Friday, December 1st, 2017

Well, my foot’s gotten hurt. And I got the official results from my orthopedist today.

It’s a sprain!

For a hot second, we thought it was a stress fracture, but the MRI has told us it’s actually a sprain. This is the 3rd time in my life I’ve sprained this ankle. So, maybe I have a weak ankle! Looks like my dreams of Olympic figure skating might be crushed. (I’m kidding, of course. I don’t really think I’m gonna be an Olympic figure skater, but “I, Tonya” is still on my mind because it’s such a fantastic movie.

Anyway! I’m hurt. Got a sprain. They recommended physical therapy and said I should consider using my crutches for a while.

So, how’d it happen?

I don’t have some amazing, or harrowing, or tragic story. I think it was just general overuse. Maybe I twisted it in a weird way at some point.

I’ve been limping at the end of races for months now – always with this ankle hurting. And I just figured it was the general “marathoners limp.” People are mildly limping all the time because their muscles are tired and maybe they’re slightly undertrained. I didn’t think it was all that big of a deal.

But being that one very specific part of my body always hurt the most and that it was hindering my races and making them progressively more painful, I should’ve seen a doctor sooner.

And now I have. And here we are.

So, what does an injury mean for the end of Project 882? Well, I’m definitely gonna finish it. Don’t worry. And I’ll explain more about how in an upcoming post! ūüôā

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Drop everything you’re doing and go see this movie right now. Seriously. Stop even reading this blog post, and go to that movie.

Okay, so mild spoiler alert for this first bit. And I’ll give you a bigger spoiler alert¬†later.

Tonya Harding.

I really didn’t know anything about her. I just sort of vaguely knew, “Oh, wasn’t that the girl who clubbed some other girl or something?” But NO.

She had so little to do with it. (I mean, according to the movie. Who knows the real truth for sure? But the movie shattered my heart.)

I feel like this movie is especially relevant in 2017 because we are really having a reckoning with sexism and women who’ve suffered abuse – and what that means, and how that’s held many women back, and intrinsically changed their lives and careers. And Tonya Harding is a quintessential example of how abuse changed her life. (Major spoiler alerts ahead.)

It was her abusive husband who started the whole scheme in the first place, and I think he got her involved with her bodyguard who escalated the scheme and without Jeff in her life, Tonya could’ve ruled the world. She’s one of the very best figure skaters of all time, and she does not have an Olympic medal.

It takes an abused woman an average of 7 times to leave, before she leaves for good. And every time she left him in the movie, it was so great. “Maybe this’ll be the one,” I hoped. But I knew it probably wouldn’t ever be. And also, it never was – until he’d already ruined her life. (And now I’m already crying again because holy goodness, this movie was devastatingly good.

Not to make this move about me or anything (eeesh, who am I, Trump?), but having been in an abusive relationship, I’ve had people ask me so many times why I’d stay – sometimes after things that seemed… not innocuous but innocuous enough (e.g. throwing such a tantrum that he’d break things around me, but he didn’t actually hurt me – being scary and being violent, but not ultimately physically hurting me… (and more examples of various things along those lines – that cross a line for most people (esp in a repeated pattern), but become something you just deal with when you’re in it).

And I just know how exhausting it’s been to try to answer those questions when they’ve come up – not that there’s not merit to them. But I guess weirdly I just never realized how odd being in an abusive relationship seems to people outside of one, until I started loudly talking about it.

Anyway. The point is, I wonder how much Tonya Harding had to deal with that. And I wonder how many people came out of the movie asking questions like, “HOW could she go back to him after he shot at her?!” I mean, I felt it in my soul. The movie all made total and perfect sense to me. I identified. I cried. I got it. And I wonder for someone who hasn’t had the last year and a half of trauma therapy I had – especially in this, the year of 2017 – if it feels as so super real and relatable and heart-wrenching and such…

Anyway. So, she was in this abusive relationship. And abuse was all she knew. And no one was there to help her. Even when the cops pulled her husband over for something else, and there was alcohol and guns in the car and she was bleeding right in front of them, they didn’t talk to her. They didn’t ask if she was okay. She had nobody.

And I most certainly did not realize she’s one of the best figure skaters of all time. I guess I just kind of assumed that if she had make¬†some incident happen to get her competition out of the way, then she must not be good. But she’s one of only a tiny number women to have ever been able to perform the triple axel. Ever.

I think she was the first American woman to do in a competition. She would’ve been the first person to do it at the Olympics, but alas, her home life was out of control during 1992, and her skating was suffering, and she couldn’t pull it out, sadly. And I know lots of people can do amazing things when their home life is a mess. And she often did too! But in 1992, alas, she just didn’t.

Anyway, the triple axel. Man, there was a part in the movie… the movie sort of has these little asides from the characters in the present day, like they’re giving interviews and stuff. And Tonya’s character gets choked up when she talks about the triple axel and says something like, “I’m sorry… Nobody ever asks me about this anymore.”

And yeah. It’s so sad to think that she could do this amazing feat, but because she was too close to the people who did this terrible attack on Nancy Kerrigan that now that’s all Tonya’s ever asked about.

Anyway, I could talk about this movie all day. But the point is, as far as I could tell, Tonya had no prior knowledge that Nancy Kerrigan was going to get hurt. And her life was ruined because of a plan her husband started putting in motion, and someone else (still not Tonya and not communicating with Tonya) finished.

Oh! One more super sad thing. She was told by the skating federation that if she wanted to represent our country, she had to have a more wholesome family. She had done the healthy thing and cut her abusive husband out of her life. And then she was pushed back with him for the sake of her career – which he then ruined.

And there is part of me who wonders, “What if she was a villain? What if she really did do this? How would I feel if I were Nancy Kerrigan, and the person who helped with the worst thing in my life got a movie¬†that made them a hero (or at least an exceptionally tragic and loved figure)?”

And the answer is, i dunno. I feel for what happened to Nancy Kerrigan. I’m glad the people who got jail time, got their jail time. But – I’m crying again! haha… Because the scene of Tonya’s sentencing had me BAWLING. I mean, it was just uncontrollable. My face was soaking wet. My hands (to wipe my tears away) couldn’t move fast enough to compensate for how fast the tears were streaming down my face. I don’t even know if I want to ruin this part for you because you really, really have to watch it. But I’ll put it in the lines below on the off-chance you want to read about it (but you should really see the movie).

– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –

Giant, giant spoiler (skip past the next line to skip this part): Oh my, oh my, this scene hurts so badly. When she’s getting her sentencing, the judge bans her from skating competitively. (I am literally typing through tears.) (This¬†is like potentially even sadder than that scene from Little Miss Sunshine.)

Anyway… he bans her, and she starts begging, “just let me do the jail time. This is like giving me a life sentence! Please! They only got 18 months. I can do 18 months.” And she’s just begging and pleading.

And she’d dropped out of high school to skate – didn’t even have a GED. Skating was her whole life –¬†the only thing she knew. And between her incredibly abusive mom and husband, skating was the only place she ever felt love. And the judge was taking that away from her – her whole life. For¬†conspiring to hinder the prosecution.

She was privy to information on Nancy Kerrigan¬†after it happened, and then started getting involved in trying to help her husband cover it up (to what extent, I’m not completely sure). And while I do understand
a) being afraid of your abusive husband,
b) being scared that you’re gonna be implicated in something you didn’t do, since your own husband was part of it
c) not thinking clearly in the midst of one of the most pressure-filled moments of your life (Olympics! Conspiracy! Media Circus!… It can’t get much more pressure-y than all that!), I also am not going to make an argument as to why we should excuse her behavior, or that she shouldn’t have gotten some punishment. But it’s still devastating to have your whole life taken away from being dragged into your husband’s mistake after it happened.

– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –¬†– – – – – – –

Anyway, I’m drained now re-thinking about this movie.

After I got home from the movie, I watched videos of Tonya Harding skate, then interviews with Nancy Kerrigan and/or Tonya Harding, then a documentary on Tonya Harding, and then one on the Olympics in general. (I’ve fallen into a real Olympics-hole, learning about the Magnificent 7, and Becky Hammon playing for Russia, and who even knows what else.)

Anyway, my heart is broken for Tonya Harding and I applaud everything in this fantastic movie. I hope it makes a ton of money and wins a bunch of awards.

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

For once it’s a good sign.

Usually, over the past two years, if i was quiet for a while it was because I was too sad. But now, I’m just writing a bunch of stuff for class, and actually enjoying TV and movies again and getting in a bunch of miles for project 882, and trying to catch up on logistical stuff for that, etc. etc. etc.

I’m on hiatus all of December. And I WILL catch up. But I just wanted to let you know I’m alive and I’m sorry I haven’t been super around! xoxo

Friday, November 24th, 2017

This is something I feel like comes up semi-a lot. I think I’ve written some version of this post a few times, and it’s something my mind comes back to a lot to. Because for me, it’s been one of the hardest things to really internalize and be okay with…

I feel behind a lot. (And by a lot I mean both often and in very large ways.)

All the time, I am seeing people who actually focused and worked these past two years (as opposed to me who sad around and cried), and where they are now.

I see the commercials friends booked, the programs they made it through, shows they did, grants they got, classes they aced. I see¬†many of the improvements in lives that could’ve potentially happened in mine too. (Maybe. I mean, who knows, really.)

And I feel behind.

And I don’t just feel behind in comparison to other people. I feel behind in comparison to where I thought I’d be or wanted to be or to what all the momentum in my life made it seem like things truly could be.

And I keep thinking I’ll feel less behind, “once I lose 10 pounds and feel more like the old me,” “once I finish the re-write on my pilot so I don’t feel such a giant gaping hole in having writing good recent writing samples,” “once I mend fences with such and such friend, so it feels like my personal life is a little better,” “once I get to the point of BMI that I’m doing all new assignments and not just new takes on old ones,” “once I ….” There are more. It feels like there are millions. It always feels like, “if I can just do this or that, I’ll be back. I’ll ‘catch up.'”

But. The thing is, I can’t really totally 100% ever catch up. I can’t undo every little piece of damage done in my life (by metaphorical shrapnel coming off what happened to me). I can’t fix every relationship that had a tear. Some will be unfixable. I can’t start all the friendships I “should’ve had,” had he not been in my life. I can’t write two years worth of material in a month to make me feel better that I was so non-functional for a while. I can’t make BMI go any faster than it’s going. I can’t re-live every experience that I had over the past two years, trying to be more present this time.

I can re-create some. I can be present going forward. I can work on strengthening relationships I do still have. I can try to write a lot more now and on and on. There are things I can do going forward, but picking up every piece that was lost is impossible.

And that’s a really hard thing to deal with. And I don’t know how to get rid of the feeling of being perpetually behind.

Not everything is linear. And not everything takes specifically a certain amount of time. There are some things in life where one little moment – one job interview, one little something makes a giant shift in your world.

So, maybe if I just keep trying to move forward as best as humanly possible, there will come a day where something giant happens and it will feel like my life is in a good place no matter what weird wind-y way I took to get there.

But that day is not today. And being behind sucks. And having lost parts of my life sucks. And I can probably generally get most of those parts back – they just might not be in the exact way they were or the way I originally imagined. I dunno. I guess I don’t have some amazing concluding statement. I just – the game of catch up is sometimes exciting (e.g. “look at all I’m getting done!). It can feel like forward movement. And then sometimes it just hits me that it literally can’t all be done. I can do a lot for my future. But I can’t time travel to my past.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Now that we, I think, are at least nearing the end of all this, I thought I would address the whole “why talk about all this sexual assault recovery stuff in semi-real time, and so in-depth?”

Basically, for me, I think I’ve said, probably many times, that to me, this felt a lot like my open-heart surgery and everything that happened after that. It was serious. It kept running my life – no matter how much I kept trying to do everything else and sort of ignore it. It put a major wrench in a lot of stuff. And on and on.

And back then, I didn’t have a blog. (I didn’t have a twitter. I didn’t even have a Facebook for part of it.) I wasn’t expected to be posting a blog post a day, and trying to deal with, “What will I talk about, if I don’t talk about this?!”

And I tried to talk about other things other than sexual assault. I kept talking about other things for about 9-ish months. But all this stuff kept happening! The guy came back to school for an extra year I didn’t think he’d be there. And that was gut-wrenching. The Access Hollywood tape came out and so many people didn’t care. (That was the deal-breaker for me.) I tried to talk about other things, but I couldn’t outrun it.

As I got worse, and my life sort of came to a bit of a halt, as I just cried all the time, and missed out on opportunities, there became less and less to write about (other than what I was dealing with). I couldn’t outrun it. I couldn’t escape it.

It kind of reached a point where I had two choices – just write about it, or stop blogging for an undetermined amount of time.

I could’ve said, “Let me just take a break from the blog. I’ll be back when I can.” But he’d already taken so much from me that I loved. And I loved blogging! I didn’t want that to be taken away too… I wanted to fight through it and keep doing it, as best I could.

I also – I’ve read so many stories of famous people who talk about their incredibly downtimes. They can reflect on how sad they were and sometimes when I’ve been sad, I’ve found those things comforting to read… But how amazing would it be to be reading the account if they were keeping it in semi-real time? It doesn’t just become a story from a long time ago you can identify with, but it’s all right there. Boom.

I have no idea if I’ll become famous. But on the chance I do – or at least on the chance that I become mildly successful to the point where someone in the world wants to look back at my past, they’ll have the sort of nitty gritty (ish) of it. For any survivor who wants to read it all – boom, it’s there. Even if it helps just one person, that’d be cool. I don’t think it hurts anyone to be up. So, if it is either a net zero effect, or a net positive (even if a small one), that’s good.

Also, even just for me. If someday I’m way better and I want to reflect on that part of my life, I have it.

As of right now, I can’t imagine ever wanting to re-live, re-read, re-imagine. But if I want to, I can…

So, I don’t know. Those were kind of my thoughts going into it. And that’s why I did it. I have no idea if this journey has been helpful/interesting to anyone else. Please feel free to tell me if it has for you. Thank you for going on it with me. I’m excited that we’re reaching the end.

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

And for me, it’s all basically taken a little longer than I expected/wanted it to take…

This is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for sort of a while now. When I was first dealing with being assaulted, I had a few different people tall me about women they knew who went through the same thing, and the general consensus was, “Oh, it takes about a year.”

“Yeah, I had a friend who seemed to sort of fall off the face of the planet. And then a year later, poof. Just there she was again. She took a year away from everybody and everything, and then she was as good as new.”

That was kind of a general thread I heard more than once – that everybody takes a year.

And when my year anniversary came and went, and I wasn’t magically better, I was stressed about it. “It’s supposed to take a year. It’s been a year. Why isn’t my healing over?”

And then, about a year after I started therapy, I had a giant bump, and was able to return to general normalcy. And my therapist said, for her, she’s found it usually takes about a year for people once they start therapy.

But even that doesn’t work for everyone. For some people, it takes two years. For some, even longer.

I kept having these sort of arbitrary goals. “I’ll be done blogging so extensively about this a year from when I started blogging extensively about this.” But then I saw people marking the 1-year anniversary of the Access Hollywood tape, and that was what spurred me to really start talking about all of this publicly. And I wasn’t done talking about all of this.

I kept thinking this random date or that random date is when this or that random thing will happen. And the thing is, for the most part, everything has kind of just happened when it happened.

And I think that’s okay. (Or at least, it kind of has to be, because that’s how it’s been/how it is.)

Milestones may not have come right when I wanted them, but they came. And I think they still will. (The biggest example that comes to mind is that I still don’t take the subway alone. That will probably change someday. Maybe not. So, there are milestones to happen, but plenty already have.)

I cried in my office for longer than I hoped. But I don’t do that anymore.
I cried during sex for longer than I hoped (or that seemed super reasonable to me), but I don’t do that anymore.
And on and on and on.

I believe if you keep working at the things that are really important to you, and you show yourself some patience, your milestones will come (or at least that’s what I like to think)… It just kind of takes as long as it takes.

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

**THIS ALREADY POSTED** I’M JUST ORGANIZING MY BLOG AND NEEDED TO SPLIT UP ONE POST TO BE TWO, BECAUSE IT WAS VERY VERY LONG. SO, YOU DON’T NEED TO RE-READ THIS, FRIENDS. SORRY FOR THE EXTRA ALERT.

Yesterday, we talked about (from at least my experience/perspective) examples of ways people were good friends, and also ways in which some friends did hurtful things. So, how do we deal with that now, moving forward?

I am finding it sometimes hard to differentiate “what comments are worth saying something about” vs “what do I just need to let go?”

I¬†firmly¬†believe that every one of my friends is a good friend, and really, probably also a feminist. I think everyone was trying the¬†best¬†they could with the knowledge they have. And I also believe I owe them way more of an apology than they owe me (which is why I’ve been doing a mini-sort-of-apology tour, as I will get into).

So, if I’m the one who was agitated a lot, didn’t want to leave my apartment a lot, was bad at keeping in touch, was sort of grouchy and hard to talk to often, couldn’t concentrate on anything (anything – not work, not life stuff, so not my friends’ lives, not even just normal conversation), etc…. If I was a bad friend, how can I possibly think it’s okay to nit pick and be like, “Listen. What you said felt sort of¬†insensitive to survivors because of [blah], and it hurt my feelings” or, “you said something that really sounded like the myths some people believe about domestic violence, and I just want to make sure you know that when you say [blah blah blah] it can hurt,” or whatever…

On the one hand, when people hurt each other, they should both have an opportunity to express that to each other and keep their relationship open and communicative, and it can grow. And if we’re ever gonna actually grow as a country, that means every single one of us needs to grow (including me!). We all need to keep looking at our internalized biases, and ingrained misogyny (even many, many of the “feminists” among us (again, super including me!). We need to keep listening, learning, and growing. So, if my friends want the culture to change (and I think they do), they would¬†want¬†to know the stuff they said that may be hurtful.

On the other hand, a couple of things.

  • A) I’m tired. (This is a huge, giant part of it.)

    I am tired. (So, so, tired.) I have fought enough battles this year. (You can skip this paragraph if you don’t want the list.) I have talked to the police and a lawyer. I’ve navigated going back to my writing program, where I’d originally met the man who assaulted me (who thankfully is gone from there, finally). I dealt with trying to successfully keep my day job while I could barely get out of bed. I toed the line at a bunch of races when I was¬†not¬†feeling it (and have not gotten my full health back after a¬†exhausting meltdowns and never being able to sleep). I’ve dealt with my own brain feeling like it’s gonna melt away when I can’t do anything but be stuck in the time of the incident and cry, cry, cry, cry, cry. I’ve tried to navigate staying in the new city I’d just recently moved to after it all happened. And on and on and on and on. I feel like I have been constantly fighting. I am exhausted. The last thing I want to do is fight with my friends –¬†especially¬†if there is already sort of a rift. Which brings me to B –

  • B) I don’t want to tear our friendship any more apart, if it’s already fraying!

    How much can people reasonably take?

    “Oh, yeah, I wasn’t a great friend for a while. Also, while you were trying to be nice, you actually said this thing that upset me.” Are they living in a world of landmines now, where they can’t do anything right? That wouldn’t be a fun position to be in.

  • C) As I said before, I know in healthy relationships, you can both share grievances. But there is something about this all that feels at least vaguely reminiscent-ish of my time with sexual assault guy. He’d do something¬†awful, but then zero in on something tiny I did, so we could focus on that instead.

    I don’t want that to start being a pattern of my life in the other direction where I’m playing the role of him, where it’s like, “Sure. I need to apologize for barely talking to you for like a 6-month span. But also, you should’ve have said this or that.” Like, what?

    So, I don’t want to be him. And I think there’s a way to accomplish it all – to talk about things that hurt my feelings¬†and¬†take responsibility for being a bad friend for a while (while trying to actively change and start to be a better friend now that I’m more capable). But to me, it feels like at least a semi-sort-of hard line to walk and I definitely don’t want to turn into sexual assault guy. I don’t think I’m him. I don’t think I’ll be him. But I definitely don’t want to accidentally become him. But I also don’t want to get stuck in relationships (of any kind) where I can’t say how I feel because I’m too afraid – either of becoming him, or of upsetting the other person. So, I don’t know… I’m rambling. Anyway…

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got on this specific thing. And we’ve got another friendship-themed post coming at you tomorrow.