talk about transgressions until someone finally understands? Do we silently “deal” with it on our own? Do we scream at the top of our lungs until someone finally says, “its ok, I hear you?” The problem is I can’t ask for help. I am m biggest enemy, self sabotaging until I’m so far gone you can’t help but notice. My insides would come crashing in on myself, bones cracking and puncturing my lungs. But you won’t notice that. Its not like I’ve been able to breathe anyway. I’ve been drowning in the sea of perfection that I created, thinking I was a mermaid when I was only human. Not accepted  by the ways of the sea, and unable to keep up with the perfection of the land.

Struggle

I’m struggling today more than normal. I think everything is catching up to me. I thought I was fine, completely fine actually. I’m not struggling as much as others so I don’t want to necissarily announce that I’m struggling, but I am. I’ve been thinking a lot about my brothers that I haven’t met. I check up on Facebook to look at their pictures every now and again. One of them has a kid now and I found myself crying because I might never know that child,yet he is my nephew. The other brother needs a lot of help, mental illness rules his life. So I just traded up at the thought of them and my bio dad, also ruled by mental illness. I try not to think about it much, but lately everything has been a lot. Me and the guy I’ve been sleeping with for the past 3 years haven’t slept together in almost 2 months. I miss him, even though I shouldn’t. I’m struggling in some classes. I feel my own mental health deteriorating but I can’t let it. I have to be the strong one. So here I am and here I go.

Tired

Today I was in an officer training for an organization I’m involved in on campus. One of the officers did not join us for lunch and when the president asked what was wrong, our reply was, “he’s stressed and tired.” Her reply? “I’m stressed and tired too, but here I am.”

After hearing this my body boiled up with anger and tears welled up behind my eyes. I will never understand how we cannot see that people’s tired and stress affects them differently than it may us. I have been in nonstop training, recruitment, and school for a month. Let me share what my tired and stressed looks like.

My tired looks like 5 hours of sleep feeling like 5 minutes. Missed deadlines. Being 5-10 minutes late to class and not even freaking out about it. Putting on make up to hide the bags under my eyes and dressing up to look like I have it together when in reality I just spent the 5 seconds of  time I had to breath wondering if my razors were were still stashed in my laptop case from 2 years ago.

My stressed doesn’t look that much different. It’s forgotten homework. It’s reclusing to my room and wanting to share my inner world but constantly reminding myself that if I let it out, I can’t bring it back in. It’s “I’m stressed,” followed by, “I’m fine,” just so that people won’t worry too much but if something happens, they can’t say I didn’t warn them.

And when you combine the tired with the stressed it’s even worse. It’s PTSD flashbacks. It’s me being so stressed and tired that my tired body has turned into a tired soul and I can no longer have the willpower to continue fighting the flashbacks. My tired soul cannot be invigorated by a few hours rest. My soul needs to breath in the beauty of love and serenity. And instead it is stuck trying to explain to you why your bodily tired does not compare to the restlessness of a soul. A soul who has been damaged so many times that when it feels any sort of stress it is triggered to remember the worst stress that it has encountered.

But knowing this would do nothing. Because you don’t understand what a tired soul looks like. All you see is undone work and failed leadership. You will always try to fix those things. But until you allow the tired soul the rest it deserves, nothing else will ever fall into place.

Sun

Hot summer mornings are illuminated by the flowing embers of our Goddess, Sun. We giggle with the warm caress of her embracing our bodies with the familiarity of a lover. No wonder Icarus could not stay away from you, burning is nothing compared to the pain of being absent from your warmth.

Lover, never leave me. I long to feel the pain that you bring. Burn me until I am nothing but charred embers illuminating your sunrise and ashes signaling your departure.

I. Am. Yours.

 

Keys

“Hey girl, low key really like this boy.”

“No girl, we all know that’s high key.”

But what does low key and high key actually mean?

Key as in music? Key as in specifically piano. Notes so low that add a richness but are easily forgotten or notes so high that grab our attention and scream in our faces until we’re forced to turn around and face it?

But when I say low key I just don’t want to bring attention to how high key I really feel. I don’t want to call attention by using high keywords but in the end I can’t help but feel and express high key feelings

Low key don’t want to act out being a sexual assault victim when low key it wouldn’t even be acting.

low key lost my keys and locked myself out of my room because of the before mentioned low key roll

low key drowning because the stress and anxiety of doing this is eating away all the good parts of me, letting the darkness take control over my body until I can’t function and am low key getting physically ill.

I actually high key love my job but low key cannot handle the deep,dark parts that are forcing themselves to the surface, breaking through my skin and encasing me in a shell, hiding me from the world.

Low key: I can’t do this.

I can never bring myself to write a poem about you. So I will write about everyone else.

Dear my first,

Did you not understand when I said no? Did you not understand when I crossed my legs? How about my exasperated  “sure just do it.” Did you not realize that I was just tired of fighting? Tired of constantly having to say no and never being enough for you. I’m sorry I broke your heart when I broke up with you, but you started slowly breaking as soon as you realized how vulnerable I was.

Dear 26 year old,

Did you realize I was 18 and dumb? Did you notice that I was a wanderer at heart and wasn’t going to stay because of you. My soul longed for adventure. I constantly reassured you that you were not stealing from the cradle, I jumped out of it. I was trying to warn you that I would always jump. Each jump would be from a slightly higher cliff. I’m sorry I hurt you when I left, but with each moment I stayed, I felt myself sinking deeper into the ground. I’m sorry, but birds aren’t meant to stay on the ground. They’re meant to skydive down and then rise back up.

Dear rapist number one,

How fucked up is it that I have to specify number one. When I wrote dear rapist my heartbeat quickened and tears started forming in my eyes. I will never be able to explain to you what you have done to me and I’ll never be able to understand why you thought it was okay. Because of what you did, every time I see you I have to walk away and find a place to cry until my lungs no longer have the energy to cry and I have two choices, suffocate on my own breath or calm down and continue living. I choose to live. But I also choose to hope that one day you rot from guilt. I may be too scared to go through a case with you, but I’m not to scared to face what you did to me, not anymore.

Dear rapist number two,

I thought you were my chance. I idealized you, thought you were the person for me. You got me. I was wrong. We had wonderful conversation and dinner. But apparently no sex on the first date is the equivalent of a zebra asking the lion to talk before a slaughter. I guess you can’t be to blame, I froze, I complied. The voice inside my head saying “just get it over with, give him what he wants and it can be over.”  I cried all the way home. I’m sorry, you will never know what you have done to me. I’m sorry, that you will never know why we didn’t work out. Maybe it’s better if you don’t

Dear you,

I’m sorry.