Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Picking up from last time –

So, things are overall getting better… but they’re still not great.

I still don’t take the subway alone. That doesn’t even necessarily make any logical sense. Nothing happened to me on the subway. I used to take the subway alone just fine when I first moved (when I’d go from The Nightly Show to BMI).

But there’s something about – I don’t know if it’s about feeling overwhelmed, or if it’s about the fact that he and I would often take the subway together in the few weeks I spent sleeping with him, and it always made me pretty antsy just being around him in public (even when things were fine-ish). There was something about it – I’m sure not worth getting into now, but I would be really uncomfortable. And I was going to ask if we could start laying out some guidelines – such as me always leaving first because I do not like to ride the subway together… But I never got that far because the terrible thing happened. And if what I really wanted was to ride the subway alone, fantastic! But I don’t know, there’s something about it that just feels… I never used claustrophobic. I loved tight spaces. I loved the subway. But there’s just something about people and tight spaces and whatever. I can’t (or at least don’t) do it right now…

I often don’t go out and about in Times Square. Like, I had vegetables from, I dunno, maybe like 4 blocks away delivered to me the other day. I could’ve gotten my own vegetables. But I didn’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m living like freaking Howard Hughes or something because it’s like, “Well, I can’t go outside.”

He goes to theater a lot and spends a lot of time in Times Square. Maybe I would see him. Maybe I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t die from seeing him, even if it happened – which hopefully it probably wouldn’t. But I dunno… I get stuff delivered a lot like I’m a little hermit. And while I appreciate the convenience, it still makes me sad.

My health is – I dunno what’s going on with my health, really. I feel grosser than usual, and I’ve definitely gained a little weight (again, there will for SURE be a gigantic post about this). I know my resting heart rate is higher – still only around like 63, and I know that’s not high, but for a girl who had to have the alarm specially set in the hospital because her heart rate was so low, it doesn’t feel good or fun…

I’m not doing a tremendous job of tracking my physical health through this. It’s fluctuating up and down in every way (not just weight). So, it’s hard to say if that’s better or worse.

I haven’t seen a Broadway show since I moved into my new place. This is one of the things that upsets me the most. I’m actually crying as I type this (of course).

I live in Times. Square.

It has been my dream to live there forever. And now I do.

I can walk to any Broadway show within a matter of just a couple of minutes! My younger self would be soooooooooooooo jealous.

When I did summer camp at Juilliard as a teenager, I went to a show every. single. night.

I was like, “I’m here in New York! I live in the Juilliard dorms! I can walk to Times Square!” And I was filling up that whole back of the playbill that asks what you’ve seen. I wanted to spend any available time in New York seeing shows because I loooooved musical theater. (Why do you think I wanted to go to BMI?)

And I haven’t been able to do it.

I don’t know if it’s because he was always trying to tell me about musical theater, or if it’s because that’s how I met him, or if it’s because it is devastating to me that I’m not at BMI, or if it’s because so many musicals have love stories and like I just can’t even watch a courting process (that sounds like such a weird phrase, but I think it makes sense), because I just can’t – that’s now associated with abuse for me, in this moment. I can’t.

So, I don’t know if it’s a piece of that or all of that or something I’m not even thinking of. But I practically ignore the fact that I live smack in the heart of Broadway. And I. don’t. even. go.

Excuse me while I sob about that.

Anyway, even with that, overall, things are better. But there are most definitely things I’m still missing, and things that even if they’re there, I need to improve upon. Like, we have not hit “normal Aurora,” but the trajectory does seem to be going upward… And now, I can get to that post I wanted to do yesterday :)…

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

*Rolls eyes at self*

Oh my goodness gracious. Another (ANOTHER?!) post about sexual assault assault (?!) Geez to goodness. I know it’s what’s going on in my life. And I know it’s a big deal in the world. And I also know that if people are reading my blog, they’ve come here to hear about whatever’s going on in my life, specifically. I’m not like interrupting their normal Facebook feed or something. It’s like, you subscribed, buddy!” So, I know I can talk about it as much as I want.

But like, is this gonna be the only thing we talk about from now until eternity?

I don’t really know… I hope to goodness not, right? Oof.

Anyway, what I do know is that I’m tangenting like crazy, and I haven’t even really started the post.

So…

There’s a post I want to post soon (which I’m sure I will), where I talk about getting “better, better, worse”). But before I do that, I want to do a post about where I am right now.

It is undeniable that I am better than I was at the beginning. Like, you can see it in real and tangible ways.

I haven’t cried during sex probably since… November? I’m pretty sure November was the last time. So, 3 whole months of not crying during sex! I know that in real life that’s just completely and utterly normal – but that’s the goal, is it not? To go back to completely and utterly normal?

So, does 3 months mean things are “officially” normal? For good? Forever? I’ll never ever ever cry during sex ever again? I don’t know. But that is definitely a step in the right direction. I remember the poor poor guy who was sleeping with me in like April and May. I literally do not think we tried to have sex a single time in my apartment in which I did not cry at some point. And he was patient and lovely and it was so nice. But goodness gracious.

So, that’s a step in the right direction for sure.

I cry way less during work. I used to cry probably every day at The Nightly Show. I had the perfect job with the perfect people. It was 100% a dream come true. I looooved that place.

And I cried most days there after being sexually assaulted. I’d have to call a helpline sometimes between working with producers – not because the producers did anything wrong (anything!), or anything even close to wrong. No one at The Nightly Show ever did anything to make me uncomfortable by even a millimeter. Everyone there is perfect and I loved the shoe and everyone there. But there was something about just being around people. I was just nervous. It just – being around people, being relied on – it went from something I loved and cherished and needed to something that was overwhelming and scary and I don’t know.

And in a lot of editing jobs, you could probably go days without seeing another human if you really wanted to. But on this one, it did not work like that.

And on the one hand, I’m so thankful that I was in a position where I couldn’t quit my job or take extended time off. I had to be around people. I had to keep leaving the apartment. But I cried, I think everyday. So, yeah, as I was saying before I interrupted myself – I used to call a helpline multiple times a week just to help me breathe in my office and get through the day…

I don’t believe I’ve ever called a helpline at my new job (that I’ve had since October). In fact, the only time(s) I’ve called it at all that I can remember in the past few months is I called twice around the time of the two anniversaries. I was like, “It’s the anniversary. I try not to ever call anymore because I have a therapist now, and I don’t want to waste resources and I’m so sorry. I just – I can’t breathe, and I just – I don’t know what to do.” I was just feeling so so desperate. And I was helped. And it was nice. But I really try not to call anymore (and I so so so rarely feel that bad that I would even consider maybe needing to). So, that’s gone down from a near-daily experience sometimes to a not even monthly (and hopefully going toward even less than that and/or never)…

So, that’s pretty great.

I have been able to go out with my friends more often more successfully. There was a period where I didn’t really see anybody. (I’m gonna link here later to a post about this – I have some posts in the queue I need to publish still). But I had a hard time seeing people for a while… And I’m still not awesome or perfect at seeing people, but I am 100% getting better. I have a handful of experiences I can point to in the past few months of going out with friends, enjoying myself, not talking about sexual assault, and being present. It does not happen all the time, or even every week… But it has happened. It has happened more than once, even. It is happening.

And since this post is getting long, I’ll finish out here tomorrow.

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

We can (and have and will) talk about sex and consent and everything on this blog, but today, I’m talking about consent in a way that has nothing to do with sex. Will you talk about this with me? ๐Ÿ™‚

Not all that long ago, I was watching a television show in which a woman was giving birth. And she’s yelling at people not to touch her. And someone goes in all “sweetly” grabbing her hand. ‘I’ve got you. I’ve got you.’ ‘Let me GO!’ The pregnant woman is making it so clear she does NOT want someone holding her hands, but even with two rounds of that, the person very “sweetly” insists, ‘I will not let you go.’

And it is played as a very “sweet” moment. There’s no talk about it afterward. There’s no embarrassment or shame on the part of the person who didn’t listen. No. They’re a saint, it seems.

And as I was watching the show, I was screaming in my head, “STOP TOUCHING HER! DON’T TOUCH HER! SHE’S MAKING IT SO CLEAR SHE DOESN’T WANT TO BE TOUCHED. (AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHH)”

But I also realized that I have seen so many scenes along these lines growing up, and I never even batted an eyelash. As far as I could tell, that behavior was sweet. That’s what I grew up thinking.

You know? I think a lot of us are taught to think that someone in distress like that is being “crazy” or “too emotional” or whatever. Whereas really, a woman giving birth is going through something incredibly tough and needs actual support – in getting what she actually asks for.

Yes, I’m sure there are some – very, very, very few – scenarios where you must go against someone’s immediate wishes in order to help them. If someone is in a horrific car accident and they’re brought into the hospital and they don’t know what’s going on, and they try to swat a hand away from someone in the midst of saving their life, then yeah, that doctor should probably keep touching them (while explaining what’s going on), because, you know… Life hanging in the balance and all.

But if a pregnant person doesn’t want to be touched, a scared person, a crying person… It doesn’t matter how “sweet” we’re trying to be or how much we think that person might “need” to be touched. Don’t touch them!

I feel like society has been talking a lot-ish about rom-coms and how we are starting to indeed see the bad messages those are sending. But what about these messages of consent in completely non-sexual situations like these?

I feel like a generally preeeeeetty empathetic or even slightly “woke”-ish person if you will, and if I never saw even a spec of a problem in scenes like these, how can I expect other people to? How can I expect the world to change?

Why didn’t I noticed this before? Did this affect how I treated people, or if I made them uncomfortable? I hope to goodness not. But if my brain has been in the wrong place for twenty-something years, how can I know? (I do know I’ve never held the hand of a pregnant person. So, at least I have that, I suppose.)

I am just bewildered in how I used to see the world vs. how I see it now. And I dunno what else to say to end this. So, bye ’til tomorrow!

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Picking up from yesterday –

I love the people who are there for me. And I soooo appreciate the gracious empathy of people trying to understand. But even some of the people who are trying to understand are making the same mistake as I am. They’ll compare what’s going on to a crunchy goodbye.

For instance, someone said something along the lines of, “I know how hard it was after my break-up to even go to our favorite restaurant alone. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you.”

And again, I so appreciate that empathy. And I so appreciate them making the comment insinuating sexual assault is at least on a grander scale. And I don’t ever in 1,000 years wanna shut down or attack someone for feeling empathy and being kind and understanding…

But this is just not really like that

It’s like that in the sense that the sight of him makes my stomach churn, so I don’t wanna see him… Just as someone might not want to see someone they’d been with before…

It’s like that in the sense that a lot of things make me think of him and reminders are painful… But they’re painful in a different way. It’s not like, “Oh, I miss him. It’s sad to think about this.” It’s like a triggering thing sometimes. And for me, it’s this idea of, “If I’d never gotten involved around him, I might feel comfortable around men still. I might not have crying spells. I wouldn’t have to spend all this time in therapy and make various concessions about my time and money and schedule.” And on and on.

And I’m not in any way trying to diminish anyone’s pain about a crunchy goodbye. I don’t wanna take anything away from people’s horrific “breakup” stories. I’m not trying to say, “Well, if you weren’t assaulted, you don’t get to complain.” Of course you do! A) I’m not the boss of you. B) I know all your feelings are valid. Your pain may be different, but of course it’s still valid and real. So, please, complain and feel all the feelings.

And while I believe that’s true, I also think we need to stop comparing fallouts or “breakups” (if you will) after assaults to “normal breakups”. It’s like we’re comparing being the victim of a traumatic crime to heartbreak – and it’s not that.

Both are hurtful. But they’re not the same kind of hurt. So, we can’t treat them the same.

The feelings aren’t the same. The intensity of the feelings aren’t the same (to me). The timetable isn’t the same (for me, at least). The way I deal with it isn’t the same. And that’s okay.

And I’m sure I will possibly make this same mistake and fall back into this rut again, because they seem so comparable in various ways. But they’re not reeeeeeeally.

I think I need to learn that however I choose to heal from my assault, and however I choose to deal with it, it’s not going to look like any of my crunchy goodbyes. And it probably shouldn’t. And that’s okay.

They’re two different things, and it’s important that I treat them as such.

(And I appreciate you here reading, being on this journey with me, as I try to figure all this craziness out.)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Kind of piggybacking off yesterday –

Sometimes I compare the fallout from my assault to a breakup (’cause there are some similar things – someone you cared about hurt you, you’re not sleeping together anymore, etc.), and I think things like, “Well, this is how I moved past this or that breakup or whatever… Why can’t I just do that?”

I think about it in terms of normal closure, and how you’d normally think about/treat someone with whom you used to be involved in any type of romantic and/or sexual capacity.

But that’s a) not the right way to think about it, and b) sometimes drives me a little crazy. Because I do not feel the same way about these circumstances or this man as I have about any break-up. In fact, my skin is crawling using the words “break-up” in this post. (We need a new word, for sure, for me to use.)
‘Cause take sexual assault guy out of the equation and I’m like, “Oh, but ‘breakup’ sounds so harsh!”

I don’t really view things as “breakups,” so much as kind of like, “A person and I are not together in the same capacity for one reason or another.” Breakup just sounds too mean to me (personally) for some reason.

There is not a man I can think ofย (again, aside from sexual assault guy) with whom I’ve had even the most quasi-romatntic relationship (or even a friend I slept with a time or two or whatever, or quite honestly even a one-night stand if we remember each other), for whom I wouldn’t be happy to have lunch with or something.

I cared about those men before and I still care about them now… Of course, maybe in a different capacity now. And, of course there are a couple instances where it’s like “Oof! This really was so not the right fit.” So, we might not keep in touch, or be active friends.
There’s maybe even a guy or a few out there who wouldn’t want to talk to me for one reason or another (even if I wouldn’t mind talking to them).
(…I know it’s gonna blow your mind to think this about me, but I’m not perfect. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, maybe not everybody wants to stay my friend always and forever.)

But there is no one I can think of, whom I’ve slept with (of course – asterisk – who didn’t sexually assault me), with whom I wouldn’t be more than happy to at the very least make small talk with at a party (and some I’d be happy to spend a week with!).

And that’s part of what’s so hard for me. I’m like, “Dang! ‘breakups’ are not supposed to deeply hurt this much; or make me feel this crazy, or on edge, or disassociated (and on an on); or be literally traumatic to where I cried during sex, or get literally ill at the sight of the person’s face, and/or seeing him in a specific nightmare or some such…

I know it can be uncomfortable to see someone in certain timetables or at certain events after a – what’s the new word we’re gonna use – can we, for the time being, just start calling breakups “crunchy goodbyes”? ‘Cause that sounds uncomfortable, but not mean…

Anyway, I’m not gonna act like every crunchy goodbye is heaven or that I haven’t had an awkward run in with a former mate. I’m human. I’ve had weird awkward run-ins in the stage where we’re not 100% ready to see each other quite yet.

But nothing – none – not one of my crunchy goodbyes has ever felt quite like this (in large part because that’s not really what this is…).

And yet, I’m trying to put getting over this crime into this same box as getting over a relationship.

And it’s really not helpful for me to do that.

And I have a few more thoughts on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

First off, I want to say I think I’m probably one of the biggest offenders when it comes to this. In this very blog, I think I’ve talked about my assault as a relationship problem in one way or another, (and I very well may again)…

Even in real time as it happened and the aftermath unfolded, I treated it like a relationship problem (with him)…

“Oh, I made you mad too, for a completely unrelated much much less serious things that falls within the confines of normal relationship ups and downs? Well, please, let’s address that first. Let me be super nice to you and give you all the benefits of all the doubts possible.
Let me handle this like I would any other fight – bringing up all the good stuff you do on either side of my grievance to keep things in the headspace of ‘I appreciate so much, but this really hurt me.’… Let me try like crazy to see your side and act like there’s blame to go around”…

(And on and on and on.)

Obviously, in any normal relationship spat, you of course would step up and take part of the blame for something – maybe before the other person even apologized. You, of course, would try to figure out where you were at fault and where you could be better. You would apologize. You would see the other person’s side…

But here’s the thing.

Half of female victims are raped by their intimate partner (according to this data from the CDC). (HALF)

In addition to that, statistically, people raped by their intimate partners have more issues (with work/school/their lives) than people raped by strangers (though that’s still obviously a completely horrific crime).

Half of the time this crime is committed against women, it’s by an intimate partner. So, it’s really important that we realize rape is a crime that can occur in a relationship. But it is not a random relationship problem that we treat as a normal squabble. It’s a crime that half of the time it’s committed happens to be committed in a relationship.

In its super most basic form, it’s like how a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square. Rape is aaaaalways a crime. Rape in a relationship is a crime. But rape doesn’t always come with the added layer of knowing the person or sandwiched between things that actually might be normal relationship squabbles.

And certainly, if it’s done by an intimate partner, that can bring some new issues that it might not with a stranger. And there can be some things about it that feel relationship-problem-adjacent, or like a weird funhouse-mirror version of something that kinda looks normal-ish (but isn’t).

But even taking that all into account, we can’t dismiss this as just a fight or misunderstanding between partners. We have to look at it as the crime for which it is.

And I’ll pick this up here tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Aurora before Divas TemeculaMy first Divas race! (Finally.)

I’ve been hearing about this race series since the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks. If you do 5 in a year, you get this “Supreme Diva” plaque. And I was like, “yeeeeeeah, I’m not gonna do some if I can’t do 5, because I might as well just get the plaque.”

And alas, now we are in a year where 5 makes sense. I was barely able to fit them all in the schedule with the various Rock ‘n’ Roll races I need to do, but exactly 5 can fit. (Although, now with the cancellation of Queretaro, I actually have 6 available Divas races available. Wiggle room. Cool.)

Anyway, I heard that if you’re gonna do a Divas race, you gotta do Temecula. Apparently it has the coolest medals and nicest swag. (As of now, it’s the only one I’ve done. So, I have nothing to compare it to. Ask me again in October.)

Originally, a friend was going to take me to Temecula, but he was called away on business. So, I posted in this random running Facebook group (that I recently found this year and love), asking if anyone was driving from LA to Temecula. And a sweet girl wrote me back, offering to drive. (Yaaaaay!)

I woke up around 2 am, and we ended up leaving around 3ish. (So. Early.)

You had to get there early to take a shuttle from the parking lot to the vineyard. They were pretty intense in the race instructions about getting there on an early shuttle to be sure you had time to get your packet (if you hadn’t picked it up the day before). So, we obliged.

We had a nice drive talking about future races and goals and all that fun stuff.

When we got our packets, everybody got race jackets (not the thin loud ones, but just like a zip-up warm thing), and pink light-up tutus.

As for the race itself, I was actually wondering how I could talk about it any differently than I did about the races I did in wine country from the 52 half marathons. ‘Cause it felt kind of the same – animals, quiet, scenery.

We had to walk over some wooden things that kept mud away from us, so it was nice those were down. That was something random and different about this race…

And that leads to talking about the weather – which leads to talking about losing my coat! And that’s what’s different about this – the race where I oh so irresponsibly lost my coat.

It rained like craaaaaazy in SoCal the day before this. A video was posted online about how outdoor steps at a parking garage had basically become a waterslide. Sinkholes were happening. It was crazy. People were saying they couldn’t even make it to packet pick-up. Driving seemed too dangerous (or maybe even a little impossible).

Weather forecasts called for all of that the next day too. It was supposed to rain during the whole race. So, I went in my full coat (as I did for the San Antonio Marathon in December – it poured there and that coat kept me going!).

But alas, it just kept not raining. It was so hot.

During the 5k, I whipped my coat off as I could not bear to wear it anymore. I ran across the street (in the lane where people were turning around), and hung it on a fence post – thinking that someday, when I get to that turnaround, I’ll just grab it.

Or not.

It was nowhere to be found at the end of the race. I asked the race people if they had any idea where it could be. I told them I was well aware it was my fault it was gone and I can’t expect to leave something and have it be there. But I was just hoping maybe since it was hung, not thrown, and since it was a big winter coat – just maybe it would be around?

Even if it had been picked up – I hoped maybe clothes wouldn’t have been taken in yet to whatever place they were donating them to… And I could rummage through whatever was there. But alas, my coat was nowhere to be found. So, that was a bummer. It had some stuff in the pocket that would’ve been nice to have (including a little cash and a credit card).

BUT, I’m the idiot who just left my coat there. I see how I could’ve been hopeful, maybe, since there was a turnaround… But, I also see how I was willing to take the gamble because I was so very hot (on this day that was supposed to be miserable with rain).

So, that covers it – ran through dirt, but around leftover mud, got a really cool medal, lost my coat (and the Divas staff was very nice and forgiving about it). Made a new friend randomly through social media.

After the race, we went and ate together. Then when I got home, I jumped in the hot tub and one my best friends in the world came by and joined me and we had dinner together.

California was so very beautiful and I really cannot wait to tell you all about it. But first…

After dinner, I went and got on a redeye. That’s right. I have a race tomorrow in Florida. So, it’s bedtime now!