Saturday, March 24, 2012

With their nine inch nails and little fascist panties

Death from the Neil Gaiman "Sandman" comics.

On Tuesday, I had just found out what was being said about me at work, and I was outraged. The terror hit me the next day. I felt violated, as if these people had been in the room watching while I was raped. I woke up sick and out of my skin. I dragged myself to therapy that evening, but felt I had to hide my hair. I pulled it back into a ponytail and put on a black headband. I painted my nails black. I wanted to cover my body in black clothes and my head with black hair. Black feels safe for me. People can't see me in black. I know people notice me, especially if I'm wearing black head to toe, but they are seeing the black, not what's underneath. They can't see how vulnerable I feel. I started thinking about going back to work and wondered if I could do it, if I could see those people, knowing what they were saying. I just wanted to disappear. I thought of my brother, dropping out of the world, and understood. I wished I could just walk away from that job, from those people, and never have to see them again. Even more, I didn't want them to see me. It feels like when they talk about me, look at me, judge me they are taking pieces of me.They are acid rain, little drops burning my skin. Their words are leaches, attaching to my flesh and feeding on my blood. I cried a lot at therapy, as my feelings from high school washed through me. I was right there, that feeling of having a gaping, painful gash in my chest that everyone could see, and they just looked at me and talked about it as if I wasn't there, as if I wasn't a person hurting from this bloody wound. When I was in high school, I was a virgin but the talk about me was that I was a slut (with men), a lesbian, and a satan worshipper. The insults were not even connected to what was actually happening to me, even after it became common knowledge that I was in foster care because my parents were abusive. I wonder about why, when my blog talks about sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, dropping out of high school, living on the streets, being an antisocial punk rocker who is covered with tattoos, having PTSD and a brother who committed suicide, that the one thing they lit on was rape.

My therapist and I had two different interpretations of what it could mean to say that I have "bad mojo" and should be avoided because of being raped- either there was something wrong with me that meant the rape was something I deserved, in other words, I'm a slut and I was asking for it. The other explanation we came up with is that I was broken by the rape, damaged goods. Either way, it's the rape victim who has something wrong with her, not the rapist.The implication could include both. It's such a classic way to keep women in a box. When a rape charge goes public, the discussion is all about her sex life and how active she is, never how sexually active the accused rapist is. In some extreme cultures, raped women are forever disgraced, and sometimes murdered to restore the family's honor. Here in the U.S., we're so enlightened. We just call a raped woman a slut and a whore and treat her like a pariah. It's so easy to discredit a woman by associating her with sex (even though rape and sex are not the same thing), and with rape you can stab at an open wound, imply someone is a slut and corrupted, and color someone as a victim rather than a strong capable survivor. Even though the insults play on gender, it is not men against women at all. Women can be verbally just as cruel, if not worse, on other women than men are. Men usually have more influence, but women can make up for it in vitriol. It sounds like most of the people at work gossiping about my rape are women. Thanks sisters.

I slept all day Thursday and dropped 5 pounds. On Friday, I pulled my hair back and twisted it into a bun. I put a circle of black barrettes around my head. I wore black pants and a black trench coat, which I kept on until I left work. I tried to stay in my office. I felt a little like I was crawling out of my skin and a little numb. I had a hockey game that night. On the way there, I listened to Tori Amos (the post title is from Tori Amos' "Precious Things" from the album "Little Earthquakes") and The Ramones and cried a little. I was even afraid of being around my hockey friends. I felt different, and I didn't think anyone there would know how I was feeling and didn't think I could explain. It made me feel like I was on another plane of existence, and it was painful to be separated from my friends, but the thought of trying to let them into how I was feeling about myself was too much for me to do. I still wanted to curl up under a blanket and hide. I was looking forward to seeing my boyfriend that night but nervous that I would be nervous about being touched. In a sense, this is an opportunity for me to sit with some of my lingering discomfort with my body and the pain from social ostracization,that I've had for most of my life, and process it now that I am emotionally mature enough to deal with it. It hurts like hell, but I do have support I didn't have back then, and options. Hugs from my boyfriend felt good too. I'm moving through it, the only way to get past it.


Sesha said...

I wish I could fix the world :(

Anonymous said...

You are still a fighter and you are a survivor. You will overcome this challenging time and come out on the other side stronger and a better person for it. I know you will.

Tealrat said...

I wish we could both fix the world! I don't think L.A. is fixable though. Ugh.