Survivor Diaries: Stayin’ Alive
It’s noon, and I’ve only cried twice so far today.
Twice! What a good day.
I’ve ignored only one phone call from a bill collector.
I want a drink. Do I have to wait for happy hour? Oh, I think I have some tequila in the glove compartment of my car. No, I need to wait until I can have wine tonight. Do I?
I’m heartbroken. I go through all sixteen years of my failed relationships trying to find something to blame. I come to the conclusion that I will spend the rest of my life alone.
Ah, damnit. Third cry. But then I can’t stop. There goes another hour!
I look at myself naked in the mirror. Everything I see is not small enough in the places I want it to be, or big enough in the places I want them to be. I imagine my head on Scarlett Johansson’s body and move on.
The impulse to hurt myself or drive my car off a bridge has not crossed my mind today. Cool!
But then again, it’s only noon.
Why can’t i just like…chill THE FUck out?
Hi, I’m Lisa, and I’m a sexual trauma survivor.
Emotionally unstable. Irresponsible. Codependent.
Black and white thinking. Judgmental.
Unable to accept reality. Dangerously impulsive.
I got all the goods! Come date me, world!
But I think “survivor” has a better ring to it.
What does that even mean?! Why does everyone keep saying that? Does it mean one “survives” the actual event of the trauma? Does it mean nobody killed me, and I “survived”? Or are people who use it just being dramatic? Get over yourself, we all got baggage!
I could definitely see someone who has never experienced this trauma thinking these things.
For those of us who have, it might be like this:
Think of a car crash. Let’s say a piece of metal gets stuck in your chest, right near your heart. The ER doctor was drunk that day and, I don’t know, didn’t catch it - so it stays stuck there. Weeks go by. Months. Every day you feel something in there, distracting you, when you move a certain way, shower, talk to people. Now, it’s been years. After time, your conscious forgets it’s even there. You just, sort of, get used to it. However, subconsciously, your body is reminded of the incident every breath you take. And even when you don’t. You almost forget it ever happened, because it becomes one with…you.
In the same way, the metaphorical debris of trauma sticks with us long after the event. The pieces get stuck in the skin’s memory, our bones’ understanding, maybe even one’s DNA (I don’t know, I’m not a damn scientist). I think the term “survivor” refers to the daily dealings with the metaphorical debris - and it ain’t easy.
So, I have gotten really good at putting that trauma in a little box in the back of my brain, compartmentalizing, so that I can literally get. through. each. dumb. day.
But it turns out that this is sort of like, a big problem. In doing this, I have made the same mistakes over and over again because I’m not really dealing with the issue. I have been too scared to face the root of them - me. Because “me” means I have to re-visit things I wish I could just hide from. When I was a child, I was a victim, but I’m not anymore, I’m a grown ass woman. And that victim-like thought has imprinted my brain and led me to all the decisions and heartaches I have created - or magnetized to - in my adult years. I’ve hurt a lot of people because of those who hurt me. And most importantly, I’ve been hurting myself.
Honestly you guys, I’m really sick of this shit.
I’m working on it, and I’m writing about it, hopefully with a little bit of humor (I don’t know, I’m German, I’ll do my best) - because NOBODY TALKS ABOUT THIS. And it’s really not uncommon or bad or wrong or anything. But for some reason, survivors are not believed or validated. Which is literally the most insane thing, because
1 in 5 people experience sexual trauma.
Chances are that you, or someone very close to you, has experienced it and might struggle with at least some of the things I do every day. I am not alone, and I really wish I had something to read like this for myself, because it’s so easy to feel like I am. Maybe it is for you, too.
So here we go, i guess.
Don’t get me wrong, this might be a complete disaster, I have no idea how to write a blog. But, I do know my story. And at this point, I feel like I have to do this to keep me from drinking myself into oblivion or running away to whatever city in Alaska that’s dark for half a year. I want to share the journey with you as I carefully, slowly - finally - try to remove the debris from my heart, and see that things really can heal, and things can get better.
We can actually thrive, and not just simply survive.
But, we have to do something about it.
If you want to come along for the ride, hit “subscribe via email” below, and I’ll see you next week.
Or, I don’t know. Whenever I post next.