Good evening, dear readers. I come to you with a heaviness in my heart, and find that I would like to share with you, especially those of you who’ve read my heart in Girl on the Right: Memoir of a Life Upside Down. I guess you already know that despite the “ending,” there is no actual end to some of the life struggles I face daily. My mental health is maybe the most difficult obstacle course I routinely navigate. So here goes…
I can barely get out of bed these days. The thought of leaving the safety and peace of my home? No. I did shower today, but that alone was an energy drain. I’m losing myself to deep depression. I am cognizant of the process, knowing I am drowning in hopelessness. This thought pattern is irrational, of course; I know that, too. What has sparked my fall, you ask? I’m not as good as my therapist, but I believe I know the culprit…
First, let me say to all the survivors who are FINALLY being heard and are using their voices for social change: BRAVO! I’m proud of you, and I pray you find freedom in your truth. I wish you well in your healing.
Every day I learn of a new assault. I read or hear the details, and how these experiences have impacted their victims. Women are coming forward in record numbers, which I’m so thankful for. I wish I would’ve been brave enough to come forward, but I wasn’t.
While I am cheering from the sidelines, each account is a trigger for me, and maybe for others who’ve experienced similar traumas. I think of the assaults I wrote about in my book, and the assaults I chose to keep to myself. The nightmares are back, as a companion to this debilitating depression. I am a wreck, I’m pissed off, and I am weary in the face of each and every breath. So let me get this off my chest…
To the man who tried to lure me into his apartment – I was only six-years-old, and you knew better than to stand naked in the doorway and beg me to enter your home. You made an innocent walk to a friend’s house scary and criminal. Your actions caused me to feel unsafe and stay inside while the other kids played and laughed freely outside. I stared you down in court and pointed my tiny index finger at your face when the judge asked if the man who exposed himself was sitting in the courtroom. I was brave and strong. SHAME ON YOU.
To the boy from Johnson Elementary – You thought you were so cool when you laid your body on the ground at the base of the “troll bridge” on the playground, encouraging me to jump over you again and again as you looked up my skirt. I’ll bet you were disappointed when the playground monitor caught on to your trickery and reported you to the school principal. As you were kicking yourself for getting caught, I was crying in my mother’s arms with shame and embarrassment. I never saw you at school again after that day, but your face is branded in my brain, and your name is on my list of those who greedily took from me. SHAME ON YOU.
To the man from Alpine Village – You paraded yourself around as “Uncle Kenny” as a way to earn our trust. You encouraged us to visit your apartment as you bathed, allowing us, the neighborhood children, to see your genitals. You asked me to touch you once, but I ran away. SHAME ON YOU.
To the guys in the warehouse of my first real job – I felt your eyes on my ass and tits with each step across the cement floor. I was young and trusting, and told myself I was overreacting because you didn’t touch me. But you did touch me. Every one of you who treated me like a dog with a new toy. You made me feel self-conscious of what I wore, what I said, and how I moved my body. SHAME ON YOU.
To my former employer – You locked me in the office under the guise of a project deadline, but instead of working on the project, you read me a pornographic story as you rubbed your erection. You believed you could get away with it, and you almost did. Thank god my roommate came to pick me up and banged on the front door. I know you had more planned that evening. I’m sure you were disappointed when I quit on the spot. SHAME ON YOU.
To my other former employer – How dare you humiliate me in front of a patient by making reference to my unseen tan lines. You created an awkward situation for everyone but yourself. You did it often, just like breathing. You showed no regard for propriety, and certainly no respect to me. SHAME ON YOU.
To the guy on the dance floor – You put your hands on me without my consent, even after I told you “No!” I did not give you mixed signals or encourage you in any way. You chose to ignore my pleas, and had your ass handed you by a well-intentioned stranger. Alcohol is not an excuse, ever. SHAME ON YOU.
To the doctor who delivered my daughter – I trusted you because you saved our lives. You abused that trust during a routine appointment a year later. You told me there was no need for a nurse to be present (they were all busy and you were short-staffed, you said), and assaulted me during my exam. I ran out of your office that day. I sat in my car for nearly an hour second guessing what happened in the exam room. SHAME ON YOU.
“I reject that I am a victim, and celebrate that I have survived; even in the surviving, there are landmines.” – Tina Truax, Girl on the Right: Memoir of a Life Upside Down