In therapy, I’ve been trying to work on allowing myself to feel anger without any form of dissociating. It has been difficult. Mostly, I feel a little angry. I shake a tiny bit. And then I shit down and spend the rest of the session playing with the horses or talking to my therapist about her horse shows and finding ways to connect to her that aren’t just about me. I don’t think any of this is bad, I’m perfectly ok (ok I’m not, but I’m trying to let it be ok) with moving at the speed treat I am moving at.
At the same time that I’m trying to be ok with a snail’s pace, I also have had trouble sleeping, I am super anxious most of the time, and feel generally icky. I’ve felt relief when plans with family or friends haven’t worked out, so I could just be alone with my horses and my yard. (Except for the week and a half we spent with the guys fishing. I would like to write about that, because it was a fully positive experience.)
Last night, I slept a total of an hour, but not all at the same time. 20 mins here, ten mins here, and then fifteen minutes later, my alarm went off. My neck and shoulders are killing me - probably from holding stress in them - so I decided to go to the gym to stretch. There is one machine hat does the exercises I find the most helpful.
Standing next to that machine are three men, talking about the me too movement. They are loud and be sure of themselves and strongly believe the me too movement has gone too far, and they’re glad that accusations didn’t stop Kavanaugh from being made the new Supreme Court dude. (At this point, it wasn’t a done deal, but they talked as if it was.)
My body started shaking. I got on Facebook to try to distract myself while I stretched. It didn’t help. They got louder. I felt like I couldn’t move. I was frozen and shaking and almost crying, but not because I was too frozen to cry.
Then something really strange happened, I heard myself saying, “Hey, since you guys aren’t using any of the machines can you just move this conversation somewhere else?” One of the guys challenged me a little, and I said something about rape and ptsd and asked them to please just love the conversation.
One guy called me an “emotional libtard” and mumbled something else, but all three left as they laughed together and even did a fist bump over something.
I finished my stretching. I walked out to my car. And I broke into pieces.
I felt quite literally afraid for my life. I locked my doors for fear of the three men. I sobbed uncontrollably for 45 minutes before I texted a friend. Then I sobbed for another hour before I could move. Then I drove home yelling and swearing and crying. Then I sat in my car for another forty minutes. Then I’ve been on my floor for another hour. (So much for not dissociating! My arms are numb and I can’t feel my face and I’m struggling to breath.)
I wonder if they will remember me. Most of me doubts it. Do you think they know how much fear I am feeling? Do you think they know how deeply troubled I was (and still am several hours later) by my interactions with them? They probably think I’m stupid and if they know of the pain I’m feeling, they don’t blame themselves. Do I want them to feel some responsibility? Not really. I know my pain isn’t about them. It’s about all of the times I wasn’t safe. It’s about all of the times where my voice didn’t matter, and so I didn’t use it. It’s about all of the times it was safer (and smarter) to keep quiet. It’s about all of the times I was frozen instead of sticking up for myself.
And now I can’t help but question myself: should I have asked them to move? I wasn’t asking them to stop, just to move. I didn’t care if they changed their mind, I just wanted to stretch without listening to it. Should I have left and come back when the dicks were gone?
I can’t really answer any of my own questions. Maybe later.
Right now, I will sit here and shake and feel like I should apologize while repeating over and over, “I’m not sorry! Fuck off!!” and also, “please don’t hurt me.”