I wrote a post in this same vein not all that long ago – how when so much of society questions survivors and if what they went through was all “that bad,” and all of that… how in some ways (to me, at least) it almost feels weirdly sort of, kind of, counterproductive to be okay.
It feels productive to my life, of course. And I’m stoked about being more functional and okay. But for me, there has been this weird… I don’t know if it’s guilt, or what it is. But it just feels almost sort of like “what if it’s the wrong ‘message’, like, ‘eh, she’s okay. It obviously wasn’t that big of a deal.”
But you know what? I really wasn’t okay. At all. I was barely functional. I’m freaking lucky I was even able to keep my job. I felt almost afraid of New York City itself – which you can tell by the sharp increase of uber rides after it happened, and also the pounds I gained from never walking around anywhere or going to gym classes where I’d have to *gasp* interact with other humans.
Some friendships were ruined because I couldn’t handle acting like a freaking normal human being and having normal human interactions. My life was completely and utterly turned upside down in every single way. And I was reeeeeeeeeeally not okay.
But… what? I’m gonna be not okay forever? To what? Teach some random people somewhere in the world (who quite honestly won’t ever give a second thought to me after they judge my twitter, or blog, or whatever they’re reading) some kind of “lesson” they’re not even learning anyway?
I used to not have the choice to be okay. I could not say that “I’m choosing to be okay now,” because it wasn’t an actual choice I could make. I had a true mental illness (PTSD) that kept me up with nightmares all the time, that sometimes made me jump if I was touched even a little, that made it so I could not concentrate on anything at all, and on and on.
I had to learn about my brain, and the effects of what happened, and coping tools. (I did a lot of therapy! And read some books and all of that.)
And now, for the most part, I am in a place where I can finally choose to be okay most of the time. it doesn’t mean I’ll never get triggered, or I’ll have never have nightmares or days where I need a little space… But for the most part, I am in a healthy place, and for the most part, I have tools to deal with the days that I’m not.
And that’s such an amazing, wonderful, fantastic thing! I should be celebrating that 100% of the time, instead of ever wondering what that “looks” like.
And recently, I’ve been way more worried than I have been this whole year, about running in to sexual assault guy again. That sorta makes sense. I’m getting ready to re-start school at the place where I met him. But to my knowledge, I don’t expect him to be there. He could be! I don’t really know. I don’t have all of the information. But I don’t think he is supposed to be. So, I should be fine.
And, I would think, “Oh, I’m sure he doesn’t care about me or what I’m up to anyway.” But I don’t know that that is fully true… He used to love to revel in it when something not great would happen to a woman he’d hurt in the past – his ex, the other woman he assaulted, etc… He loved to see them not happy. To my knowledge, he never really sought them out. He’s very big into cutting those people out. But if he heard about them from someone else, or ran across someone who said something about them that wasn’t great, he seemed to looove hearing that. So, it’s not crazy to think he’d care at least a little about what I’m up to.
Of course, knowing that about him, that should maybe make me wanna be doing so well that I don’t play into that hand – the one in which he’d be stoked about my stress and failures and sadness. Maybe I should want to be doing fantastically around him.
But then there’s also a weird part of me that thinks that if he sees that I’m okay, he’ll think what he did wasn’t wrong, and/or didn’t affect me deeply. “Oh, she’s fine. It was just a weird time we had with a little miscommunication [barf], but things are fine now.” I don’t want him to think things are “fine” ever, as far as what he did, because there was nothing about it that was normal. And it’s really not fine.
But if I was still not okay, and still being sullen and lonely and sitting in the back of the room, and trying to hide from the world, I also don’t think that would make him think for a second about his actions, or that maybe he affected my life in a negative way.
As with everything with him, there is no winning. If you’re happy, he’s not a bad guy. If you’re not happy, it has nothing to do with him. Or at least these seem like giant possibilities since the one thing I remember most about half being with him was if you just exist, no matter how you do it, you’re doing it wrong.
The great, wonderful part of not even like sorta half being with him anymore, is that I don’t have to be controlled by him anymore. I can live however I want.
And he’ll think whatever he wants, or comment whatever he wants on it. But I have to somehow find a way to stop worrying about him. It is so incredible and amazing that I don’t have to worry about making him angry anymore! (That’s freaking freeing!) Sooooo… I should stop worrying about it.
If I do see him, I don’t actually know that I will be “okay” in his presence. The last time I accidentally saw a picture of him (because a mutual friend posted a group shot he was in and I ran across it), I cried and cried and felt like vomiting. (I thought of it as a win that I didn’t actually vomit that time, though!) So, if I do run into him, no matter what my “plan” is of how I want to “seem,” it might just be whatever happens…
I think ultimately though, I have fought so hard (so very very very very hard to be okay) that I want to embrace every single moment of okay-ness that I can ever have – no matter what anyone (sexual assault guy or anyone else) thinks about it.