Seriously, Readers, today? Ehhhhhhhhh.
So, I finished my previous post last night at 2 am. I am best at writing posts either late at night or early in the morning, when I am too tired to have erected filters for my thoughts. And, in the interest of whatever reason it is that I have this blog (to document what a rape survivor goes through? To help myself recover? To reach out to other rape survivors? or d. all of the above?) I should kinda explain what happened post-post (oooh, clever) last night.
Which: the post ending was hopeful. I said I got it! And I do. But: WOW am I a mess. I wasn't lying last night, and it was true when I said it, but a rape survivor saying she's got it and can handle it is a little like her saying she is going to teach herself a foreign language. She will eventually figure it out, but lordy knows her conversation skills are going to suck for a while.
I know that there are rape survivors who read here, so they may be able to guess what happened after I was totally like I'm all over this, no worries: I couldn't sleep, after I'd pressed "publish post." For a long time. My mind kept running over and over every bad situation that could possibly occur from my rapist finding me. Then, today, because I am tired, I am not holding together so well. I forgot some very obvious, key things (MY LAPTOP, which I take my class notes on) walking out the door to class this morning (normally, I am a tightly run ship - when I start making big mistakes and being forgetful and scattered, it's a big red flag that I am sinking). I cannot get the images of my rapist beating someone else up from the web video out of my head - it is looping, like on infinite replay, as I write this. As I could not play online during the boring moments in class without my laptop, my mind drifted to fantasies of hurting myself, doing terrible, violent things to my body, things I am not even going to describe, because I don't even feel comfortable putting them into words. Everyone around me looked about three feet farther away than they actually were, and I couldn't feel them, like they were paper dolls instead of people.
And this is how it goes. I don't doubt myself any more this afternoon that I can handle this - I am just not exactly going to handle this with panache and grace. There is no smooth sailing out of rapeland (no, seriously, I have begun to think of myself as living in rapeland. It's one of those countries where you feel like you are the sole citizen, except you are not, and you know this, but you never really feel it to be true. Also, it is a little like Hotel California, because OBVIOUSLY). Interestingly though today, I really wanted to be able to make everyone I know, and with whom I interacted, aware that I was having a bad day, without me having to get into it and share something that is almost too prickly for me to reckon with myself. I wanted to be able to tell people, look, I need you to handle me with kid gloves, I feel like I might break. I wanted to be able to explain why I was so distant, so tired, so withdrawn. And I REALLY wanted people to know so they could just say, "I'm sorry," because I just wanted that kind of comfort and support today.
I wanted a fucking rape t-shit.
I am not ashamed of being raped. But there is, as I have mentioned, like, 4 times before, this weird disconnect, where I am really struggling and my depersonalization disorder has made it difficult for me to be present with anyone and I am fantasizing about hurting myself like crazy, but no one knows, and I have to function as a normal human being going about my day, and that is unbelievably jarring and difficult and isolating and lonely. It would be nice if folks knew, without me having to explain and thus triggering myself, because then I think I could stop with the charade of normalcy a little. As I have a hard time bringing up what is going on in my head, a rape shirt would kinda do this for me. I could be all, when asked about it, "Yeah, I know, just: one of those days," and the t-shirt would be like a note excusing me from gym class, but instead of sitting on the bleachers I could just sit out of daily functioning and social interactions for a bit.
Sadly, these shirts do not exist anymore. I know that Jennifer Baumgardner wanted these t-shirts to promote dialogue around rape, but mostly, I want to use it as an excuse. I want to be excused from life for a little bit. Because sometimes, as a rape survivor, you may be handling it, you've got it, but that's only because you know in the long-run, this will not end you. But in the short-run, today, you are just so totally done.