My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.
– Forrest Gump
I accidentally found out that one of my exes is married.
I wrote about him a few times on here, but every once in a while, I happen to stumble upon either mentally and emotionally. But this time? It was through Facebook.
I needed to re-add someone to the “Leonard H. McCoy” fan page I admin and, after realizing I blocked her from my personal account, I went to the searched for, found and scrolled down to the “Privacy Settings” before clicking on the link. Sure enough, I found and unblocked the person I was looking for. However, my eyes also fell upon “Indiana’s” and name and that of his…now wife?
For some reason, I thought to myself “No…really?” Out of curiosity, I unblocked him and went to his profile. It had been a couple of years since I even laid eyes on anything pertaining to him.
But as I looked at those pictures–TRULY examined them–I saw that he was happy, his eyes illuminating with contentment, holding the hand of the woman he is most likely going to spend the rest of his life with.
I noticed that I wasn’t bitter or felt a smoldering heat rise within my body. What I felt was heart ache and a sadness that was soul deep. And it had nothing to do with him.
Let me explain. I was not in love with him and time helped realized that we were not meant to be–we were totally two different people. But I have to admit that I used him as a human shield to protect me from myself–from my feelings of inadequacy and self-proclaimed worthlessness. I assured myself with a shadow of confidence that, because he slept with me more than once and told me he loved me, that I didn’t need to fix myself or face my Dark Passenger. Since Indiana was here, I didn’t need or want anything else to protect me.
So when he left, it was one of the most anxiety-ridden periods in my life and one of the most devastating. He not only left (though I knew he was going to. He hated New York State), but he left me…with me. And the Dark Passenger, who wants me spiritually and physically dead.
Hence, when I found out about his new relationship, I made sure that we were engaged in many a fallout. I was angry at his then new girlfriend for “taking my shield.” That was what pissed me off the most, not the fact that he moved on and he wasn’t there to protect me anymore. No one was there. At 29, I was left with me, my Dark Passenger and my own fears of constantly fighting my emotional demons.
Fast forward to four years. I am at my internship looking at this happy married couple on the computer screen during my break, quickly wiping away tears, wondering why this keeps happening: either getting involved with someone, only to have the relationship end and months later see them be happy with someone else or me wanting to get involved with them, but they end being with someone else. I found myself wondering whether or not I was even relationship or marriage material, so flawed and broken that potential partners sense my character defects and therefore wanted no part of me.
At the same time, the responsibility ultimately falls on my shoulders. When I was with Indiana, I was also very active in my sex addiction. Though we cared about each other at the time, I attempted to hold our relationship together with sex. This seemed to be the case for all my relationships because I simply didn’t know any better. Now I do and, at 32 years of age, I now acknowledge and feel in my heart that it’s my responsibility and a gift to myself to finally move on, doing the work needed to be at peace with myself. Which means I accept who I am–good, bad, indifferent–and know in my heart that there’s more to me than heartache. It means that I view myself as flawed but not broken and that my past is something I can’t do anything about but to learn from. It means that, in order to be with myself or anyone else, I have to live life–embrace it with a heart devoid of hopelessness, self-proclaimed unworthiness and self-doubt. I am not branded, insane or sick. I never was. A few friends told me that people stay in our lives for a reason, a season and a lifetime and Indiana was a seasonal person. In fact, all my relationships were with seasonals and, until I make the necessary changes in my life, I will never meet a lifetime partner. I accept this fact now and the seasonals only taught me that I deserve better than what they were capable of giving me.
There is nothing wrong with me.
I’m glad I saw those pictures. It gives me the opportunity to realize that I too can move on now. I don’t have to hold onto him or deem myself broken. If he can start over with a completely clean slate, I don’t see why I cannot. But I also understand that it’s ok to grieve. I talked about my relationship with Indiana, I never fully grieved. I would cry, harass and berate, but I never grieved. Now I feel I can do that without self-judgement, but not let it cripple me, either. Lastly, I have the support of close friends, family, Spirit and my spirit guides. They were always there, but they were all waiting for me wake up and embrace my True Personal and Spiritual Power.
In other words, it’s ok to love and be loved. To begin embracing all that I am. To live long
Ladies and gentlecats,
I am glad the semester is over.
Of all the semesters I experienced thus far, this Fall semester was the most difficult. It is not because of the workload (in fact, the material was not mind-shattering hard). However, it was the content of the material in each class and what that that content was doing to me.
Let me explain.
All three of my classes focused on trauma and trauma-informed care, which stems from the mindset that everyone suffers from some form of trauma. This also means that we focused on the extreme forms of trauma such as various forms of abuse and maltreatment. Even in my human rights course, the material focused more on trauma and what it does to a person’s psyche.
Now folks, you know my history, but I have to admit that I have only recently sought treatment to combat and overcome my past. So with stories of sexual abuse (or any type of abuse) slapping me in the face, I found myself not even enjoying the learning process. If anything, I just tried to do everything to hide my discomfort–all to no avail.
Over the course of the semester, I found myself becoming more hypersensitive to my surroundings by watching almost everyone who walked into a room. If there were too many people, I left because I am no longer able to observe everyone. I would become overwhelmed, start crying but then would wipe my tears and tell myself to “pull it together.” If I didn’t become easily agitated about something that happened at school or otherwise, I would shut down and not say anything at all. Because of the research course debacle over the summer, I no longer trust the administration at the college to have my best interest in mind. That distrust only increased when one of my professors allowed a student to come into her office while she and I were having a private conversation.
Even my personal life began to fall apart. I don’t have any income at the moment, so I am not able to pay bills and rent (though I will be working in January). So I feel very overwhelmed with that and I noticed that my sex addiction is kicking up and have sometimes acted out on my impulses. I felt like a complete failure at life, thinking that I never can be much of anything, let alone an effective social worker. I, once again, compared myself to the “rock stars” of the social work program and found myself lacking.
I even didn’t want to be around people or tell anyone what was going on inside of me. I told myself that no one wanted to hear my sob story and I had to suck it up and function. No time for tears. It’s time to do that paper…about sexually abused African American children.
It’s no wonder I wrote that paper at the last minute.
The straw broke it when my friend committed suicide, only to find out about it a month after it happened. I’m talking about my friend’s death in therapy, with tears coming down from my eyes and wiping them away quickly. That was when she brought up the fact that I’m not allowing myself to grieve. And she’s right. Because I’m in survival mode and it’s catching up with me. Even before the semester ended, I locked myself into my room and did not come out unless I had to use the bathroom or eat. If I did leave, it was to hide my discomfort around the fact that I isolated to that extent.
And so is my emotional and mental state. When I was talking to my friend Colleen on the phone one day about what was going on with me, she said something I couldn’t deny anymore:
“You may have PTSD.”
I have often suspected that something was going on with me, but did not know what it was. I studied PTSD and Complex PTSD in my psychopathology course, but thought nothing of it. But as time has gone by, I wonder if I have Complex PTSD. For those who do not know the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD is that the former is triggered by one traumatic event whereas Complex PTSD is triggered by prolonged exposure to trauma in general. The symptoms include (but not limited to) identity disturbances, avoidance, blaming and fear of abandonment. There is also emotional irregulation and the tendency to isolate from others. I am not the one to diagnose myself, but this information and my behaviors throughout the years prompted me to schedule a PTSD screening. I set up an appointment with my therapist, who told me I was getting a screening soon.
I am telling you all of this, Reader, because if you suspect that you have PTSD, Complex PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder or any other type of anxiety disorder, speak up. Talk to a healthcare professional and have him or her to refer you to a specialist in your area. Don’t hide what is going on out of fear of being labeled “weak.” Hiding pain and emotional/mental distress not a sign of strength, but a meltdown waiting to happen. I’m telling now, I was this a couple of weeks ago:
But I now know I don’t have to live in isolation any longer. I’m beginning to realize I have friends and I can lean on them when I am about to have an episode. I have Spirit with me always and I feel that best part of this semester is seeing that I can reach out and get help. I don’t have to keep it together anymore and it’s not my job to do so. I don’t have to live in survival mode and you don’t have to live that way either.
Think Exist (2012). “Harry Kim Quotes.” Retrieved from http://thinkexist.com/quotation/when-you-are-as-a-human-being-in-a-survival-mode/648487.html
“However we dress,
Wherever we go,
Yes means yes,
No means no!!”
–Take Back The Night chant
When I was a Senior at the College at Brockport, I participated in and volunteered for an event called Take Back The Night. For those who aren’t familiar with Take Back The Night, this historical event took place in Philadelphia in 1975 after a woman was fatally stabbed while walking home from class. Decades later, Take Back The Night has called for the safety of all women–especially those who were sexually assaulted.
I bring this up because not only is it a cause I care deeply about, but because sexual abuse of any sort leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So when I read stories about the Republican party attempting to redefine rape as a “method of conception”, the rage that boils within me eats me alive and I fear that I’ll just blackout and end someone’s life. Take Paul Ryan for instance. He recently conducted an interview about Representative William Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican Congressman who states that when a woman is raped, her body “shuts down” thus making itself unable to become pregnant. Oh, here he is:
I know. I also said “What the motherfuck??” when I heard about this. But then he initially receives support from Paul Ryan, the human wad of wet tissue paper running as Vice President alongside Mitt Romney. In case you don’t know who the hell he is, here’s a picture:
Please don’t misunderstand me. I could care less about the two-party system and the drama that comes with it. Furthermore, I am NOT the type of Radical Leftist who hate every Conservative that crosses the frequency of my radio when I listen to NPR (though I’m very much a Radical Leftist). But what infuriates me is that what Ryan and Akin are saying and doing is nothing new or shocking. Rape is one of the most heinous crimes ever committed against any person–no matter the age or gender. In regions such as the Congo and Afghanistan, rape is used as a weapon of war or ethnic cleansing method against women and young children. In the Middle East, young boys are raped by men old enough to be their fathers, but it’s not not called rape but bacha bazi–meaning “pretty boy” in the native language.
Yet rape–and the concept of it–is not even taken seriously. In every part of the world, the victim is always at fault, no matter the circumstances. In fact, it is more difficult for a sexual assault victim to receive support from law enforcement, the judicial system, society and, in some cases, their own families than one who has been through any other sort of trauma. And the governments make it no better when the majority of the Representatives and their supporters rally against laws that would bring justice down on perpetrators. For instance, the Child Victims Act has been rejected by the New York State government since 2005. If passed, this law will allow adult survivors of sexual abuse to press charges against their perpetrator five years after the state’s statute of limitations. This is an important law because it would give survivors the opportunity to seek justice as well as give them a voice. However, organizations connected to the Jewish and Catholic community successfully rally against this law, stating that those now coming forward should not be allowed to press charges years after the crime.
I have other examples, but you get the point, Readers. I just want to point out something and then I’ll let you go. This Republican war to redefine rape is not just about the violation of someone’s body. Rape is about breaking the spirit of the person it’s happening to. It’s about controlling that person’s entire way of living and how they view themselves as a human being. In terms of rape being deemed “another method of conception,” that’s basically saying that the child should come into the world at any cost–even if it means that the mother may not want the burden of explaining to that child how he or she came to be. Or worse, placing that child in the position of being abused because he or she is the constant reminder of what happened. It’s not fair to either mother or child.
I am writing all of this because this bullshit has to end. This redefining trauma for the sake of not wanting to deal with it has to end because it won’t help matters. If anything, it perpetuates the cycle of violence and the only way to break that cycle is to educate ourselves and others.
And to fight. Always fight.