Picking up from yesterday – to finally try to close all this out (foof!)…
I know sometimes some men are like “geez, I can’t even be nice to a woman anymore!” So I feel bad if it is confusing, and if I can’t put it into words. But to me it’s simple. If I know you respect me as a person, hold all the doors you want! Make breakfast for me. Buy stuff, whatever. I don’t care. Because I know you won’t scoff if I pay for dinner one time.
[Side note: I mean, seriously. You should’ve seen the way sexual assault guy looked at me like “why on earth would you get your wallet out?” It wasn’t in a cute way that made me feel good. It was in a controlling way as though it was offensive I would dare offer to pay for my share.]
I know you’ll “let me” wear my hat if I want to (which I realize is such a silly way of putting things, as nobody should ever have to “let” me wear a hat…)
In therapy, one of the worksheets I got has a whole bunch of traits of red flags to look for in abusive relationships. And it’s not that if someone has one of these traits that they’re an abuser; of course not. But it does help to kind of see when you question “am I making too much of all this?” and then you’re highlighting like 3/4 of the page. “Ah. No. I’m not crazy after all.”
One of the many traits in my worksheet was someone who had these *very* prescribed gender roles. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Again, that most certainly doesn’t make someone an abuser, but it’s all in the pile of the stuff that makes us confident that when you add aaaaaall of this up, this guy equals really super bad news.
Aaaaaaaanyway, back to the whole whole point I’ve been trying to make since the first post on this 3-part series – there are just all those types of moments from the plane, and me trying my best (with my literal notes I’d written out) trying to talk about the really egregious things he’d done, and so I had to kind of just skate past some sorta misogynistic or not cool things he’d say, and some gaslighting, and just all his usual stuff because I didn’t have time or energy to right every bad thing he was doing/saying. I felt I had to pick my battles. After all, if I called him out for every gross/bad thing he was doing even while we were talking, we’d never get past a small back and forth of like 5 sentences. So, I’m getting these tiiiiiny emotional stab wounds over and over, because I think at the time that it’s worth them, if it means I’m getting some bandages for my giant gashes. (The analogies are really not on point in this mini-series, are they?)
Anyway, while the plane was overall fine (or at least more fine than a lot of what he put me through), and was hopeful in certain ways, and was probably the best of my interactions with him after the assault… It still was exceptionally stressful. I still felt controlled. I still felt like I was walking on eggshells. He still was withholding “sexy” images he’d taken of me the morning of the assault (right before things took a turn for the worse) that he withheld not only for the 30 days of silence but even after that (but that’s a story for another day that ultimately may never be told – because again, if we go through every single thing we will never get to talk about anything else, and look at how much we’ve already talked about him!
Anyway, the plane was (even in spite of the some good things, or the trying to look on the positives)… it was weird and stressful and anxiety-inducing
And now, even though I’ve been on a plane a gajillion times, you would think I’d never flown before.
I often burst into tears – especially when I’m at JFK. And espeeeeecially when I fly into JFK. “I don’t really wanna be here. I don’t know how to be here. Aaaagh! New York.”
You would think I hadn’t sit at Laguardia with one of the most important people in my whole life after my BMI audition and buy an I [heart] NYC mug to commemorate what a super special trip it had been.
You would think I hadn’t taken an adorable trip(s) to New York with a million funny moments and good memories with someone I super super wildly close to in high school – having flown in and out of Laguardia and JFK.
You would think I hadn’t flown alone and happy with a bajillion selfies on a million airlines when I was leaving LA – making sure to stretch before and after each flight and bring healthy snacks, and making all these “rules” for myself as to how to stay healthy flying every weekend because it was so important for me not to lose that part of myself.
You would think I hadn’t had other sweet plane moments not mentioned here.
You would think I hadn’t flown freaking Virgin America before. (I LOVE their safety video, and once upon a time a million years ago, I worked with a cool person in it. (#humblebrag?)
When sexual assault guy first suggested we fly together, I paid a lil’ extra for that option on Virgin where you can pay $25, or whatever it is, to have the option of waving the change fee later. I was like “There is a goooood chance I’m not gonna wanna fly with him. I gotta buy the opportunity to change this flight.”
I knew it would be a painful experience, but I figured I just needed the opportunity to try to talk things out and make ’em better. I just didn’t even think for a second that I would associate him with flying. I flew all the time. I wasn’t worried about flying being “ruined” for me.
But you would think I had never flown before (or that airports/airplanes weren’t one of my favorite things) based on just how antsy I feel (again, especially landing at JFK).
I am free of him. No one’s gonna fight with me over my own bag, or whether I wanna take the stairs – even though I still tense up, ready to argue at the bottom of stairs…
While I am free of him, you wouldn’t think it by my attitude. So many things so only tangentially about him seem to revolve around him now. And I’ll get into that (in my last post of this general series about this specific thing) tomorrow.