marking a month

It’s April and I have so many unread and unresponded-to emails sitting in my inbox from all of you and I’m so sorry. I’m going to get to it. I can’t believe I haven’t posted since January. Shit happens?

Last year in April I didn’t post at all. A year before that in April, I posted this as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month which falls in April. And then a week or so later I posted this. And that part I has been all by its lonesome since then, these two years since. I don’t know if I’ll ever write the II, III and IV I’d intended on writing then, I don’t know if it’s important anymore. Two years later it almost feels fitting to leave it hanging like that because it never will wrap up in my life, it never will be completed, finished. There will always be more to the story and the violence will go on, against me and others.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it is also the month in which I was raped. This year, in April, it was ten years ago.

I feel exhausted by that. It’s been ten years and it still feels like it was a moment ago. Is it always going to be so close? It’s been ten years and it also feels like it’s been a hundred long, hard years. Will it continue to drag on and on and on like that? Will the next ten years feel this long too? Its nearness feels claustrophobic and its distance is draining.

Last year, my friend’s husband died all of a sudden and a few months later she asked me, “will it get easier?” and I didn’t know what to say. Does sudden and horrible trauma get easier? In ways, of course. Yes. Life becomes livable because it has to. There isn’t really an alternative. I go on and do things, I get excited about things, I feel pain and joy eventually and I love people and they love me and I laugh and sometimes cry and I struggle in normal ways and in extremely difficult ways.  And in ways, no. You can never get back what you had before and you have to live with that, as long as you live.

Ten years on and I’m now struggling with that perhaps more than in the past. I’m far enough away that I’m squarely on my feet, but not so far that I don’t remember what it was like before and I want her back. I want the her-bef0re back, I need her. I want to remember what it feels like to feel unthinkingly safe and to take up all the space I can and to breathe SO deep and laugh SO hard and to feel like my body is my own and to be in it. I have always thought that the her-then needs the me-now, and that has given me some comfort, to imagine the me-now and everyone who loves her surrounding the her-then and giving her strength, and imagining the her-then feeling it, re-imagining the isolation. That has given me some comfort. But now I feel like it’s the me-now that needs the her-before because the me-now — I am tired and I want to remember. Just that.

Some years on that day I’ve tried to forget, some years I’ve intentionally remembered, some years I’ve tried nothing at all and let what came up come up. Some years it’s been a normal day and some years I’ve cleared my calendar and done something special alone. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do this year.

I’ll be back soon, I think. With more to say about other things than this.

2 thoughts on “marking a month

  1. Twenty five years later and I’m reading your post, nodding along in agreement. After two very intense years of therapy, working on trust and safety issues, I thought I had finally conquered the mountain. But then a person I thought was a trusted friend broke that trust. And I slid right back down again. Trust and safety are very fragile things.

    I don’t think we ever get to totally have the her-then person back. But we do get to create the person we want to be now. And the you-now can be amazing because you know how strong you can be and because you don’t forget.

    Anniversaries are always tough. I think they always will be, no matter how much time passes. But they also give us a chance to remember the her-then, grieve a little, hold her in our hearts, and gain some strength from her.

    Holding you in my heart . . .

  2. For whatever reason my original comment did not appear. I just wanted to say that I’ve been hoping you’d pop in ever since I saw your comment over at Sin’s. I’ve missed your beautiful way of writing, even when it’s posts as difficult as this. Thank you for being here and thank you for sharing your story. I am convinced that the you who you are now is helping so many people.

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