This post is going to be a trainwreck, and that is not necessarily intentional, but I think, like with all things, we could make it into a metaphor.
Hello. If you’ve made it here, somehow, without my posting a single link or drawing any attention to this post in my usual fashions, I want to thank you. I really just need someone to listen tonight, and if the only someone is you, I am okay with that. Grateful, even.
I could call a friend, or talk to my family, or, even better/worse/better/worse, bottle this up and push it down my windpipe and hold it there in my stomach until the nausea overthrows me.
None of these options feel viable.
So I am going to write.
Tomorrow is a very odd day for me. It is the anniversary of what was quite possibly the worst day of my life. It is the anniversary of a buildup of things that accumulated in bleeding, burning, scathing crimson.
In the notes on my phone, the story is written, catalogued eight days after it happened. Somewhere between lists of appointment dates and one-liner poems that I never got around to finishing, there is the story of the day that I thought I would die, the story of the day that I truly wished that I would.
But, you see, the journal entry that I wrote that night, that December 16th, looked very different from what I would write days later. That night, when I got home, after taking quite possibly the longest shower of my life (that included sitting on the floor and sobbing and completely spacing out and banging my fist against the wall), I could not stand to think about it any longer. So I did what storytellers do best. I rewrote it. It was the first time that I really lied a big, scary, heavy lie, and it was only to myself, but it made me feel safe and okay. I wrote the entry three times, just to convince myself that it was true.
I wrote down a date from a young adult romance that I had read in the eighth grade. I wrote about how it was my date, and how I went on it. I wrote about him, there beside me, one hand on my knee and the other on the wheel and “Blue Christmas” playing in the mystical space between our heads. I wrote about us, going on a hunt for the best Christmas lights, basking in the joy of the season and talking about the birth of Jesus and what a miracle it was, what a miracle we were, young and crazy and so in love. I wrote about how gently he touched my face before he kissed me. I wrote about it in intense detail, narrating every move down to the second. I wrote about it better than I had read it. I wrote about it like it was true.
And so, in my head, for eight days, this is what I believed happened. We went on a date for the holidays, and it was nice, and it was soft, and it was innocent. And that is the story. The end. Curtains close.
But on Christmas Eve, I felt dirty, while everyone else felt holy. I felt sick, while everyone else felt joyful. And that night, when everyone was asleep, I got out my phone and I typed it all out, the way that it really happened. I typed that my boyfriend had hurt me, not for the first time, but in a way that was much worse than all of the other times. I typed that he had let someone else hurt me. I typed that he held his hand over my mouth while it happened.
Then I closed that note on my phone, and I haven’t opened it since.
I still believe the first story, sometimes. I really, honestly do. I believe that I’m the girl in that book and that I don’t know what it feels like to be raped. I screw my eyes shut and I clench every muscle in my body and I tell myself, “Don’t panic! Don’t worry! That isn’t true! That didn’t happen!”
But oh, it did happen. And I think the part of me that knows that is getting bigger now, without his voice there to suppress it, to tell me that what happened was normal and fine, or that it didn’t happen at all and that I was psychotic (depending on his mood that day).
I don’t know. I don’t know.
What I know is that I’m sorry for December 16. I’m sorry for the way that it happened, down to the most minute detail, the way that I ran out the back door while I was pulling one sock back on, the way that my tears blurred the Christmas lights and made them look hauntingly alien as I stumbled down the driveway, wondering how the hell I was going to walk all the way home, the way that “Blue Christmas” really did play in the sickly fog between us after he coerced me back into that stupid car. That stupid car that caused him to go into a frenzied panic on the muggy day in June when he hit the bumper on a lightpole. That stupid car that he must have loved more than me, because he barely batted an eye when he hurt me.
I’m sorry for the secret that I held in far too long, but I’m also sorry that I ever spoke up at all. I’m sorry that I can’t walk outside when it’s cold and windy anymore because the weather takes me back to that night and the bluster takes me back to the water in my eyes. I’m sorry that I hate “Blue Christmas”, and I’m sorry that I hate Christmas in general.
I’m sorry that I cry a lot, but never in front of people, usually in the shower and usually on the floor. I’m sorry that I don’t tell you how I really feel, I just lie about it, I just keep pretending I’m somebody else until the kettle floods over because pretending to be other people with other stories feels better than having to confront my own story. I’m sorry that I don’t trust people anymore. I’m sorry that I am a different person than I was before. The girl that I was on December 14 would hardly recognize the girl that I became on December 17.
I hate the girl that I am, and I hate her because he made her. He stomped her down until her bones were brittle and then he knitted them right back into position, replacing all of her threads with yarn: too sloppy, too frayed.
But here I am, today.
Here I am again, staring down another December 16.
Tomorrow, my friends will come over and we will talk and we will laugh.
Tomorrow, maybe, I will wrap some Christmas presents and bake cookies with my mom.
Tomorrow I will probably be dissociated half of the time (so if you see me tomorrow, please, bear with me).
Tomorrow, I will wake up (probably), I will breathe (hopefully), and I will make it through (first two, proceedingly).
It is just another day, I keep telling myself. It is just another day.
The four voices in my head roar. His Voice tells me it was my fault. The Liar Voice tells me that everything is fine, that I am a fairy-light girl with rainbows in my eyes who has never hurt more than superficially a day in her life, that this day has no significance, that it is all fine because it was never not. The Petrified Voice tells me that there is no way that I will survive tomorrow, that the flashbacks and the panic and the pure remembrance will be far too much for me to handle. And when the Petrified Voice says this, His Voice says, “Good. I hope you don’t survive it. All you do is mess things up, anyway”
But there is another voice. She is still learning how to sit at this table, and her throat is crackly, like it hasn’t been used in years. She says, simply, “You don’t know yet. Let’s see. Let’s see what tomorrow is like.”
I choose to follow her. She makes me promise that no matter what, I won’t make myself go through it alone.
Okay. I promise.