I love it when people say they think I’m resilient. It boosts my confidence, and it’s pretty rad and all. So, thank you, to anyone who’s ever thought it…
But, because some people think that about me, it has seemed like a surprise (a pretty big surprise) to some people (including me, really) that this sexual assault experience would affect me so much.
But life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Do you think it’s possible that no matter how resilient you are, if you keep getting pelted with different things from life that it’s eventually gonna hurt?
Over a decade of physical abuse as just a little child, having a very serious heart condition that derailed my life and involved lots of time in the hospital, being home-insecure and bordering on homelessness when I was first starting in my career, moving a tra-jillion times, changing jobs a whole bunch of time (as a freelancer), even other sexual assaults – being raped before (in college), and having my genitals grabbed on the subway. I’m sure we could add even more to this list, but you get the gist.
I think you could say, “Dang. You’ve been through so much, everything should roll off your back now.” But I also think it’s possible that it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I can never actually rest or breathe easy or just be safe. Ever. Even when I finally reach the point where I think I finally will, somebody comes along and takes that safety away. And that’s a lot.”
I don’t want a pity parade. It just is what it is. I have had tons of privilege, and we could make a giant list of all the good. But it doesn’t take away some really stressful, and some traumatic experiences. And I think to some extent, it’s possible that they all kind of started to catch up with me – especially once I had thought I’d found the key to ending them for good with a dream school and a stable job/income, and complete independence…
Also, not only do we have to take my whole life into account, we should take into account what was happening at the time.
It was a very stressful time. Between trying to handle my new job – that was being created for me, so there was a lot of figuring out to do there, and my new school (with assignments and such), and moving all the way across the country, and saying goodbye to people I really cared for in California, and just all of this… It was like I was rollerblading and then someone handed me things to juggle, and then they set those things on fire, and then they put me on a moving surface…
Everything is handle-able on its own, together it’s a lot. Still maybe handleable, but oof, is it hard.
But then, somebody shoves you, and you fall.
If you fell just doing any one of those things, you might be able to dust yourself off like normal. When you fall doing all of them together, you’ve broken your leg and you’re on fire and you’re bleeding from one of your juggling apparati. You’re in trouble.
So, that’s the best explanation I have for why I think I was so affected.
I don’t know. I’m not a professional, and brains are never 100% clear even to professional brain people. Humans are complicated and confusing. But it’s the best answer I got.