Picking up from yesterday –
I quit because of sexual assault guy.
I said in my BMI story that I sent a co-moderator of my class an email asking what to do as I was struggling so much I basically felt like I was drowning.
I sent it on March 11th (late at night).
I could’ve sent it after my comedy song was a bust – a song which was performed on February 1st, almost 6 weeks earlier. But I didn’t. Because while I might’ve felt that that I didn’t totally know how to come back from that, I was not actually giving up until someone dragged me out (which I think is basically what I put in that post)… Or, until, well, this whole mess you’ve been reading about.
I don’t think there’s any level a song could’ve bombed that would’ve made me send that email. I remember the first day of BMI – the talk we got. I knew we weren’t supposed to reach out because of differences with collaborators – we were supposed to figure them out. I knew we were supposed to tough it through, and on and on, no matter what happened. (They didn’t want to hear about collaborator fights.) There was no bad performance, no bad song, no bad collaboration – nothing within the normal confines of school that I can possibly have imagined that would’ve been so bad that I would’ve felt comfortable sending that email.
Instead, I kept fighting through.
February 21st happened – the day of the second assault.
I went to class on the 22nd – still thinking at the time that it was just a bad misunderstanding for which he’d apologize and everything would be fine… I was so sure that after time passed, and that guy and I had the opportunity to sit and calmly talk about what happened, outside of that crazy time in the morning when everything seemed to get so awful so quickly and tensions were kinda high – that things would be okay. But early the next day I got that eviscerating email.
“Okay… Well… After he takes a hot second to cool down, we’ll talk and things will be okay,” I still thought (or at least desperately hoped). (It’s like I’m freaking Homer Simpson with that pig. “It’s just a little airborne! It’s still good. It’s still good!”)
Anyway, that was a crazy week – my first day as an editor, and practically feeling like I was gonna have a meltdown from all this (and some craziness at work that we never talked about here – you’re gonna have to take me to Denny’s if you want that part), and then getting the pep talk to end all pep talks from someone I really admired, as it felt like my life was falling apart. So, the week moved forward. And I somehow survived the next class. (That pep talk really made me re-think how to re-tackle BMI.)
Yet, even after another week of class, still no talk with sexual assault guy. Tension was building, but I’ll be okay. I mean, hey, the following weekend, I got to go home! 🙂
So, the weekend of March 5, I was in LA, baby! I had a paid acting gig, I did a stand-up set, and even got to have sex with someone I had a long history with (and missed dearly), and was so thankful to be with – the first time I had sex after that second assault. (So, we knocked that really important thing out! But that’s for a different post on a different day.)
Anyway. So… I’m working. I’m performing. I’m having some healthy fun sex again, maybe. Everything is better now, right?
Wrong. I get back to New York, and even if I got to escape for the weekend, nothing has been resolved here. I go to class again. I can’t concentrate. I’m sitting in the back, writing reasons I’m thankful for my life. That’s gotta help, right? Maybe? *sigh* Who knows?
And of course at some point on that class day (whether it’s before, during, or after my class since I’m still trying to keep his identity safe here), of course I see the face of that man. And it’s… I mean, traumatizing is a dramatic but potentially correct word – I was feeling traumatized a lot in that time period…
And during that week, after my class, tension continues to build. And this fight/uncomfortable-ness/traumatizing event/everything that I hoped was all just going to be one big awful misunderstanding that I thought was going to blow over in the matter of a few days – it doesn’t go away or feel any better. Sexual assault guy is still giving me the silent treatment. And I am still crying myself to sleep each night.
And as the weekend draws nearer (and so does class), and I still can’t sleep, and I had that super weird half-interaction with the guy in the midst of trying to figure out how to make a “comeback” at BMI, and he’s still super mad, I just can no longer take this overbearing stress/trauma. (I’m sorry for potentially overusing the word “trauma.” I just don’t know how to get across how serious and how overbearing and how awful these few weeks were – seeing him while I was still having nightmares, not being “allowed” to talk to him because he’s mad at me, feeling like I have to make things right even though I’ve been really, really wronged…. All of that business.)
I hate how “dramatic” it sounds. But it was awful, and I’m unsure how to totally get that across… Anyway, back to the that time –
I’m feeling very pushed out of BMI. I’m exceptionally tired and broken down, exhausted, stressed. I’m even dealing with some PTSD-type symptoms (even if I don’t quite yet, at the time, realize how serious this all really is, and that it’s time for help and therapy and such).
I do not know what else to do at this point. I am (figuratively) very much drowning. So, I finally reach out for some base level help (just at BMI, not thinking about the bigger picture of therapy and all that jazz).
I reach out to one of the co-moderators in the most innocuous way I can. ‘Cause I don’t want to start “drama.” And I don’t want to get in “trouble.” So, I write an email just focusing on how I’m obviously struggling in class (which I am). And the co-moderator writes back being helpful, giving me an option to quit, and saying we can talk about it in person.
And the next BMI thing I went to was the one where the room was practically overflowing with people (it was so full, it was obviously more than just my class for those keeping score at home), and I ended up sitting next to sexual assault dude because I came late from work and there was literally (and I mean that in the actual definition, not the version of literally that means figuratively) no other place to sit anywhere in sight. (Of course.)
And even though that interaction was “fine,” and he was shockingly nice for someone who’d been so staunchly adamant that I do not speak to him… It was *exceptionally* stressful.
Yet again, I had the hardest time concentrating on what was going on in the room or who was talking about what. I just like felt his energy next to me. Was he mad? Was he going to yell at me later? Plus, just a general uncomfortability in that the last time I’d been that close to him, he was climbing on top of me while I had tears in my eyes – completely ignoring me when I told him (out loud) that I was crying because he made me uncomfortable.
And weirdly enough, even though the situation was actually “fine,” and we made small talk afterward and everybody survived, having to sit by him at a BMI event was actually sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. And that, serendipitously, was the night I got to talk to the co-moderator of my class about quitting.
And I (kinda) knew I needed to quit indeed.
Of course I still had hopes that ultimately things would get “resolved” between me and sexual assault guy. And I worked at that for months (unfortunately, as you know). But separating it from BMI was helpful for me. Getting out of a situation where I often had to see him in exchange for going on our timetable (and feeling at least slightly freer of having to see him) was important and necessary – even if it was kind of crummy to feel like my only option out was quitting BMI.
But, BMI as an institution was as nice about it as they could be (even when they had no idea about everything that was going on – they just knew I was struggling, and they were still kind and understanding).
And this is where I’ll pick up after we talk about the New Orleans race weekend 🙂