Adventure in Breaking/Mending

Eight weeks ago something happened. Six weeks ago something worse happened. One week ago more brush was shoved on the fire.

It’s not a new topic for me, especially in the last couple of years, but try as I might, try as others might, I won’t stop talking about it.

Eight weeks ago, between eating lunch and picking up a comic to take to his next city, I stopped at the home of a person I know. Someone I had spoken with regularly. Someone I considered a friend. In the course of less than half an hour, everything changed.

I was able to take myself out of the situation before it became desperate. But “no” wasn’t a viable answer. “This isn’t why I came over,” was also unaccepted. “I don’t want to redo my makeup” was a good reason. “I’m on my period” granted me enough space to get up and leave, but not enough space to have control to stop things.

I picked up the comic and went about my weekend.

Six weeks ago, I was feeling good. I met up with someone and lost complete control of the situation. I’ll continue to spare you details. I got home in the middle of the night, uncontrollably sobbing. I knew the right things to do. I knew to call the police. I knew not to shower. I knew those are the things you’re supposed to do. Another thing you should do, if you’re able, is take care of yourself, whatever that looks like. So I did. I showered. I took my clothes off. In that order.

I did something I haven’t done before though. I reached out to people immediately. Everyone was asleep, but in the morning so many people were affirming. So many people kept my mind safe. My dear friend, who is far away, encouraged me to go to the Sexual Assault Treatment Center. My dear friend, who is down the street, hugged me while I sobbed on him.

I called the Sexual Assault Treatment Center, because I didn’t know how it worked. She said to come in immediately. I asked, “Can I wait an hour? I have a job interview in 15 minutes.” She called me a toughie.

Throughout an hour-long job interview, I held it together. I needed this job. She asked how I handle stressful situations. I refrained from saying, “I haven’t cried once or given pause that something is wrong in this interview, have I?”

My dear friend, who hurried back from out of town, met me at the Sexual Assault Treatment Center. I met with a forensic nurse, a police detective, and a woman from victims assistance. I had a full exam done. I only cried once. She was kind. She was patient. She took my time, not hers. Some times when we interact with people who need kindness and patience, we offer them patience on our own time. She did not do this. She gave me time to breathe. She waited until I said okay. I know it’s her job to act this kindly with victims. We could all stand to work this kindly with everyone.

My dear friend waited in the lobby for two hours. Her phone died. She read every pamphlet. She waited on my time. She was kind. She is kind.

Another friend far away shared my assailants picture. He told the story. He checked with me and then told anyone who would listen. Profiles were removed. People were talking, in the best ways. He shared the truth, not the easy parts.

The next day I had a gynecological exam to get checked for my tumorous cysts. The nurse was kind. She talked to me about her own trial. The RN was not kind. She was cold and shaming. I scheduled another appointment for an ultrasound, because the RN didn’t believe me. It was five weeks later.

I stayed open. I kept talking. I asked for help, for company. I was granted this more times than I can explain. Food was brought to my home. Kindness after kindness.

Two weeks later I had a second interview for the same job. I hadn’t slept in four days. I was certain I wouldn’t get it. It was a terrible interview. I was exhausted. I was beaten. I was destroyed.

The next day I received a call from my doctor’s office. It wasn’t just my fears. Other unwanted news came. Nothing uncommon, just unpleasant.

Three weeks went by, and it became a problem for some people. This made me stronger. My survival and my means of survival were problematic for some people. I vowed to become immortal out of spite.

At four weeks, I wanted nothing, but hugs. I also wanted to never be touched. I was watching as people I knew were having pretty serious allegations brought up against them. I was watching and being pulled in. People were contacting me, as if I’m an authority on consequences. The only consequences I understand are my own, the ones I face every day. I watched possible (albeit likely) assailants keep friends, which is a type of affirmation of those actions. While I was losing people for being dramatic, for causing problems.

Do you know why someone talking about rape seems dramatic? I do. Because trauma is dramatic. Because tragedy is drama. Because truth is dramatic.

This only made me louder.
“I wish I could talk my way out of being raped the way rapists talk their way out of trouble.”
“So we’re clear. A rapist hears the word ‘no’ and expects that to mean ‘yes.’ But when accused the rapist is like ‘I didn’t rape her.’ Apparently only his ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

I started to feel more isolated. It was silly. Weeks prior I was surrounded, literally and figuratively. Friends from all over were reaching out to me. Nonetheless, I began to fear I had worn out my welcome on asking for favors. I’m not quick to ask for help, but this time as a means of survival I knew I needed to. Coming up the stairs at home and collapsing to my knees sobbing, I knew I needed help. I had reached out to someone I was told was a therapist. They proved to be a crazy person that would only escalate my issues.

I felt alone. I was not alone. I felt alone. I felt empty. I felt lost. I felt alone.

Loud noises began to affect me. My parents’ dogs barking made me terrified and panicked. Thunder made me panicked. A dear friend brought me earplugs and other kindnesses.

At a show, I wore my “please-don’t-rape-me” jeans that I bought eight weeks ago. I told my friends not to touch me and to make sure no one else did. I did not keep it together. I left in the middle of the show. Broken. I had stayed because I couldn’t be alone, but the music was loud, the voices were loud.

Week five I was fine again. The dogs and I were fine. I could cuddle my dog again.

Creative 30 for 30 started again, and I could force myself to put some of the things in my head to good use. I started baking again. I didn’t start passively baking. I have no one to give baked things to. I started baking to heal. I started baking more than just that one cupcake Kristen Wiig made for herself in Bridesmaids. I started making full pies. I made pies for healing. I recorded recipes. I made the same pie twice. I improved on pie. I improved on pie to improve myself. I taught myself new skills to show myself I can do more. I watched Moana eight times.

I went to my ultrasound. The tech was kind. The tech took my time. She made six marks on the image of my single ovary. She paused. She asked if I wanted children. I turned my face as tears grew in my eyes. I’ve been in pain again for a couple of months. When I finally saw my doctor she explained I had several cysts in my ovary. They ranged in size from 0.5 cm to 1.3 cm. She explained that they would likely dissipate. She explained that in my case they needed to be monitored closely because of my history. She said it was Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It explained so much about my last year. It explained so much. It still scared me so much. It still does. Of course, it does.

I also made it one whole year writing affirmations. It’s not been a full year since I moved them to this platform, but I’d brought myself a full year on the strength of my own mind. I’ve continued. I will continue.

At five weeks I also found out I got that new job. I found out I’d be working in an incredibly life-giving, safe, and affirming space. I could walk to work again. I could pay my bills again. I could be motivated to fight PCOS simply by doing my daily work.

Six weeks/eight weeks later I started my new job. I love my new job. I’ve been doing research on diet options to make PCOS more manageable. I’ve continued to reach out to people. I’ve broken my own heart this week. I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve cried on the phone with someone I haven’t heard from since I told them what happened because I felt abandoned. This crying went unnoticed.

In eight weeks my nightmares have come back. In eight weeks several people have taken themselves out of my life because I’ve been too much. In eight weeks I’ve cycled through peace and pain. In eight weeks I’ve screamed and cried. I’ve gone silent. I’ve pushed myself. I’ve been pushed. I’m not healed. I’m not cured. I am still moving. I am healing. I am mending. Pieces of me are coming back together. (please, ignore that Ashley Simpson reference. I can’t take it out now, but I don’t want it there either).

Some times for no provoked reason, I still fill with all manner of sadness and pain. It doesn’t take new provocation. There’s a lasting provocation lodged inside of me. A provocation I can only hope to learn to cope with. It will live beside me. I will be bigger than it. Some days, I’ll get to a place where I will feed it too much. It must be fed. If it’s starved it will get loud and angry. It must be fed and acknowledged. It is my constant companion. It is my monster. It is not me.

Thank you to everyone who has helped carry me over the last two months and over the last 30 years.

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Adventure in Wrecked

I take myself to the movies more than I used to, because until recently I had someone to go with. When I lived in Indianapolis I took myself to the movies, because I didn’t have anyone to go with. I like going to the movies alone. It forces me to stop making quips or to over-analyze and judge.

This weekend I saw “Ant-Man” and “Trainwreck.” “Ant-Man” was a fun romp. End critique.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 09:  Honoree Amy Schumer accepts the Breakthrough Award for Comedy onstage at the Variety Breakthrough of the Year Awards during the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images for Variety)

“Trainwreck” destroyed me. (I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers). When I got to the theater I ran into my friends Katie and Taylor. They invited me to sit with them, which was super generous. I warned them though. “I’m apologizing now. I am going to cry.” You may remember I cried through “Bridesmaids” too. But “Bridesmaids” didn’t do what “Trainwreck” did.

While “Bridesmaids” was a series of sketches strung together with a relative storyline, “Trainwreck” is brilliantly thought out. I loved this movie. That’s important to remember. Largely, I knew I would cry, because I, right now, am a trainwreck. I am. I knew it would be too relateable. It related all over my face.

In a way that the over-abundance of sex in largely male-driven comedies is the joke, sex in this was device. Drinking was a device. Just a piece of the puzzle. That’s not the part that I found relateable, to be clear. What resonated so much with me was this concept that so much of Amy’s life in the movie is pretty together. Good paying, if not smarmy, job. Steady relationship with “beefcakey” guy. But everything around and in Amy is falling apart. I think we can all understand that to a degree, but until you’ve found yourself faking everything. Every smile, every quick-witted retort, every laugh. Until you find yourself surrounded primarily by people who find you entertaining and useful, instead of deeply invested in your well-being, you just can’t know.

My walls are thick. I started to break them down, but last night, like many nights, I realized how much I have let them build back up. I know because I cried naked in an empty bathtub for two hours. I know because my cat threw shade at me when I moved the cry party to my bed. I’m not okay, but I’m going to keep putting that front up. I’m going to keep seeming fine to people who don’t care about me. I’m going to keep smiling and laughing, when inside I’m throwing up.

Not because someone instilled in me the idea that “monogamy isn’t realistic,” but because I’ve learned that the more I let people in on the truth the more they run away from me. Spin if it you want to, I know who my real friends are. But the truth is it’d be nice, living alone and single in the city, to just have a bunch of casual buds who I feel safe with.

(I apologize that this is so chaotically written)

There are several points throughout the movie where pressure is placed on Amy. Now that she’s found Aaron, she can start the fast track to kidstown. Some of us do want kids, some day, maybe. But there’s a low probability of that for me. So the moment that pressure is put on me I become a 23-year-old frat boy. “Whoa, bro. Nahhh. Yuck. Babies. Yuck.” Because it’s easier to pretend I don’t want it than to accept that I likely can’t have it. (in the traditional way) So far, the Church hasn’t helped me feel any better about that.

That when things get hard, it’s easier for me to just walk away. “This is the part where it gets hard and everything falls apart, let’s just speed this up.” If I never try, I can’t fail. It’s easier for me to promote and support the furthering success of those around me, than to make a damn move on my own and try. Because I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail hard, and I don’t know how much more of that I can take.

The point is. I am a trainwreck. I’ve never felt so understood by a movie in my life. But that doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make me feel any safer. It makes me feel understood, but it also terrifies me. I terrify me, and I’ve seen myself terrify those around me.