(This is sort of a post of me ruminating on my insecurities of any part of my story that isn’t perfect (because no one is, but goodness I wish I could’ve been). Anyway, I think it’s probably skippable if you feel this story’s getting too long and you wanna skip forward.)
Picking up from last time –
It’s hard to say, “Well, I left because of this guy” for a couple of reasons. The main one is because I can practically hear people yelling, “Didn’t you leave because you weren’t doing well? Are you going to use sexual assault as an excuse to make up for your poor ‘grades’?” (I put grades in quotes there because you don’t get actual letter grades at BMI…)
And I don’t know what to say to that. Because it is true that I was not doing well.
I am not using, nor did I use, sexual assault as anything other than what it was – a terrible life event/obstacle that I needed help getting over.
It did, I suppose, potentially (that remains to be seen) “help” me (I guess, kinda, if you want to look at it that way), in the sense that I now get to repeat BMI, and I wasn’t doing well (and I wouldn’t have asked had that not happened to me), and I might do better next time… But, that wording of “help” still feels very off… I mean, there are no words that I can think of that can accurately be used to describe this situation, because it’s not like sexual assault could ever be a “happy accident,” or “good timing,” or a “blessing in disguise.” It did push me to ask for something I wanted (to repeat) and wouldn’t have otherwise. But it’s not a happy thing.
And, aside from picking the “correct” words, even if you do think that I gained something (deferment) because of it, I didn’t “use” sexual assault for a second chance at the class. I did not mention, nor even allude to it in my email to the co-moderator of the class… He was giving me a second chance because I wasn’t doing well (and had uprooted my life with 11 days notice, so he had some understanding). And then I mainly took that second chance/asked for it because I couldn’t stand to be around the perpetrator so frequently anymore.
And I also think the idea that things turned out better because of sexual assault is not true… As much as I would not want to be failing out of BMI, I really believe, if that was the only other option, I think I would happily take that instead of the nightmares, and having trouble connecting with other people, and all of that business….
I wish I would’ve been doing well (obviously – both because that would’ve been nice, and because anyone reading this could definitively know without any doubt that the reason I left was because of being sexual assaulted… There’s already so much self-blame and societal blame when you’re assaulted that I just wish everything were perfect and I wish I were perfect… So, there didn’t have to be any questions of what was my fault or wasn’t – or whether it “benefited” me in any humanly possible way…)
But it’s also almost nice (for me) to know I wasn’t doing well… It is already devastatingly heartbreaking enough that I felt I had to leave…. But having to leave a program where I’m floundering has to be easier than disappearing from one in which I’m thriving… (Or at least, I think it must be easier… I guess I wouldn’t know.)
And I know this also might feel a little like, “Hey girl, how defensive do you have to be? When people are so defensive, it often means they know they’re in the wrong [or something like that].”
And to that, I just say, I think people can also be defensive when they’re defending the truth. Stuff matters. And this matters to me.
Not to mention, I have gotten SO used to defending myself with sexual assault guy – defending even the smallest things. It felt like my world was a trap and I couldn’t do anything right. We had arguments over the semantics of the fact that in both assaults, I asked questions instead of making statements. I asked, “Would it really be that big of a deal if we went somewhere else, please?” I didn’t “command” it. That’s the word he used. He said I didn’t “command” it. Same thing in the second one. He asked why I was crying. I said, “Am I even allowed to be comfortable around you? Because I don’t feel comfortable right now.” I led in with a question, not a command.
These are just examples of the many arguments I had to have all the time. I had to phrase everything correctly, and do everything correctly, and “correctly” sometimes just means how he wants or feels… Supposedly, I should want what he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it… I have this fight or flight response that makes me feel like I need to defend everything all the time, because as I learned with him, if I’m not perfect, I’m wrong… And I was not perfect in BMI.
Plus, people blame women all the time for sexual assault – they look for all the reasons why it’s her fault. No matter how open and shut the case is, it still often comes back to “but why was she wearing that?” “Why did she drink” “Why wasn’t she paying more attention?” And a litany of other questions. So, I know that an inevitable question (or statement) will be, “But she wasn’t doing well in the class anyway, so what does it matter?”
And I guess maybe to some extent that’s a tiny bit true, in that… does it “matter” if I wasn’t doing well? If Vegas odds are that I wouldn’t have made the cut to advanced, then should we argue that isn’t leaving after most of 1st year, or 2nd year kinda the same? What was going to come of that class for me if I wasn’t doing well?
…But I just feel like even if I’m “failing,” I should still have the right to fail wildly, and feel at least safe while doing so. I technically could’ve maybe, perhaps, maybe, just a little, turned things around. Maybe.
It’s just not fair…
Oh and that second reason at the top that it’s hard to say “I left because of this guy” that I mentioned at the top? I felt very very weird about making a decision basically based on a man. These same thoughts will come up again when I decide to not go back the following school year. So, I will get more into them in the next post. But for now, suffice it to say I never thought I would make any decision off some boy. And I know it’s so much more complicated than that. But uuuugh.
And we’ll get into that next time.