What Are The (Far Too Many) Ways Sexual Assault Affected Me?

Monday, December 26th, 2016

[This is¬†my longest back post. I have *GOT* to get the blog together for real. So, here’s this anyway (from December).]

[This is long. And in many ways may not be helpful for other people… But hopefully for me, I can look back on it in a year or two, and perhaps it will help me. Who knows. All I know is i personally felt I needed to make a list in how I was being affected. So, here’s the best I could come up with…]

This might be boring and laborious for you to read. And if that’s the case, obviously skip it ūüôā

I have a dream that someday, just maybe I’ll be able to be the same person I used to.. But I can never get back there if I don’t pinpoint the ways in which I changed.

It’s a lot. So, buckle in.

Let’s start with some of the ways I define myself.

1) An athlete

I pride myself on being an ultramarathoner. My San Francisco half marathon time last year was my fastest ever. (And look at how small I was! (Even if at the time I felt fat, like always.))

I used to complain about how hard it was to get in shape after all my time in the hospital. And not only did I get back to it, I surpassed it.

Whereas, my San Francisco full marathon time this year was, I think, my slowest road marathon to date. Slowest.
Not the one immediately (literally the day after) finishing the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks project (trying to come back from open-heart surgery), when you’d think my body would be so tired.
Not the one in the sweltering heat of Los Angeles where I got a sunburn like whoa… Oh no.
Not races with big obstacles, even. Nope.

This one. The one that should’ve been triumphant and swell and fun. Was my worst one yet.

I had such a hard time training.

I love to run and to work out. Running and working out is how I deal with stress. It’s how I process my thoughts and work out stuff that I need to figure out my feelings on…

And if I go work out and my thoughts start to drift to what my brain is trying to deal with now – that night, or any nights that led to that night, or another horrific night with him… I get overwhelmed. Sometimes I get physically ill. Sometimes I cry during workouts.

Sometimes I just push on through them with tears in my eyes, but I still usually slow down, and most often just stop, give up, and go home. It’s crummy.

I have never before wanted to be less alone with my thoughts. Working out used to seem fun/exciting/helpful. And now it seems scary.

And the more my body gets a little flabby and I do a little less, the easier it is to get a little flabbier… and do a little less, still. And the harder it is to be my normal workout athletic self. And that sucks. So, I feel like this bad cycle is starting.

And I’m obviously still going, somewhat. After all, I did running events throughout the year So, I’m not like, not doing my stuff completely. I’m just not doing it to the level I’d like to be doing it. And I’m seeing it slipping away. And I want that to stop. (And I know it’s up to me to make it stop… I’m trying… But I’m not successfully there yet.)

1A) A Small Person (My image)

My athleticism is tied into my image. As you know (if you’re a blog reader – or probably just if you know me…), I’ve lost a lot of weight. (A lot) And I feel powerful from that. Since that’s happened, I’ve felt more confident. I’ve gotten more attention – not just from dudes (and some women – thanks, a couple of ladies on the street who thought I was rull cute), but just from life.

Honestly, job interviews have gone better, my jobs have been better, more opportunities have presented themselves. (Not that that’s all about being small. I¬†think it also has to do with time¬†passing and working hard – it would make logical sense that that stuff would potentially be going better no matter what. That’s part of what happens (in an ideal world) as your career continues on…) I’m just saying, my life as a smaller person felt a trillion times better than my life as a larger person (to me). (I’m sure confidence has a lot to do with it…)

And I’m not trying to make a value judgement on people who aren’t my size, or aren’t as worried about size as I am… I’m saying from my own experience, life as a size 4 has been freaking dope. (For the most part. We all have seen that even as a size 4, I’m insecure as all get out. I’m not positive I’ll ever live in a world in which I’m super happy about my weight, but I’m definitely unhappy with it now. That’s what I know for the time being…)

I haven’t gained a suuuuuper ton of weight. I can still fit into most of my clothes. (I’m wearing one of my size 4 dresses as I type this, even… Granted, one of the looser ones. But still. Still wearing it. And it’s definitely not something I could’ve worn at other point in my life before I dropped a bunch of weight.) So, this doesn’t seem like an un-fixable or insanely out of control problem.

But still! I’m not as comfy and small and compact as I used to be. And that terrifies me.

There are dresses that feel a bit too tight. Things do fit differently. And I don’t like that at all. (Eep(!))

2) An Independent Girl!

My independence is everything to me. Just some examples:
– I moved to New York alone with no notice for The Nightly Show. (I came for an interview and just stayed.)
– One day, years before that, I got a call for a job in Vegas, and hopped on a plane for a month. Again, no notice, no planning. Just did it.
– During my 52 half marathons in 52 weeks, I traveled around the country for two months on a whim during my hiatus from work.
РI stayed in a homeless shelter in one of my first gos at NYC, when I was totally running out of money and options, because I refused to allow anything to push me out of the city of my dreams.

And on and on and on and on.

I have taken care of myself. I have traveled alone, lived alone, worked/made things happen alone*…
(*like, obviously with the help of people. No one is completely a lone wolf. I’m not at all trying to say my good fortune or career or anything has been based on me alone… A whole ecosystem of people contributed to me being moving up in the entertainment industry¬†and getting to do all my yearly projects and everything… I’ve met helpful, kind, lovely people. And I appreciate them greatly. I’m only trying to say that I’m not a person who says, “I’ll only go if you go.”

I’m not afraid to go alone, to be alone… I have no trouble uprooting my life to chase something (even if that something I’m getting to chase¬†is given to me with the help of someone else (It takes a village, and all that)). Does that all make sense?

And now I don’t leave my house as much alone. I don’t do *quite* as much alone.

We could argue this one.

I still went to Philly and the DNC afterparty alone. I do things alone…

But I feel safer doing them with someone (especially in New York).

I know it’s a bit of a silly feeling. It’s not like I was just jumped by a stranger. I shouldn’t technically probably be afraid of public space… But I feel soooooo much better if I’m in one with a co-worker. I went to lunch with a co-worker and I just thought, “I feel so safe right now.” So much safer than if I’m alone. I usually don’t even take the subway alone. Too often, I just stay in my office or take a cab or something.

There is a weird fear of being alone around people. And it feels so weird and so crappy and not like me at all.

 

3) A present adventurer

I like to be present in my life, and I like to do a lot of stuff! You can see a lot of that from this very blog, in fact…

So many of things I’ve done have been laid out in almost excruciating detail for you. (I have what? Like 1,000 posts on The Price is Right?) And I am able to write that way because, for the most part, I am paying attention, and living my moments…

Not right now.

I try to be present. I try to take in adventures I’m having… But those nights of assault, and the sequences that led to them are very often running in the back of my mind.

For instance, I went to San Diego Safari Park in the summer. It was great. I had a phenomenal time. But as soon as my pre-planned, pre-paid safaris were done, I went and cried in the bathroom. After all, I’d spent the whole morning listening to facts and stories about procreation and mating and all of that.

It’s so innocent! It’s just animals and learning… but it’s also kind of a whole morning of sex talk. So, I went and cried for over half an hour… Because I needed to.

Sometimes (often…reeeeally often) I get distracted… It sucks.

4) A Person Who’s Actually Working Toward Stuff

I have been distracting myself since early spring.

I usually have two lists of goals on my wall – short and long-term, and I like to try to find ways to work toward them. I obviously like to do my whole 52 in 52 projects. I like to be working toward *something* – even if it’s something small or maybe even something silly. I just like to work toward something, when possible.

And since spring, it’s been like, “Let’s escape! Ooh, a whale! Let’s soar on a zipline! Yay!”

Where has any of this gotten me? Nowhere. (Nowhere!)

Not to say it hasn’t been fun. Of course, for the most part, it’s been fun-ish (when I’m not breaking down in tears…). It’s been weird crazy interesting fun.

But where is it getting me? I see people out in the world improving, getting better, following their goals. And I’m just spinning my wheels. I haven’t even 100% known what goals I wanted to go after during all of this… And truthfully, when I even thought about setting a new one, it was an overwhelming mess…

I wanted to potentially try 52 classes on various things in 52 weeks (to try to fill in my “intellectual” pillar of my 4 pillars…), and I started googling any and all interesting classes that I could try to take to make up 52. And I ran across the idea of taking one of those sex classes where they show you toys or whatever, and I burst into tears.

[Not to say that I’m so vanilla when it comes to sex stuff. When I was trying to get over my sexual assault, I went on a “summer of sex” (more on that later, probably. I was happy to try some new things – anything to distract me or make sex different)… And even well before this happened to me, I worked on a phone sex line. I have costumes. I haven’t been generally ashamed of or scared of sex in my life. But there was something about having a class and hearing about sex and talking about it, that it was like, “I can’t do this. I cannot.”]

Anyway, getting back to trying to find a goal to focus on (since apparently it cannot be classes or broadening my horizons), as I said in an earlier number on this list, it’s been hard to even work out. So… what? Am I gonna make a work out or running goal when I’m barely keeping my act together enough to be averaging less than (but I guess close-ish to) a half marathon a month?

Am I gonna volunteer? I can barely keep my act together enough to do that either! (As I’ll talk about in the next number.) So… I didn’t know how to set a goal that I felt confident I could work toward/follow-through on…and one that felt like a step forward, not one backward… And then not setting one feels crummy too! Blegh. It’s all pretty crummy. (Sorry.)

5) A Responsible Person Who Follows Through On Things

Over and over again, I follow through. I’m the one who was called in high school if my teacher needed anything done, because I would make sure it happened. I was the one who stayed in The Nightly Show building ’til 3am prepping footage from a late-night shoot, so it can air the next day. I’m the one who says I’m gonna do time intensive projects (52 half marathons, 52 volunteer activities) – and I do them. I plan(ish) them and complete them.

Again, kind of as before, I want to point out, I’m not the only one who follows through. I want to be clear that I don’t think I’m some angel among men. My theater teacher was always in the theater when I was. She’s a follow-through person too.
And even though, when I was an assistant editor, I did stay ’til 3am prepping footage, a superstar editor came in at some crazy early time to get the piece done for the show… None of us work alone.

BUT

I was always a cog in the machine who you could count on… Or at least, I felt I was, and tried to be that.

This year?

Nah.

People have invited me to things that I didn’t go to because I just didn’t feel up to it.

And I know if it’s some random party, that’s not necessarily a big deal. But there’ve been friend’s stand-up shows I’ve missed (and spots where I could have a little set)… I’ve missed opportunities to do improv. I’ve missed opportunities to get out and do things, because I didn’t feel I could. I was too tired/sad/whatever.

Most embarrassingly, I feel I haven’t come through enough for my mentee (a high schooler). I won’t talk much about her (privacy and all). But I could’ve tried better to do more for her. I wasn’t there enough (though I still have time to try to make that relationship better)…

The point is, in general, I’ve tried to just start committing to less… Because, if I don’t commit, then I can’t let people down… But I like to commit to things. And I like to be there. And I like for people to still think of me when it comes to inviting me to things, not to not even bother, thinking I won’t say yes.

So, not feeling reliable – like I can’t even rely on myself because I know know how I’ll be “feeling” or what kind of “state” I’ll be in or whatever… It suuuuuuucks.

6) As a caring, giving friend/person

I always feel a little bit lacking-ish in this department (well, I always feel at least a little lacking in every department – I can always be better). But I also always try to make it better. I try to at least kind of keep in touch with my good friends across the country. I try to remember birthdays and special events. (I keep many in my calendar (and try to add more), so I don’t have to cross my fingers that social media will tell me – and probably when it’s too late to send a card anyway.) I love to let people know I care about them.

I also love to write thank you cards. My boss from The Nightly Show joked how she was going to have a wall of thank you cards just from me. I. love. to write. thank you cards. I’m pretty sure I wrote a thank you card once because someone bought me a coffee.

I love to write them.

I think we also know (based on past entries from this blog when I was undertaking the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks project – trying to schedule and run and blog and raise money for charity and blah blah blah excuses) that I totally fell short of keeping up with thank you cards.

(I literally found some written that were just never sent when I was cleaning out my LA room to move the majority of my stuff to NY (so…like 3 years later(!)). Apparently they are never-ending and still never all got sent.)

So, I’m not perfect at them. I don’t always get them done. But I do love them. And¬†even if I didn’t always get them done, I certainly got them done way way way way way way more than I do now.

And I had soooooo many I wanted to send this year. And did I? Nope.

Victoria from Safari Park… really, everyone from that basically month-long birthday extravaganza. Certain workout places… Just a bunch of people. And I didn’t do it.

I have a hard time now just keeping up with the responsibilities I have, that sometimes I struggle trying to do more. (There are many days I feel lucky to successfully brush my teeth)

I’ve missed friends birthdays because I’ve been so spacey. In some I haven’t missed, I’ve merely texted – because I haven’t felt emotionally okay enough that day to talk on the phone.

I’m the worst. And I hate it.

7) As a creative writer/performer/musical theater person

I wrote out this one (number 7), and these next ones and I didn’t even fill them all in, because as I said earlier, I can’t rely on myself.

8) A cultivator and lover of television

(I at least sort of filled this one in.) I love TV so much. I watch a bunch of it. I work in it! It’s my jam. And yet, I’m having issues even watching TV. I can’t watch sex scenes. They hurt to watch. It hurts to watch people touching. And people are always touching. Staying current on TV shows is the least of all my worries in the world. Still, I can’t even do that.

9) As a freaking strong person who doesn’t let anybody stop her. Ever.

Well, hopefully we all get the gist of what these next things are supposed to be (since as I said I can’t even rely on myself to put them all together).¬†

10) A confident-ish person.

10) As An Open, Loving, Non-Cynical, Emotions-On-Her-Sleeve, Happy-Go-Lucky Lady

11) As a Person Who Is So Totally Fine With Sex Stuff!

I think this one was mainly about how I don’t like to cry during sex. (It’s so weird!) And partially it’s about some other things I said earlier in this post – not liking to talk about sex (when usually it’d feel pretty normal), not enjoying walling myself off from TV.

And as with so much in my life nowadays – I’m starting out as strong/hard as I can and then by the end I don’t even know what I was doing, because I’m so distracted (among other negative things like sad and empty and such) that I can’t seem to successfully finish anything – even this post properly.

 

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?