#MeToo

The day I was raped was the first time I wore a jean skirt. OMG, I was so excited. Was that the case with you, too?

It was up against my green Firebird, just after eight o’clock. It was beginning to get dark. He pushed me against the car, whispered in my ear, and looked behind him to make sure he had an audience. I swear I saw my head go through the window. Was that the case with you, too?

And when he was done, I’m not sure how I got home. But I remember his smile. I said “I’m okay” for two days. I tried to scrub him off my skin in scolding hot showers. Was that the case with you, too?

For nine years, I couldn’t even say the word “rape.” He took away every success I would ever achieve. He destroyed me. He still owns my legs! Is. that. the. case. with. you. too?!

I am ashamed. I am enraged, watching the world minimize my rape as if it is just a number; as if I am just another name on a page. As if every rape is exactly the same.

Do you think the numbers aren’t out there? Do you think men and women don’t know rape is almost like a handshake these days? Here we are posting #MeToo because it’s the next viral tag stamped on our pain. And the alleged victims who indirectly inspired this tag, can you tell me their names? Don’t you dare Google! Are you listening?

Can you say “Me, too?” Am I making you angry? What does my rapist look like? Did you forget?! Did you forget how it felt when you told your best friend, mother, or sister? Maybe you wrote a poem or a blog and shared it online, did you forget?

Did you forget how it felt when all you were trying to do is find your way back to yourself and when you needed support, when you needed to be heard, the world shouted, “Me, too!” And shared every detail of their rapes with you as if somehow that pain would keep your head above water? Did you forget?

Because I still have nights I can’t close my eyes and I would risk my own life to avoid seeing his face in my dreams. I have days I can’t take the weight of every way I’ve been violated. I violate myself just to cover the scars! And you don’t get to say, “Me, too.” You don’t get to make me feel reduced…

Unless you can name where they are.

When topics like this start trending on social media, it can be overwhelming for survivors. I was overwhelmed. Triggered even. This is the creative vent of a survivor in the heat of it all, written to cope. It is not an effort to discredit to #MeToo Movement, which is powerful and necessary. We all heal differently.

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault and you are struggling, please reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE). Your rape did not happen to the rest of the world. It happened to you. 

We Were Oil In Water

We stood against the waves, you and me
Faced hurricanes down on our knees like we were thirsting for water
Balled fists and bruised knees, we wouldn’t sink
We were oil in water

We held revenge in our hands, you and me
Bedridden with trauma, praying to doctors for compassionate release
Damn this terminal grief
Balled fists and bruised knees, we wouldn’t sink
We were oil in water

Now I see the light is gone, sister
Gone in you and me
Lost in darkness and fire, and the demons are screaming.
I don’t know
Damn this terminal need for the love we can’t breathe
I hear sin calling to me
Balled fists and bruised knees, we wouldn’t sink
We were oil in water

I don’t know if you’ve seen the same hope as me, but I’m hungry and my arms are tired
Hungry for life I crave for you, I crave for me
And they pray
They pray to a god they can’t see, and we scream for miracles we can’t feel

But we don’t reach, you and me
Lifejackets and boats, dead lighthouses with no ropes
Balled fists and bruised knees, we won’t sink
We are oil in water

To Those Whom I Met In An Online Support Group For PTSD

It’s different now. You know? Four years ago, you were my only support— online, in person, and in life. I only had you and a brand new baby to hold.

I shared a lot with the group, with you, but the biggest battle is still one I carry alone. Though, you taught me to bare it all and learn to pull a few close. I did that. You taught me a lot of other things too, although many of you I’ve shoved away. And you let go.

I bet you don’t know, everything I do, the woman I am today, is because of you. I stumbled into the room half dead, half alive, broken. And every time I opened my mouth, you cared and you actually spoke back. Everything I said, you told me it helped you. I’d never had confidence in myself like that… or people who wanted to love me. I didn’t even know the sound of my voice before I met you.

We bled together and laughed together. I swear, we introduced the world to cupcakes and vodka. You still make me smile. You still make me cry too. Because I know, in the end, I hurt a few of you after the loss of my sister.

It’s not easy for me to admit I did some of the damage. It’s not easy for me to write this open letter to you. But, when hearts get broken, we have a way of slamming doors. And, when we remember love, we have a way of kicking them open too.

Maybe, back then, I was just a stranger who walked into your life and you did your best to love me. I wish I would’ve told you then I was so broken I didn’t know how to receive it. I wish I could have told you then how I will love you with everything that I am… and hurt you because I can’t always control it.

All the words I needed to say got lost because I knew you loved me and you were hurting too, but you shoved me away. You ignored my pain. And every single time, it broke me. I can’t tell you how hard it was to watch your news feed; your sadness and pain. But, mostly, your love.

Many of you had families; sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandchildren. Gosh, I envied them. And I listened when you called me family too. Maybe I seemed just as lonely as you, but the truth is, you had love you couldn’t feel in the middle of your darkness. It was too much for me because on my side of the fence the yard and the houses are empty.

I wish I could’ve told you back then. I think a part of me really tried. But I was shattered, the words came out sharp and anger became me. I wish I had logged off. Part of me wishes I had stopped reaching out. Because my circle was small and when it came to pain, I carried it all; your bad days, my bad days, your loss, my grief, all of the weight from everything we’ve ever escaped… and the only place to dispose of it was in the same place we gained or left it.

I’m sorry I hurt you while I was hurting. You deserved better from me. But I just wanted to say, in case you ever look back my way…

Thank you for teaching me how to walk.