Category Archives: Inevitable Heart Break
The best part about receiving the support you need as a sexual assault or trauma survivor is having the strength and comfort to let yourself be vulnerable, and know you are still loved and heard.
The hardest parts are finding that support, and then once it is found, letting yourself finally, after years of holding in your deepest insecurities, fears, and secrets, you can let it out without being a burden.
There is always sexual assault headlines on the news. The sensationalism and truthiness of the cases vary, but often how the press treats the victim and the accused doesn’t. The survivor is always shadowy and dark, covered in shameful and pitiful mystery. The accused is fighting off paparazzi, hecklers, and gaining support from strange outliers.
The victim is always the same. Positioned in each case by law and by ethics to remain mostly silent, and then scolded when they speak out too much. It’s hard to find anything that is acceptable to say when an individual is put in either position.
Because of recent events concerning George Pell, I’d like to address something a survivor said. Here are his words:
“Like many survivors, I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression, and struggle. Like many survivors, it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life. At some point, we realize that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust.” (The Guardian)
For years, and especially these past 7 months, I have struggled with emotional intimacy. Either I let out too much all at once and it was a frightening, harrowing, and genuinely unhealthy burst for everyone involved, or I felt terrified to let anyone see inside certain parts of my heart no matter how intimate, trusting, or historical our relationship was.
But now, I think I’ve found what the hardest thing to find is, the space to be vulnerable and the strength to be vulnerable. It isn’t perfect, but its better than I could’ve asked for.
Oddly enough, sometimes I sympathize with the accused. I’m still coming to terms what this means to me as a survivor. Maybe some leftover Stockholm syndrome or this odd swing between apathy and empathy I perform as a coping mechanism. ( a really useless one). But, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have sympathy for monsters.
It feels like we won’t get back together. I’m trying not to think about it. But the more I find myself incapable of thinking about the future without my picture frame around your face I can’t think about a future at all. Like my etch-a-sketch was shaken up and now it’s all blurry and blank where there once was a happy picture. Not a perfect one, I mean, how great do you think I am at etch-a-sketch? Awful, and geometry was the only math I got a B in my entire 16 years of schooling. Without that frame, I don’t see a thing. I’m trying to picture life by replacing that frame with other things.
Career: My frame looks harsher, but not in a bad way, just fulfilled by success instead of love.
Another person: Not the same, not a replacement, not right. But I also don’t know at all, since that frame is still all blurry.
Polycule: looks complex, unpredictable, and I can see the fear that you shared with me regarding that future. How ethereal and intangible it is. I guess monogamy somehow communicates a more substantial and sempiternal experience.
But again, I try not to think of this in a black and white frame, the world isn’t really binary like that. We live dialectically with lots of opposites coexisting in gray and through that process of analysis, we can find a middle ground.
A middle ground we are on the verge of giving up on. Turning our backs on this process feels like defeat to me. Like we’ve given up trying to love. At the end of the day you’ve presented your arguments:
- We are truly opposites and the compromise of being with me hurts you too much. The cost seems too high.
- The thought arises to both of us that if I, instead, take this burden, I will hurt you regardless.
- The future is unclear to both of us, and it always will be, but our distinctions of settling down and commitment are different. Our definitions are different and how my ideas are framed is in total opposition to yours. Maybe the dialectical approach isn’t good enough for you and traditional logic is all that works.
I picture us, in a house, the three of us, you and I and our capricious friend, happy. He says so, too. And its all up to you what happens, since 2/3 ain’t bad, but I think you’re the glue that’s holding it together after all. But regardless of that arrangement, we have work to do.
I agree with you on a lot of things I didn’t expect to. Your criticisms. Your fears. Even your differing values are looking morally superior. Our cultural, class, economic, and value systems may differ, but I know that our love is real. If that’s real, why can’t we work it out? Plenty of people marry into very different families, with race, religion, and culture being an afterthought, why not us?
At night I sleep with Icebat on my chest. A familiar headrest. Then, I have the blanket you gave me draped over my torso. The cool satin delicately weighing on me feels good in the heat and humidity. I couldn’t sleep with it on before, it wasn’t the season. Just like this summer wasn’t the season for us to be together. To sleep alongside you like the satin and the fur does when they slide against each other’s backs, sewed together on each edge.
Maybe this season wasn’t quite right. Too cold for the cool satin. To hot for the thick fur. Maybe it was the season for the two to be apart while being together, sewed on each edge but still back to back. Even though they face away, out to other things, looking in opposite directions, tearing apart, but without breaking bonds.
We created something two and a half years ago. We formed it when I had a panic attack each time we grew closer. We built it when I held you sobbing, silent, in my arms. We built it each time I snuck back into your bed after a night out. We built it with moss and chocolate. With cigarets under the canopy of green. By receiving noise complains and paying fines, writing essays about being addicts, having meetings to convince us to be sober. From collecting stupid things; pick-pocketing and shoplifting.
We built something I can’t tear down. It’s my frame I see the world through.
From all the talks we had through the night, in the lazy afternoons out on the old golf course, a language arose. Like any human group, a new dialect is created. Ours was quiet, telepathic. But we use words to talk around the words that are too hard to say. Phrases and stares to avoid the unspeakable. This style reflects something poetic about you that I love and hate to have out of my grasp. It’s a haunting torturous silence, unforgettably burdensome. At the same time, we both revel in it. Waiting for it to be broken with noise or movement.
Sometimes it never comes. Right now, there is static. A harsh white noise and I can’t turn it off and it’s not adequate enough to drown out the rage and sadness we both have swelling from us. Not loud enough to ease the silence between us.
I didn’t let it happen until now. I wasn’t letting myself feel it. But with each mascara stained tear, I can feel my heart breaking. It’s the most pathetic I’ve felt for a long while.
I refused to cry myself to sleep. Refused to cry at all. Holding my breath tightly, and then gasping for air in the bathroom at work.
I’m ok. Sincerely.
I don’t get choked up every time I think about you. I don’t randomly start crying when I am alone driving to and from work. Or at work.
I actually haven’t let myself cry for a few days. Maybe since Tuesday last week. Whether this is an accomplishment or simply me being numb I’m not sure. I can’t tell if I’m burrowing further into myself or if I’m actually moving on. I wonder how you feel all the time.
I talk to our capricious friend a lot and he says he talks to you. I hope you tell him how you feel. I really really do. If nothing else, I hope you and him can still be close.
I’ve tried a lot of new things. By new I mean I’ve pushed my boundaries a lot. But I’ve been just fine on my own. Maybe I never doubted my independence, but I doubted my happiness without your stability.
At the same time let’s be honest with ourselves, or at the very least to each other, we were always so unstable.
You have insane emotional swings that drive me crazy and I do the same to you. A lot of mine I know comes from PTSD, and I’ve been working really hard on my triggers and emotional processing because I know my reactions are tumultuous and volatile. I also know that you can’t handle them emotionally because you haven’t done any processing of your own. It’s unfair of me to ask so much of you emotionally when I know you just can’t provide. that’s not your fault.
I can’t even be mad at you about this. Not even a little. There are actually a lot of people that are mad at me. Odd right? Apparently, I’m the one who needs to alter my lifestyle to be worthy of your love. I think this is a strange sentiment since it ignores all the other issues between us unrelated to our difference in definitions. Love is a big strange word and we feel it and express it so differently its no wonder things got so complicated.
Things aren’t easy to talk about all the time but I’ve found some healthy ears and ways of processing that aren’t substance abuse. Although I can’t promise the health of my organs is the same as they were in June.
I saw a post from March about how I was going to quit smoking. I laughed.
I got home around midnight last night and woke up at 5, and haven’t been able to get back to sleep but I’m not even upset about it. These precious morning hours have been a gift to me for days now. Late nights seem dimmer. Maybe I miss waking up to you and I’m just hoping you’ll magically appear. I’m pretty silly like that, but my auditory and sensory hallucinations have been pretty prevalent lately and I think it’s an addiction.
It hurts at the same time as it reassures me about my feelings.
I’m waiting to remember how you feel again.
I’m working on processing.
When I think about you a lot it muddies the clarity I’m trying to find. But simultaneously, the clarity I have in the sadness I’m experiencing is addictive.
Each time I’m alone I can’t battle away thoughts or desires. Memories of simplicity haunt me. Sitting on my bed in Pflueger or at Safehouse, lightly caressing your shoulder or back mindlessly while reading or translating Greek. I never really understood how precious those moments were. I can recall the sensations as if they were hallucinations.
Maybe I am hallucinating.
You texted me the other day telling me about how you dream about us doing normal daily things. I do too. That’s probably the hardest part.
It’s not hard to distract myself by socializing. It’s not hard to go places with people I like and have fun. It’s hard waking up without your warm body in bed. It’s hard brushing my teeth alone. It’s hard getting my outfit together without popping out of my closet and asking for your advice.
It’s hard making meals for myself wondering what you’d teach me in the kitchen. Thinking about how you’d scold my terrible knife skills and congratulate me when I somehow didn’t burn or overcook something.
It’s hard drinking with others. I think about your red hot skin.
When things get really hard though and I can barely function, I daydream about running away. I pretend it’ll work out. I think about how much time I waste being away from you. How much I actually don’t give a shit about the situation I’m in and the people I know in my job and how it is all very forgettable. I am forgettable to them too, probably.
Then I guilt myself into staying here because I don’t want to burden you. I don’t want you to feel like I’m chasing you around the globe and you don’t actually want me.
Even though you say you do, you always follow up with “in a few years” and to me, that sounds more like “I can’t do this.”
I like to think I know you well enough to see through your kind lies. Comforting but too seductive for me to resist sometimes.
I think about this often.
(Aside: This is a piece I wrote for the Matrix magazine that I am the junior editor of.)
When the cheating starts, the fighting, the lying, the crushing anxiety. When the fear sets in, and the threats start coming in waves and you want to crawl inside yourself and never leave. When you hide yourself, not your face or your body but you, the colorful, nurtured, lively you. The one who dances in fields in their dreams and has flowers in their hair.
No that person is hidden underneath the shame. Underneath the lies.
The biggest lie is that there is only one way to love.
I was told that loving was limited. The prince and princess and their one love.
Heterosexuality. Monogamy. A singular unity between two people.
This is a lie.
I was scared to question my feelings. I was scared to share with my friends my doubts. They’d say: “No, there is no way you could be a lesbian.”
And I say lesbian because, yet again I thought, it can’t be possible for me to like more than one. I must be greedy. Lustful. Out of control. I must be ravenous for some kind of contact.
But I’m not. I just have a capacity to love more than one gender and more than one person. And that was a well too deep for me to look down into, and when I did look I thought it was just an illusion and it was actually shallow. Shallow as if being more capable to love more than one gender and more than one person was crippling to my heart.
Then, knowing that monogamy and heterosexuality was an incapability of mine, I was unable to love at all.
Saw this quote on the Human’s of New York facebook page and couldn’t help but want to share it.
Death is one of the most under spoken of natural event in everyone’s existence. It’s very difficult to confront.
“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”
The personality type of the “Jealous One” is a known thing to everyone on the planet. Why do these people even exist? Do you consider yourself the jealous one? I’ve never considered myself the jealous one until a few weeks ago.
This is because I liked someone who was a “Jealous One” and he seemed to be rather possessive. Which isn’t new to me, but what was new is I actually enjoyed it. It made me feel wanted until I realized it was all just words.
He never really was possessive or jealous or protective, he just wanted to pretend to be someone he wasn’t.
The Characteristics of a Lying Asshole:
1. Blanket Excuses. This is so he doesn’t he get his story confused and he uses the same excuses multiple times in one day. But the next day or the day before could be totally different excuses for the same problem.
2. When friend’s of friend’s give you looks. The sideways, “Hey, did you know what was just happening?” look. Because he was hitting on another girl and you weren’t present, but he won’t say a word.
3. Won’t look you in the eye – but says you have to look into his. If it isn’t obvious already, he’s been lying and still wants to make sure you feel the same way while he flip-flops.
4. Talking the talk, not walking the walk. When he says he is going to do all these romantic things with you, but never does. It’s not because you guys couldn’t find the time, it is because it will never happen.
5. When he wants you to come to him but he won’t come to you. This is because he doesn’t want to say where he’s been so he just asks where you are but wont say where he was.
6. When you learn. You stopped talking to him and you’re mutual friends tell you what really went down.
7. Walking in on the wrong show. He’s folding another girl in plain sight. Try not to barf right there.
8. “Jealous one”. Now you feel like you’re the jealous one. Don’t sweat it, you’re just a normal human being with feelings. They deserve each other.
At the end of the day, I’m not actually jealous, just really sad.