Anything, everything, all of it goes in that blank. If I did it with him, and you saw me do it now, you would think I’d never done it before.
Funnily (or I don’t know how truly funny any of this is, but sure, let’s go with funnily) enough, after that first offense, when I was waiting for him to leave my apartment, he said something about taking me to do some NY thing. And because I knew he was an overpromiser and it would never happen, I just kinda did a little smile/nod/slight laugh, while thinking in my head I could never let him take you to a New York thing. Do not let him ruin anything for you.”
If my gut was so strongly against him taking me to do any “New York” thing, I should’ve known. I should’ve known that it was all more serious that I was allowing it to be, and that I really could have and should have gotten out. [As the Whoopi Goldberg gif says, “you in Danger, girl!”]
But I thought I was doing enough to kind of protect myself. I thought if I kept him kinda separate from “being introduced to NY” or whatever that I’d be okay.
[Side note: Basically every time you hear a story of us having a meal, it’s at the same brunch place. I don’t know if he ever noticed, but in my head, I was like “we’ve already been here. Let’s control the damage.”]
But little did I know how ultimately far reaching it all would be.
I mentioned in the last 3 days how I’ve been to airports a million times. I didn’t think flying with him would be a big deal – that wasn’t a new experience. That wasn’t him bringing me into a new world. And yet, I’m sobbing every time I touch down at JFK. And it’s not just flying…
You would think I’d never been to a musical before. And we never even went to a musical together!!! But because we both were involved at BMI, and we both talked about musicals a fair amount – even though he’s no longer trying to “explain” musical theater to me [eyes roll so far back in my head they hurt] it doesn’t stop me from walking by the doors of a theater and just continuing to walk on by, ’cause it’s like “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to be condescended to anymore.” Like he is not even there anymore! I can go and not have to hear it! But there is like a presence of him that I can’t escape… [There’s also just that idea that I can’t even handle stories or people touching or anything right now. It is a mess. I am a mess.]
You also would think I had never seen snow before I met him. I WENT TO COLLEGE IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Do you think I’ve never been through a blizzard before? Do you think I’ve never danced in snow, avoided snow, fallen over in snow, made snow angeles, bought a trillion different layers to do with snow, gotten snowed in – anything that has to do with snow, don’t you think I’ve done it?
And yet, because the nickname of the first time I went over (and basically the *only* time I even got to feel *kind of* comfortable around him) was blizzard weekend, if it snows, I am all anxious and jittery.
I’ve even had a romantic snow thing! Not that you neeeeed all the details of my life. But that man I looove and adore in California? He’s from a cold place. And we had a very magical “snow day” once. (Yeah, that’s right. It had a nickname too, well before blizzard weekend!)
You’d think I’d never had breakfast before because he made me freaking waffles – like I haven’t flipped my lid with excitement over “make-your-own-waffles” in hotel continental breakfasts (especially when it has special shapes!).
You’d think I’d never even texted before! If I have to write someone a long text – even if it’s not because of a fight or something bad… Maybe I’m just giving specific instructions for something, my breath still starts to get short because it reminded me of some of the incredibly stressful text interactions I had with him.
All of this goes from the big things all the way down to the small. If it has *anything* to do with sexual assault guy, I’m like “ugh, I’d rather just not.”
[Edited to add: I didn’t realize how much of a super real and big problem this was until a friend of mine was asking me aaaaall about New York and places I’d been and things I do and everything and I met almost every one with “oh, I don’t do that. Oh, I don’t go to that neighborhood. Oh, I don’t wear that dress anymore… [and on and on and on and on]” And it all stemmed from sexual assault guy! I mean, I knew it was a problem. But I didn’t know it was *quite* this much of a problem.]
Interactions with certain people, things, places – all these random things now feel like I’m climbing Mt. Rushmore. (Is that a mountain people climb? I dunno? K2? How about that?)
I feel like an alien. I had no idea how many parts of my life were affected by sexual assault guy, and I hate feeling it in so many moments of so many days. You would think I’d never done basically anything before!
And it is so exhausting. It’s like learning to walk a second time. Nearly every single thing that felt normal just feels so off, and that’s not a fun space of life to live in.