Flashbacks on the Shed Floor

The last thing I remember was pulling down Senka’s arts and crafts down from the high shelf because she wanted her coloring books.

Next, I remember laying down on some kind of a wood floor, a man kissing me, making shushing noises, telling me to please be quiet. I felt hands go over my mouth, up my shirt, and down my pants. I heard children in the background and I could hear myself screaming, but it didn’t feel like I was screaming. He smelled like old cologne. I remember a police officer asking me what DID stood for. I asked the officers for a rape kit, but they wouldn’t provide one. I remember them asking me to identify him. I thought I was raped. It’s blurry…. I remember being in her car… it blurred again. I woke up and he was laying next to me staring at the ceiling.

I dissociated for hours.

My ex-girlfriend, roommate and he have been filling in the details and missing pieces. Senka was coloring, then I – or someone – left to use the restroom. I locked myself in the room. He was trying to get me to come out. I climbed out of the bedroom window and bolted down the street, I’m assuming. My ex found me in a shed at the Home Depot by my apartment. I was panicky. The man that was in the shed with me was giving me $60. He claims that I told him I needed money, so he was just giving me money to help me. He said he didn’t touch me or harm me. Even if I was having a flashback, I remember so vividly his hands and lips on me. I wish I knew what was real.

The police were called. They got statements from everyone. In the end, they concluded that he in fact hadn’t harmed me and I was just having a flashback.

I haven’t dissociated that intensely in a long time.

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Cut: an Autobiography- Trigger Warning-

Her name was Ally. She was my best guy-friends’ sister. She was older than I was by two years. Ally carried one of those black messenger bags adorned with pins, buttons, and patches. Her jeans were always ripped and her Slipknot shirts were always one size too big. I never spoke to her much. Her brother, Jose, adored her.

Jose and I met in seventh grade in drama class. I was sitting in the second-to-last row and Jose sat directly behind me. Our first day there, all of the students had to whip up a comedic skit and present it that same hour. Jose and I were paired. I forgot what the skit was about, but I do remember it being hilarious. We were friends ever since.

Being the 13-year-olds that we were, we shared secrets, feelings, dreams, and confessions. By this time, I was already being abused and was having an understandably hard time with life. I told him one day on the swing set that I wished, more than anything, to find a way to make the pain stop. He held my hand and thought very hard for a few minutes. Then, gently, he offered a possible solution.

“Ally cuts herself.”

Surprisingly, I had never heard of such a thing. I had self-mutilated my body before in different fashions, but I never knew that there was a name-not only a name, but an entire subculture. I looked at him inquisitively.

“I don’t know. She says it helps her go numb or some shit. She uses a razor blade.”

And just like that, I had found my solution.

That same night after our long talk on the swing set, I retreated to the safety of my bathroom. My grandma was sound asleep in her room and my grandpa was watching telenovelas. I carefully pulled out a razor blade from the medicine cabinet. Sitting on the toilet seat, I raised the left sleeve of my pajamas. My hands were clammy. I rested my arm on the porcelain, pressed the blade against my skin, and pulled. At first, I had only made cat scratches. But as I went on, the deeper the cuts became. My pajama bottoms became stained from the droplets of blood.

I felt an empyreal high. Jose was right. It had brought me great relief. I washed the blade off, and tucked it in a lock tin box I had, where I later kept an arrangement of blades, gauze, a small pair of scissors, and tape.

Now, I know how awfully clichéd this story is. I get it. Half the school, it seemed, listened to My Chemical Romance and wore black and pink checkered wristbands. The campus was full of them: emo kids flipping their bangs out of their face just enough to be able to see the dark poetry they would be scribbling on their hands. For a period of time, I was one of them. I purchased a God-awful amount of merchandise from Hot Topic. Chokers, black and green striped knee-high socks, black bracelets, safety pin earrings.

Cutting was a thing. It was subculture that quickly bloomed like red plush beneath an Exacto-knife. It gave people a sense of community. Misery loves company, I suppose.

I admit at first that I had felt some pride about being a “cutter.” As the scars developed, I was satisfied with myself. It wasn’t until my cousin draped my body over the bed that I realized I had a problem.

It was just like all the other nights. It was 12am. My grandparents were asleep. My cousin, who worked from home nocturnally, took a break. I had done this several times before. I knew exactly what to do. I escaped my body momentarily and watched us from the ceiling. Watched numbingly as he peeled articles of clothing off of me. Off came my pants. A gasp escaped from his lips and he pulled back. I was jolted back into my body. His face softened and I felt a lump in my throat. I had missed this tenderness.

“Baby, what did you do?”

It had been fine before. The cutting, I mean. I never thought it as dangerous. He ran his fingers over hours-old welts. He was shocked. I had at least 300 cuts on my body… my thighs, arms, hips, stomach, chest, anywhere I could reach. “Why did you do this?” I had no words for him. I knew he knew why. He wasn’t stupid. He’s a rapist, a pedophile, and a destroyer- but not a stupid man. He pulled me into his chest and I could hear him begin to cry.

A seemingly juvenile coping mechanism had turned into a ten year addiction.

Despite the countless nights of enduring my cousin, I had missed and longed for this paternal part of him. Perhaps it was Stockholm Syndrome. I let him cradle me and I felt safe. Little did I know that this act in itself was potentially more dangerous for me then the abuse; I quickly learned that my self-inflicted wounds served as a protective shield. The cuts bought me time. With each gash, he took on the paternal, caring role. Now, I realize that this was HIS game. I would take my clothes off willingly, because I was under the notion that he would check me every night out of concern. I thought that he cared. I often look back on my very visible scars on my thighs and remember that night on my bed, as my cousin held me, weeping.

I’ve read somewhere that the victim of incest and early sexual abuse can become wildly sexually confused and could essentially muddle compassion with arousal, so on so forth. I am ashamed to say this, for multiple reasons. However, I will say it in hopes that A) I’m not alone and B) maybe someone could know THEY’RE not alone. During some of these nights of check-ups, cuddling and “therapy” talks, I became aroused.

The cutting continued. Slowly, my family members began to notice the scars and long sleeves. Multiple interventions were held in my living room in efforts to get me to consider going to a adolescent rehab facility. While each person read words of concern from tiny sheets of paper, my cousin sat next to me, hand on my knee, making sure the family knew that he was my foundation. And no one suspected a thing.

This post was inspired by this Tumblr pic:


It made me think. I had never seen a self-harm picture that resonated with me like this one.

I am still addicted to cutting. The blade, ironically enough, has saved my life on many occasions. I struggle with it nearly every day. It does bother me that cutting has been equated to a fashion trend. It’s not. It’s cunning, dangerous, and destructive.

If you’re reading this and you also struggle with self-harm, I’d like to personally let you know that you are worth more than this addiction, and I love you.

Pentimento; The Ghosts of Me

Today’s word of the day is pentimento.

Noun: Painting. the presence or emergence of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over.

The term pentimento (plural pentimenti) refers to the evidence of changes an artist makes during the development of a composition on canvas.

Pentimento came to English from the Italian pentire meaning “to repent,” which ultimately derives from the Latin paenitēre meaning to regret.

It’s known as pentimento, the beautiful Italian word for repentance. Pentimenti are the alterations in a painting that become apparent through traces of previous workings. In historical painting, we might see the differing positions of a head. A faint third hand, perhaps. Wonderfully, the thoughts of an artist long dead can sometimes unfold in front of us.
-Alison Watt, “So what does artistic creation sound like?” The Guardian, November 8, 2014

“Old paint on a canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures, to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman’s dress, a child makes way for a dog, a large boat is no longer on an open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter “repented,” changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again…The paint has aged and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now.”
― Lillian Hellman, Pentimento

What a beautiful word.

My life is a canvas, constantly changing, moving, shifting, fragmenting, fissuring, integrating, vibrant and raw. Each groove of my past jutting out like a fresh wound- no matter how long has past; a month, a year or ten. Desperate splotches of india ink saturate earlier apprehensions and impetuous attempts at seeking acceptance. Thick regret etched into the vinyl, easily read by the blind, hidden to most. Feel here, when I was twelve, my cavity. Painted over. Blood blue bruises blended into irises and peonies. Look here, this lighthouse built from knives and the birds birthed from the abuse. Naked to you, observer.

Pentimento.

When I Went Rogue

I woke up and the moon raped me. 

I was just dreaming about my girlfriend when I found myself kicking the air violently and swinging my fists. I had been dreaming that I was attending group therapy with my girlfriend and some man was interested in her. He had his arm around her shoulder and his other hand on my wrist to prevent me from throwing a punch. I fought him off.

I have been plagued these past hours with haunting memory of the past night. I had been driven to a breaking point somehow. Rogue came out. She is ruthless and violent. She hurt my girlfriend and she hurt me. I am tending to a bruised face now- my bruised face, from punching myself. 

  
I am terrified. I am terrified of being given up on. I am terrified at the idea that I physically inflicted pain on the woman I love. I am terrified that she has had enough and will leave me, alone with my alters and alone in the crux of my trauma recovery. I am terrified that I am toxic to her; I believe with all my heart and soul that I’m good for her, but this process may hurt her too much. 

I feel guilty for unleashing myself, for splaying out all of hidden trauma and anguish. How could I be so selfish to burden her with such heaviness? Why can’t I piece it together by myself?

A truck came flying at me, so to speak, and WHAM! I had been hit by flashbacks of when I was much younger. 5 years old. My cousin had been taking care of me and my aunts house. It was a Saturday. She was at work and we were home alone. I don’t remember much of the surrounding incident. What I do remember is him asking me to play a game with him… In which the end goal was to give him oral sex.

My body hurts. I am fighting a war within myself everyday specifically with these memories. 

Jagged

I am not alone within myself.

I woke up around 3 am, I was on my back porch, teddy bear in hand, thumb in my mouth, my cheeks were wet. I don’t remember walking there or even waking up.

My vision is lagged. Stop motion. 

  
My movements are not completely my own. I find myself forgetting what I’m doing, what I’m talking about, or what I should be doing. My mind feels fragmented and sad. 

I told my therapist that I feel stupid about how much this house impacts me. I shouldn’t be so upset over it. It seems that even the mention of my cousins name sends me into a shell.

Vulnerability seems to be consuming me. Some sick nostalgia that lingers in the walls is suffocating me.

Protecting My Perpetrator

I had a very difficult therapy session today.

The topic revolved around my cousin, my family, the house I’m staying in. I purged my recent thoughts and struggles regarding him. While I talked about him, I felt absolutely nothing. She asked me how I felt talking about it. I think I was feeling anger, but it would sink back down into my chest. I felt nothing. I was completely detached from it.

I recalled a moment today that stung me when I thought about it. My cousin’s primary “purpose” for spending so much time with me back then was to tutor me and help me pick my grades up. Not surprisingly, my grades plummeted even more so. My grandma had said to me, “How could you do this to him? He sacrifices so much time away from his wife and children for you! This is a slap in the face to him! You’re so ungrateful!”

In that moment with my grandmother, I remember feeling abandoned. I was angry, I felt betrayed, but I took the reprimand and protected my perpetrator.

And now the question that is haunting my heart is, “Why am I still paying for the crimes that he committed?”

Why am I, at 23 years of age, still protecting this person, still carrying HIS guilt, still not forgiving myself? I broke down in tears at work today as I mulled this quandary in my mind. I have to forgive myself. I have to love myself.

My therapist asked me, “When you stay in your old bedroom, what is that you remember?” I don’t know what hurts me more: remember the sexual acts that occurred, or remembering the aftereffect.. of him using the restroom to relieve himself while I crawled into my closet, shaking, and rocking back and forth. I feel so heartbroken for the girl that was attacked and couldn’t tell anyone or at the very least seek solace in another human being.

I couldn’t contain my feelings at work and I let them flow out of me. Dormant emotions of abandonment, betrayal, worthlessness, anger and fear came tumbling from some space within me.

I’m so angry at my family. I’m angry that they didn’t protect me. I’m hurt that they even questioned me. I’m so exhausted from carrying this around.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t better written; I just needed to get my thought process on paper.

The Danger Nextdoor

My anxiety level today: 8
My depression level today: 4
My craving level today: 7
Med compliant? No
Goal for today? To stay sober and safe

I’m a little worried about myself. My lithium runs out tonight. I’ll be alright on my Seroquel for another 3 nights. I booked an appointment for Thursday with a new psych, so hopefully I’ll get a refill then.

I’m pretty sure it’s just anxiety because my auditory hallucinations have been kicking in more than usual. I have to stop and really access my surroundings to make sure that I’m hearing correctly, if that makes sense.

I miss group. I miss having that structure and the freedom to talk candidly about my mental health and whatever was going on in my life at that moment, or talking about cravings to self harm or use drugs. Like last night for example, I was Intervention with my cousin. The new episode revolved around a girl who was using heroin. Maybe I’m just in a vulnerable state of mind, but I started craving it so badly. I almost felt as if my eyes dilated. I wish I could erase part of my memory.

I’m happy moving back into my old stomping grounds. I just wish I could not have the knowledge of nearby dealers around me. I know I have to take my safety into my own hands. I’m an adult. I need to be strong, move forward, and consider the awful consequences if I were to falter and fuck up now- this far into my recovery.

I think moving into the house is also stirring up a lot of past trauma.

I keep suppressing the memories of my cousin, mostly….him having me pinned to the floor in the dining room, taking a knife to chest by the back porch, his hand over my mouth on my old bed, blood and spit spilling onto the kitchen floor… It starts flooding back. It’s just something I have to live with and get through.

I guess I’m using this blog today as a bucket to purge my feelings into: anxious, weak, sick, symptomatic, craving heroin. I also have the constant feeling that my body isn’t connecting to where I am spatially.

As I always say, I’m tough, I’ll get through it.

Dissecting Fear- Trigger Warning- Rape and Abuse

WARNING- Sexually explicit content. Readers’ discretion advised.
Trigger warning: sexual abuse, rape

I’m sitting here, trying to dissect my fears regarding sex, sex with men. This is a personally therapeutic post. You don’t even need to read it. I’m going to disclose information I’ve never disclosed..

For the purpose of channeling my inner fucked up innocence, this song brings out the worst in me: 

I think things really went south when my 38 year old cousin decided to fuck me when I was 12 years old. This went on for 6 months. He would threaten me not to tell anyone. I was held against a wall at knifepoint when I was 13 because I asked him, “What happens if I get pregnant?” When I told my grandfather that I was raped (I didn’t say by who), he responded with, “It’s the woman’s fault.”

When I was 14, I was kidnapped from my middle school in broad daylight. I was taken into a van, given a pill, and was forced to give oral sex. There were two men, I’d guess 18-22 in the van wearing bandanas. After blacking out half way through, I came to my senses, stumbling in the back alley of a dangerous neighborhood. Fortunately and unfortunately, I don’t remember much from the incident, and they got away with it. I never saw the van again.

When I was 18, I was gang raped by 4 men during a frat party in college. I woke up in a strange bed next to some 35 year old man named Manny. He proceeded to give me a high-five and told me that I had the best ass he’s ever had.

The years in between are filled by several cat-calls, gropes and grabs, and name calling.

Through all this abuse, I’ve taken on sex as something I could use against men. It sounds odd, I’m obsessively flirtatious with men. I think it’s my subconscious’ way of taking power of the situation. Although, it’s the wrong way to do it.

In my early adulthood, I learned to sell my body for heroin, alcohol, coke, and anything else I needed at the time. I’ve been so numb to it all these years, I hadn’t thought about the real pain I’ve been carrying around from the first moment of abuse.

Sorry for the upsetting post. Any kind of support would be welcomed, however. This therapy shit is hard. I’m definitely in a vulnerable state of mind.

Thanks for reading