Time Heals

It is said that time heals all wounds.  A trite statement, to say the least, yet as time wears on, I find more and more truth hidden within its depths.  To say that time heals, is perhaps an oversimplification, let us say instead, time allows.  Time allows for things to move, for us to learn, grow, evaluate and evolve.

Today, I did a thing which I expected to rip me open, expected to tear the flesh from my breast and expose my beating, battered, heart.  I re-read an email I had received from a woman I used to love.  Or to be more precise, a woman onto whom I had projected ideals, and having done so, fell in love with who I perceived her to be.

We had a falling out.  To be more specific, I professed my bleeding, broken, baby queer love and was slapped down, like an upstart kid.  Rightfully so.  But fuck, did it hurt.  Like salt in a wound I throbbed.  My entire being throbbed with the pain of rejection, of confusion, of denial.

I raged against the idea that I could have possibly misunderstood the aspects of our relationship.  I raged against the thought that my perceptions, the lens through which I viewed my life and the people I let into it, could possibly have been clouded by the circumstances of my past, rather than the perceived reality of the present.

Thus, a period of discovery was entered.

I wrote and wrote, poem after poem, rant after rant, pages and pages and pages and pages of text. Of hurt, of pain, of longing, of lust.  I recounted, I recanted, I remembered, I misremembered, I raged. Months and months and months passed.  Years passed.

I do this thing, which my friend thinks is crazy; she thinks it is just begging to sink me into the deep, dark, depressions which are so often my truest lovers, my dearest friends:  I re-read my journals. Often. My pages and pages and pages of text.  I rip myself open again and again to see.  To see what can be seen.

And that is what I did.  I read and re-read and skipped some sections and went back and read those sections and became so infuriated with myself.  So sad about myself, because I had been – was still so lost and deluded and sad.

I had projected so much onto this person, this woman.  She was never who I thought she was.  Nor was I ever who she thought I was.  We were merely sets of ideas and experiences and thoughts and emotions coming together and drifting apart and coming together and drifting apart until the drifting was all that was left.

She told me this thing, which has stuck with me, to this day…so many days later, she said “I am not who you think I am.”  I didn’t understand what she meant.  It took me years of writing and reading and knowing myself to understand, a bit, of what she was saying.  I didn’t see her. I couldn’t see her.  I was looking through glasses which were so thick and hazy that I couldn’t even see myself.

Until I ripped myself open.  Until I let the wound bleed.  Let it fester and sore and puss and run and dry and crack and heal.  I looked into myself.  I sat in silence and knew myself.

Parts of me were hard to know.

Parts of me screamed in pain and anger and pain and anger and rage and pain and anger and rage and hurt and betrayal. But I began to see myself.  I read and re-read my writing and I ripped myself open and I discovered something.  Something beautiful and surprising.  I saw the distance.  Saw where I began, and how hazy and clouded and dripping with pain and trauma my perception was.  I saw how I had been conditioned, opened up, made ready to be broken.  And I was broken.

But I learned about myself, and learned how to begin to love myself and learned how to love others well and true.  Or begin to.

I retraced my steps.  Listened to music I loved when I was younger, watched television shows, read books, read essays.  Delved deep down into the psyche of my past self and wandered through the corridors of my mind.  Walked and walked and walked until I arrived at that moment.  When my beating, bruised heart was broken and went further.  I walked until I met myself.

And I did the thing.  I did what I thought would break me, what I had been so averted to for so long, I re-read the e-mail she sent me.  The e-mail that deluded me.  That I clung to with some distant, tenuous thread in the farthest reaches of my subconscious.

I was not averted.

My vision was clear.  The haze which had clouded my view for so long had lifted and I thought to be angry.  Thought to rage at myself for clinging so long to someone and something that was never meant to be mine.  Then I realized that had I not, I would not have the perspective that I have today.  Would not have been ripped open and so would not have written and written and read and re-read and arrived here.  I would be elsewhere.  Still battered, and bleeding and broken.

Shattered.

Because I did, I am mending, healing.  Learning and evolving and no, time may not, perhaps can not heal all wounds, but it certainly allows. That is a lesson worth ripping myself open for again and again and again. It is a lesson I will never tire of learning.

Safe

Lately, the I have been thinking a lot about my experience and how it impacts the ways in which I walk out my days.  Common themes have arisen, such as validation, safety and acceptance.  These are things which have often been in short supply during the course of my life, primarily in my childhood, but also in later years spanning to the present.

Tonight I was in an environment which made me feel unsafe, unloved and invalidated. Growing up as a person of color in a white family having been adopted as an infant, living in a white town, housed in a white state, has instilled deep within me some fairly intense insecurities surrounding my feelings of belonging and acceptance within the black community.

I’ve been making steps toward reaching out and joining that space which I had been so long denied access to. Tonight though, I left a discussion feeling disheartened and less than. I shared my perspective, which is rooted in a white backdrop of a black experience and I felt judged. I felt my fear come to life and it really bummed me out.

Some of the white people heard me and validated me, but by the people of color in the room, I felt that I was greeted with a dismissive attitude and though I am not surprised, I am sad. Mine is an experience which is not unique, but it is not common and I just wish that there lived a safe space for me and those like me, to share my views without negativity.

I’d like to expand on this further, but for now, I just need to get something down so I can maybe get some sleep.

Where You Headed ?

Rain fell from the sky, I remember looking up at the clouds and smiling, so grateful to be alive.  The sky was split, grey and white clouds swam fast and steady toward the East End. I looked to the harbor, and grinned at the clear blue, still untouched by the storm.

Gazing ahead, I wondered if I could beat the rain clouds home.  I wanted to stand in that space which was half storm and half blue sky; feel the contradiction of the elements beat upon my flesh.

I walked slowly, paper bag holding Paulo Coelho’s new book, Adultery and three steamed chicken buns (bubble tea was out of pork, *sigh*) swaying gently as I moved.  I had placed my glasses in the bag as well, because they are more of a hindrance than a help in rainy weather.  Besides, I didn’t care how far my eyes could see, I had my new headphones placed securely in my ears and was perfectly contented to feel the rain on my skin and dance to Billy Joel down the street.

I’d like to think that is why I didn’t notice him.

His name was Mark, or so he said. I rounded the corner a couple of blocks from where I live and saw his car pull into a driveway ahead of me and turn around.  The window was rolled down and he appeared to be trying for my attention, I thought maybe he needed directions and I could score some good samaritan points by pointing him in the right direction.

He had pulled past me toward the main road, when I took out my ear buds, he put the car into reverse and swerved into the opposite lane to talk to me.  I remember thinking it a little odd.

As it turned out, he did not want directions, he wanted me.

Mark: Where are you headed?

It is worth noting that the sedan looked like an unmarked cop car, which explains my overly trusting, unwise response.

La: Home.

M: This is the second time I’ve seen you.  I           saw you walking earlier and tried to get               your attention. I wanted to know if you                 needed a ride.  You live around here?  I’m             Mark, what’s your name?

L: La.

M: Well, I just thought I’d see if you needed a       ride.  I thought you were cute. I’m not a                 stalker or anything…

L: Oh. Well, have a good day.

M: Ok, you too.  Maybe next time you’ll feel         comfortable enough to take a ride.

L: Doubtful, but maybe.  Take care.

I took a different street home.  Circled around the block and checked in front and behind me the remainder of the way home.  When I got inside, I locked the windows and doors and made certain the shades were drawn.

His words played over in my head.  I remember his car, a dark sedan with tinted windows. Clean. Immaculate even.  He wore sunglasses, rectangular, dark, so I couldn’t see his eyes.  It was raining and he wore sunglasses.

He knew the neighborhood I live in.  “Maybe next time you’ll feel comfortable enough to take a ride.”

“Maybe next time…”

“Maybe next time…”

I wish this were just an interesting plot idea kids.  I wish that this scenario was something I’d thought up and could spin into some sort of book and land a brilliant deal with a publisher – I suppose I still could – but it wasn’t, isn’t. This happened tonight.  This clean cut man, with his clean kept car, and shades and tinted windows approached me. Watched me. Followed me.  This was so much more than your everyday street harassment, kids.  There are scary people out there.

Be careful. Be watchful. Be safe.

Pump the Brakes

I’ve had rape dreams all week.  Different faces, different scenarios, but my rape remains the same.  It is definitively a rape, however I am accepting of it.

My self always seems to say, ‘Well, this hurts, and this is awful, but this is a thing that happens, so I have to deal with it.  There is nothing that I can do to stop it or to change it, and to even contemplate otherwise seems silly.’

Before this week, I cannot recall the last time I had a rape dream, probably the last time I was forced to see the ‘man’ (for lack of a better term) who raped me.

Now, let me pump the brakes and toss us into reverse for a moment.

When I was six weeks old, I was adopted into an entirely Caucasian family with two parents – a man and a woman, who had three boys.  The eldest of these boys molested me when I was about eight years old.  Repeatedly. For how long, I am not certain, I only know that it took place over a significant span of time, as I had more than one bedroom (he, my brothers and I liked to switch our rooms, to keep things interesting).

Eventually, after repeated inquiries from my father, I admitted that the eldest son was “touching me” (which in fact it was far more involved and far more disturbing, more on that at a later date) and after this admittance, the molestation ceased.

However, no one saw fit to address the fact that the abuse took place, or to seek out the assistance that any abused child would need to lead a healthy life going forward.  Instead, they swept it under the rug, and even went so far as to have me take a photo with him on his birthday shortly after the abuse ceased.  As if to say ‘Hey, so that stuff that was happening, that really gross, awful, horrible, completely and utterly inappropriate behavior which was taking place? Yeah, forget about it.  No big deal.  It happened.  We’re not even going to tell you that it wasn’t okay, we’re just going to move on.  One big happy family. ‘

And we were.  One big happy family, despite several bits of us not being one big happy family.  But I was “closest” with him, because I felt that were I to tap into my true feelings, the feelings which told me how dirty and disgusting I felt and how much I despised him, well, we wouldn’t be a big happy family anymore and then what would happen to me?  The newest member, the only member not related by blood, by race, by anything.  So we were close and we were ‘happy’.

Until I hit my twenties.  Until severe depression set in (mild depression followed me for the entirety of my teen years) and I couldn’t function.  I couldn’t work, couldn’t eat, couldn’t go to school, couldn’t live.  Enter therapy.  Enter someone hearing me.  Enter someone validating me.  Enter someone telling me that I should never have to see nor hear nor speak to that person ever again.

Enter my family.  Enter an entire different message.  Enter my mother telling me, when I finally mustered up the courage to tell her about my childhood abuse (I was under the impression that my father was the only one who knew), “Well, I wouldn’t put it like that.”

BOOM.

Rage. This is the mindset which I have been fighting.  Validation? Forget about it. Blaming the victim?  Oh, in spades.  This is what I have been fighting.

Throw it into drive. I have been having rape dreams all week.  I have my brother’s wedding to go to (as far as I am concerned, I have two magically, beautifully, brilliant brothers, who have an older brother, the youngest of which, is getting married) and I am a ball of nerves.  I am torn.  I also have my mother’s wedding to go to next weekend.  I am torn.  I am in both.  The prospect of going to either gives my heart leave to beat out of my chest.

Is the juice worth the squeeze ?  I am not certain.  I have been traveling down a very beautiful road to self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and self-love, and I fear, oh how I fear that these interactions with the rapist will throw me off track.  He will be all smiles, all simpers and purrs. He is the sort to not realize how entirely fucked up he is.  In a letter I constructed to him to tell him how fucked he is, he had the audacity to say “I just want my little sister back”.  This is the sort of fuck we’re dealing with folks.  How am I to abide this?  How am I to come out with my sanity and mental equilibrium intact ?

Have I walked this road to healing long enough to not be detoured?  Long enough to not be turned around?  I fear I have not.  Is familial guilt enough to make me chance it?  At what point do we cease worrying about others, and start worrying about ourselves?

I am torn.

May You live in Interesting Times

It has been a while since I have written.  This is due to various reasons, however, the heart of it is that I have not had the heart for it.

Recently I have been undergoing a serious overhaul of my inner self.  I was walking out my days in a blissful haze, letting the heat of the sun dance upon my back, wandering the streets with friends, singing, dancing and howling at the moon.  This soul needed it; needed a chance to let out all of the bitterness and hurt that had settled there.  This soul needed the opportunity to stir itself and remember why it burns with such passion.

The reason it burns, ekes out fire, as a tree ekes out life, is because this world needs it.  Long have I been under the misapprehension that I am limited.  I have walked out my days thinking that though I have dreams, they are somehow out of reach.  Yes, there are countless people who have been blessed with an idea, a dream and through the courage of their convictions, brought that dream to beauteous life, but I always knew that wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t until I was wandering down the streets of Portland, caught in a heady daze, when I had a startling break through.  Patterns in my brain connected which had never before met and I realized that nothing is impossible.  I’ll say it again, no thing is impossible.  During this moment, I was granted a glimpse through time and sprawled out in front of me was a vision of my life ten years from now, and for the first time since the world told me I couldn’t, I realized I could.

I have something in the works.  This thing is big, and it is dreamy and it is so so so important and I can make it happen.  I will bring it to fruition. That knowing, that utmost certainty brings tears of an emotion I have yet to name bright to my eyes.

“May you live in interesting times” is said to be a curse.  Perhaps it is.  The fact is, we do.  We live in a time when nothing is certain, and everyday people are hurting, everyday people are suffering and people are craving change.  This world cannot survive without a change.  It is felt in the air, this change is craved in climate, in behaviors, in culture.  We live in interesting times and I have every intention of making them just a bit more interesting.