Just found this article by Alex Myles on Elephant Journal and I identified with it on such a visceral level that I had to share it here.
The way she articulates clinging to the pain of a break up, the grieving for what could, should, have been is so familiar to me right now, as is the fear of letting go of that anguish.
How do you let go of something that you still desperately want, someone that you yearn for every night as you go to bed alone. Knowing you can’t have something doesn’t stop you from needing it. Knowing something will destroy you can’t stop you from loving it.
I cried out your name. I screamed so loud but no sound came out.
No one heard and no one came to the rescue.
So, I danced alone with our death.
I stepped in time with a shadow. Of a love I once knew.
I didn’t know what was there at the end of our line. I was terrified to let go of the comfort that holding our memories gave.
Then it hit me harder. The loss. Not just the loss of you, the loss of us, of what we could have been. And of all the “if only” thoughts that tangle and then knot my mind.
I had to stand up and open my eyes.
I’ve carried this weight. I’ve taken you with me, all because I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t.
I risked all for this love. I let you in. I sealed all the edges. I locked you in tight.
Now I’m letting it out. I’m letting you go. Alex Miles
So I get it, and I hope to reach the place she has really soon, cos I often feel I am losing my mind, but in some ways, I don’t want to move on, I don’t want to get over the last seven years of my life that I gave up so much to have. I don’t want to be rid of the future I dreamed for us, the things I knew we would have, and soon, we were so close to finally getting to where we’d wanted to be for so long. I can still see that future we were supposed to have and I don’t want to give up on it. I want it. That’s how my life should look.
I’m getting there on my own, I’m still working hard and achieving everything I wanted, but on a personal level I am falling apart, because it isn’t supposed to be like this. I’m meant to be sharing it all with the person I first imagined it with.
Read Alex Myles’ article, Thank F*ck I’m Finally Over You, here, and I’ve just found her blog, Love and Other Stuff, that I can’t wait to have a proper read of as there looks to be some great poetry on there.
Happiness = living a fulfilling life= doing what matters= knowing what matters to you= getting to know yourself =knowing who you want to be =working out how to be the you that you want to be= being true to yourself= feeling fulfilled = living a balanced life = happiness
When I was 18 I was raped by a friend of my boyfriend.
It is something I very rarely mention, yet think of quite often.
I like to think I’m doing quite well in my recovery from addiction, and actually consider my relapse last year as a part of the journey, I learned a lot from it. I try to maintain a positive mindset. I go to groups, I’ve made great friends, I work hard to confront my irrational thoughts and beliefs head on in order to understand myself and become a better version of me. I’m a constantly evolving organism, my own masterpiece in the making.
I try to understand how the events in my life have shaped the way I’ve lived in order to take control over how I live now.
I’ve tried to deal with all my open emotional wounds in order to stop myself picking at them little by little and causing deeper scars over time.
And yet, this one event, this trauma, never quite makes its way out. I never quite pluck up the courage to mention it, not to anybody, friends, family, many counsellors over the years. It’s the one taboo I just can’t bring myself to discuss. And I obviously need to. As I said, I think of it often. And it hurts.
So why can’t I deal with it?
And then, a few weeks ago, I had a sudden moment of clarity. It happened in the group life coaching I attend weekly. We do a brief check in at the beginning. A girl, I’ll call her Kate, just mentioned when it came to her turn how much the life coaching and the various support services had helped her to learn how to manage her feelings and, in turn, her life. She just dropped it in, in rather a blase way, that she had been raped. The way she said it made it clear that it was a past event that was dealt with and put to bed. Which got me started with this train of thought. Why is my rape not dealt with.? Why can’t I announce it like that? Why is it the one thing I can’t be truly honest and open about?
Because, the answer came to me, I am ashamed and I am embarrassed.
I tried to put into words my new understanding to my partner the next day. Why can I not be as brave as Kate and just declare it with no shame? His response was that I don’t want to be identifying myself as a victim. And this got me thinking even more.
Why am I worrying about how it makes me look when it’s not something I had any say in, it’s something I had no responsibility for?
I’m carrying all this shame about something that was done to me. I’m shouldering the blame for somebody else’s decision to ignore word “stop” and beating myself up for failing to change his mind.
To hear Kate so matter of factly saying “I got raped and struggled to get my head together for a while,” was the catalyst for a huge awakening for me. It seems such a small, simple thing:
“It wasn’t my fault”
And yet it’s taken me 13 years to come to that conclusion. I’m not suddenly ‘over it’, how could I be after battering myself with it for so long? But I understand now why such a painful memory has been walled off and hidden for all this time when other traumatic emotional events that also caused me to feel guilty and ashamed, such as being unable to care for my children and their removal to a family member, or the death by heroin overdose of my best friend and my subsequent arrest, have been plucked out of my head, thrust into the light, discussed and dissected with several friends and professionals throughout the years, until reaching the point where I can think about it and feel the sadness without the onset of anxiety that inevitably leads to me tearing myself apart with one destructive behaviour or another.
So although it will take some time and effort on my part, I can’t help but feel positive about this small break through. Having read up on it, I now know that it is extremely common for people who have been raped to feel this way. Most of us feel that we could have, should have, done something to prevent the attack. Why didn’t I look into this years ago?! By closing myself off to any chance of support, i have been dragging out my suffering all these years. I’ve been letting him win! Well, no more.
Now that I have been able to find the root of the disturbance that the memory of my rape causes me, I can start to come to terms with it and move forwards a little lighter in my heart. One person’s actions don’t define who I am. I know I can overcome what somebody else did to to me and I know that my journey of recovery from addiction has just been made a little easier to travel because of this knowledge.
And, of course, I would not have been in the right place, emotionally and mentally, to have come to these conclusions, to have taken the rape out of its box and had a good look at why it was still messing me up, if not for the life coaching and the Smart Recovery meetings, provided by The Hidden Homeless. It is thanks to that support in working on myself that I have come this far and feel ready to confront my remaining demons.