It Happened Today
TW/CW: Rape, Sexual Assault, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Self Harm, Eating Disorder
Right now, I’m laying on my friends couch waiting for my 1mg Rx of klonopin to kick in and rock me to sleep. I didn’t have the energy to fight the feelings anymore today.
I was acutely aware of the date as it ticked closer to February 23. Was it February 22nd or 23rd because I mean technically he didn’t leave until early the next morning... I cringe at details. I have the present desire to want to unzip my skin from my body and feel nothing. Legs shaking, pulse racing, and nails trimmed as short as I could get them clawing at my skin.
I was never a cutter. But I bet if I started, I wouldn’t stop. I understand the psychology behind it. Dreamily, it’s a drug I’ll never try. Is my admission too honest? If so, stop reading now.
I know how many meals I’ve eaten this week. I don’t mean to remember. I don’t stop myself from eating if I’m hungry. I’m never hungry. Even when my body says it, I have to remember to honor the physiological signs of hunger. A growling stomach. A headache and short temper ebbed acutely and temporarily via a Snickers bar. I’ve gotten good at it, ignoring my hunger. Part of it was genuinely because I never felt it. Part of it was because no matter what I seemed to eat or not eat, my body still felt strange and unfamiliar. And the meds weren’t helping that as I packed on weight despite myself.
The night it happened, I was desperately lonely. I wanted one man. I settled for another. Things went horribly wrong. Tonight, I found myself edging on that old familiar solitude. Just wishing someone was here to hold me so I didn’t have to be alone in the nightmare. However, this time I wasn’t going to settle for just anyone.
I know my assault threw a wrench in my life. It’s taken me four years to achieve some semblance of course correction and I’m still not there yet. I’ve been surviving. I’m ready to do more.
I’m ready to get back to my dreams. Im ready to love, fully, and without hesitation. That includes self-love. I’m also ready to move forward and release more of the poison from this night. The night. I don’t know when the last scents of his cologne will leave my memory. Or when I’ll stop seeing the bruises cover my body in the shower; my mind playing tricks on me. I don’t know when my triggers will neutralize. I do know that it’s getting better.
I don’t feel like I felt last year or the year before. I’m still far too dependent on medicine for my liking, but I’ve gotten down to one main daily and one for days like this. I’m making strides. Despite what it feels like sometimes, I AM healing.
Having to ask for help so much from my loved ones was an opportunity for me to live my values. JFC it was and continues to be difficult. However, the day after my rape I made two promises to myself that I keep to this day. First, never EVER doubt your instincts. No matter how crazy you feel, how little evidence there is to substantiate your claim, it doesn’t matter. Trust your gut. Second, I was not going to carry the shame for someone else’s bad behavior.
I did not “ask for it” in any way. My clothes were not provocative. I said “no” to the point of tears until I was physically made to keep quiet. It was not just “rough sex” as the detective would ask me the day after when I made my police report. This wasn’t a misunderstanding, this was rape. I said no. He told me it wasn’t my place to tell me no. I’d never been in a fight before that night. No grade school scuffles or screaming matches. My first fight was for my life with a 6’8” 300+ lbs sexual predator.
Now, when I’m provoked, I go back to that place. He’s still inside me, and that was the thing I NEVER wanted.
I’m going to heal gloriously though. I already am. But it’s only going to get better, and my story will be the ashes I rise from rather than the noose around my neck. This much, I promise myself. One day, this day won’t be so hard.
JESSICA WILLIAMS, PHD IS A STORYTELLER WITH A COMMITMENT TO INTERSECTIONAL SOCIAL JUSTICE, AUTHENTIC DEVELOPMENT, AND THE INCREASE OF LEADERSHIP CAPACITY. TO BOOK HER FOR WRITING, COACHING, FACILITATION OR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, VISIT: WWW.JESSICAJAMESE.COM
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