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Everything posted by Capulet

  1. Dear @rosedust, Thank you so much for reaching out! While I'm so sorry to hear about your past and what you've been through at the hands of your father - and that you've had some similar reactions, it IS a small relief to know that I am truly not alone and that others have made the same type of mistakes. I am so, very glad to hear that you've got a supportive husband! He's right - you know...it does us no good to dwell on past mistakes - we cannot go back and correct them. What is done is done. We CAN, though, move forward with what we've learned from them and we CAN grow! It's important to keep the lines of communication open with those who truly love us (despite some excess baggage) and to remind ourselves that we certainly DO deserve their kindness, their support and their affections. We've had enough negativity - it's time to hold onto the healthy, the positive, everything that makes our hearts truly happy. I know it's tricky because so much of that negativity was so deeply ingrained in us, some of it for years! So it's not by a long shot easy to start believing that we deserve good things. But we do, I'm convinced of it. Absolutely any and all feedback is loved and appreciated. So, please, if anything else resonates, please don't be shy! We're all trying to figure stuff out. Plus, the company is great! Safe hugs, hoping you are having a great weekend. Cap
  2. *** This was also posted in the Aftermath section. It was a little bit longer than the standard length of most posts there but the message I hope to convey is a powerful one and I feel that it is more than just a post. I've copied/pasted it here because while it was meant to be a post, it's also another one of my famous 'cleanses' and certainly belongs here, too. *** This is likely going to turn out to be a long post. I apologize in advance. There's just an enormous amount of brain-clutter these days and the OCD person I am is trying to sort through some of it, organize it. Writing is simply my way of doing so. I also am still trying to debate whether this should be a blog entry as opposed to board pollution, but it may very well end up being both...the message is powerful regardless of where it's placed. I made the stupidest decision when I was 20 years old. A decision even more stupid, it sometimes seems, than those I made during my own personal mission to self-destruct. I will set a small timeline in order to better convey where I'm going with this. And in doing so, I dare not touch my suspicions of there being CSA in my childhood. I have tried to remember the details of that, but to no avail. I'm SURE it played a part, even a minuscule one, in my 'blueprint,' but without facts, I can't say for sure what stems from this and what doesn't. And so, I'm leaving that alone. Until the memories that have been repressed decide to resurface, this is not something that it's currently within my power to sift through, and so it's probably best to pull it out of the equation. So I will declare the rape I experienced at 17 years old to be the catalyst for the behavior that would soon follow. Shortly after the assault, I broke up with the first boyfriend I'd ever had. A GOOD guy. Very sweet, very kind. He hailed from a strictly devout Catholic family. We'd done nothing more than kissing and some over-the-clothes stuff. We were both virgins and we'd talked about marriage being the best time to 'give' this to each other. We HAD talked about marriage. We were kind of serious/kind of joking, in that teenage dream sort of way. It gave us something to talk about when being physical wasn't an option. But anyway - after that virginity was taken from me, I felt I had nothing left to offer him. Now, I know that's not the realistic way to look at it - I WAS still a virgin - I hadn't willingly given my virginity to another person. I hadn't given my consent. At the time, though, my brain was not allowing for me to think clearly. All I could think of was how HE felt about it being so sacred. I thought about how it'd be on our wedding night, should that ever become a reality...he'd probably know that he wasn't my first. As if and he'd be disappointed, angry, maybe? It wasn't something I wanted him to feel, nor was it something I wanted to explain as having happened to me, either. And, oh, God, what if he didn't BELIEVE me? And so, I sent him a lengthy e-mail and told him that I didn't love him, I didn't want to be together anymore. He pleaded, he cried, he begged, he told me he loved me and wasn't giving up that easily. But I was unrelenting. Mean at times. I cut him out. Completely. Eventually, he stopped emailing, writing letters, sending little presents. He was truly gone...along with the rest of whatever was good in my life - discarded. And for a long time, I blamed only myself while I grieved what could have been. I did love him. I did love the thought of him being the first person I had sex with. But that was gone now. Time went on...I'd say a few months crawled by. I signed up with AOL and began to frequent chat rooms, not looking for anything other than just to connect with someone. I couldn't do it in person; I was too awkward around other people. I wanted to be around SOMEONE, someone neutral, someone who didn't know me, someone who didn't know the girl I was before this monster....ruined me. So, while those who DID know me questioned these personality changes, (that I, almost too flawlessly dismissed as being 'busy' and dealing with 'college stress') I was looking for companionship with people who weren't so perceptive to these new differences. Really, though..there was an incredible void within, and I didn't know how to fill it. I was indeed isolating myself from people who cared about me - I withdrew socially, I stopped talking to life-long friends and eventually, they, too, followed suit. I'm not sure if that's a failure on my part or theirs - aren't friends supposed to pick up on these things???? - either way, it was just how the cookie crumbled. I fell apart, academically and JUST managed to pass my classes. Not sure if it was a pity-pass by the professors who probably noticed there was something wrong. Eventually, I did what I thought was the safest, most anonymous way of connecting-but-not-connecting and socialized online more than I did in reality. These people didn't know me. Although I WILL say that I wasn't dishonest about who I was. I was truthful about the important details - age, where I was from, etc. I just wasn't me anymore. These were strangers and I found it was easier to talk to people when there were no emotions attached. I was no longer the cautious, innocent, happy young lady I vaguely remember being. I was now '18/f in _____' and no one really wanted or cared about all the background information. It's just the hookup they wanted, sadly, and after a while, I began to (stupidly) arrange for some of these meetings. My "first" was a guy who lived a couple towns over. He was a year older than me. Didn't go to my college, which was a good thing, in hindsight. But we'd talked online first for a little while and then met in person. He, too, was hearing impaired, so there was a little MORE of a connection than I'd learn I was comfortable with at the time. I WAS attracted to him; he was very handsome. And he quickly became the first person I consented to. There was a brief, sloppy, clumsy encounter on the floor in his room, all of our clothing hadn't even been removed. As quickly as it started, it was over. And while this meant that I TRULY wasn't a virgin anymore, I can't help but feel like that didn't count, either - during this encounter, I felt absolutely nothing. No pain, no pleasure. Just...nothing. He WAS a looker, but I didn't love him, I felt dirty and ashamed afterwards, I'm sure a side-effect of being touched for the first time since...that guy. I ignored that feeling, though. If anything, I felt it was a replacement of sorts. A subpar experience to refer back to instead of the bad one that still plagued my dreams at night. He DID contact me a few days after I'd slept with him and said that he felt needed to be honest - he still had feelings for an old girlfriend and he was going to attempt to re-connect with her. He just would rather we remained friends. I graciously accepted that. I think, for me, I was only looking to feel something...I wasn't sure what. I was still having my bad days. Nightmares, flashbacks, things were triggering me left and right, I'd begun to self-injure. I continued to isolate from people I already knew. I stopped caring about the importance of the things that truly mattered. I was now fully emerged into a downward spiral. So when approached (electronically) by men (and women) wanting to meet for drinks or for dinner (which I knew meant sex and more sex) I usually obliged. I'd go, not expecting sex...maybe perhaps I'd be pleasantly surprised and someone actually wanted something of substance. It almost ALWAYS headed in the 'meaningless sex' direction, though. There was one-night-stand after one-night-stand. I began to sleep around, not because it was something I enjoyed, but because, little by little, it began to chip away at my self-worth and in order to feel something - ANYTHING, that's what I needed. Physically, these experiences were unsatisfying, sometimes painful. Sometimes they'd be courteous to ask if I was okay with having sex. Having once said no and not been listened to, I wasn't taking that chance again. And so I would say nothing in place of the 'no' that I SHOULD have been able to say and instead became a silent participant, even if it was just by way of pleasing THEM in ways they wanted to be pleased. That 'I'll do whatever you want, just don't hurt me' mentality was a constant - and rather than allow myself to be harmed, the submissive side of me would emerge and I'd find myself doing whatever necessary just to get through it. Eventually, there were more risky hookups...hookups that I am TRULY fortunate did not end badly for me. I allowed for a lot of things to be done TO me - without caring, without feeling, without fear. Numbness completely took over. I allowed for some pretty messed up things, things that PROBABLY could be described as borderline assault, but simply because I allowed these things, they were not. I want to say this is when I was at my lowest point. Secretly, I wondered if this would be the end - would one of them kill me when they were finished? Was I just not cut out for this cruel, unfair world and death was about to become a consequence? Would one of these guys do me a favor and just end it all for me? Was this what I was actually doing? Trying to kill myself? Obviously, that was not the case as today, I'm still alive. Okay, so here's what this post is REALLY about. I have a question for you all - a question that lately I've had to ask myself. Mostly because in some respect, I spend a lot of time trying to justify marrying an asshole. The temporary insanity argument just doesn't cut it as well as it used to - there's so much more behind it all. So, I met the wasband in the middle of all of this, shortly before turning 20. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend, though so from the start, it was different from previous 'hookups.' AND - he was a cop. I suspect that friend we shared knew that I needed some positivity in my life and while she didn't intend for us to become anything more than friends, she had hoped that he could help me straighten out my life and sort of re-route the direction I was headed in. She did tell me about him, too, before asking if it was okay to pass along my screen name. He was recently separated, he had two small children and he was a 'good' guy - and bonus! He was local. I met him online first. We chatted a few times before agreeing to meet for dinner. So at this point, my brain's like, here we go - here's the next one, this'll end just like all the rest of them... But then, it didn't. We went on several dates (dinner, movies, long walks...oh and there was TALKING! Imagine that!?) before he ASKED me if he could kiss me before I would go home for the night. I'm not sure what happened to my brain then, but something clicked. Where that 'do whatever you can to keep from getting hurt' went, I don't know. It wasn't there then. I did want to kiss him, yes, but there was also that fear of this turning into another hookup. For the first time, it felt significant, it felt safe. He wasn't pushing for sex. He was patient with me. It felt..not 'right,' but better than anything I'd ever felt before. So, my first thought then was to test him. And myself. I told him, "Not yet." He respected my boundaries and didn't ask again until our next date. I obliged this time and we shared our first kiss then. From there, he would ASK me before proceeding any further. We eventually (slowly) became more intimate - and were pregnant with my son four months later. The choice to marry was next - and I was quick to accept his marriage proposal. I didn't think about it. I said yes. But I have to admit to myself that it wasn't out of love. Shit, I didn't have enough TIME to learn how to love. It's such a complex feeling, one that requires TIME to develop. But, now there was a baby involved, now I'd met someone who made me feel that it was okay to leave all of the self-destructive urges behind and refocus on something far, FAR more important than ways to hurt myself. And now, I had more to look forward to, I was bringing a perfect little human being into the world and it was time to put such thoughts to rest. The transition from being a nothing more than a booty call or one-night-stand into someone's wife and mother, was sort of forced, but in a way, I think it's what I needed - I needed to be grounded, I needed to be forced into making this choice, even if I was the one to force myself. Otherwise, I really don't know where I'd be now. And so, I took what felt acceptable at the moment and went with it, regardless of the absence of the head-over-heels feeling that usually is the deciding factor in getting married...and so against my better judgement, I said yes to the dress. I think that for a while, it felt pretty great - I was beating myself at my own game, at life. It's because when we were just starting out, he allowed me to take control. And looking back, this is highly unusual for him - shortly after we were married, he seemingly evolved into an entirely different person and managed to seize any relinquished control back and became the aforementioned asshole. At first, it was usually the money and budget related, or kid-related, parenting fights. Then he would slowly bring up (and criticize) each and every one of my past flaws - possibly due to my still having some lasting, left over, under-the-surface issues despite his 'rescue' efforts. I think that once I took his last name, he'd assumed that my name wouldn't be the only thing to change. He had expectations that being married would somehow "fix" or diminish anything bad that had happened in my life. I'd attempt to reach out and discuss things that still bothered me. At first, he would listen. Then slowly, he began to become increasingly 'tired' of hearing it and eventually the words, "you need to get over this," came out of his mouth. That was my cue to stop badgering him with such matters. I went to others with it, instead, especially those I felt could relate on some level. When he found out that I was sharing feelings with people other than him, he became angry with me and accused me of seeking attention and that my preference to take some of these issues elsewhere was 'emotionally cheating.' Even though I explained to him that I no longer desired to burden him with all of this, he was still paranoid and untrusting. He needed to see ALL of my communications - emails, texts (now that they were a thing) and instant messaging. If he, Heaven forbid, saw that I was beginning to confide in someone else, or even become close to someone (even though it was strictly on a friends-only basis) he'd get angry all over again and sometimes insult my friends to the point where I felt ashamed even talking to people that I truly liked. To open myself up to someone else, even if it was just to spare him the repetition, he would view as a betrayal - I have absolutely NO idea how that even is the case. I soon began to suppress EVERYTHING. I just stopped talking. I stopped thinking. I stopped dealing. Whenever something popped up, I engaged in a mental game of whack-a-mole and would quickly banish it back from whence it came. I knew there was stuff still lingering, but it just wasn't acceptable to discuss any of it anymore. And I certainly wasn't going to resort to old ways - I was now married, I was a mother. The beast had been 'tamed,' unsure if this is even the correct way to describe it. Yet, by respecting his wishes, although unreasonable and suppressing, I suspect I did some further damage. Instead of healing through the support that others would have been able to provide, I began to isolate again. Although I felt I did as he wished, I'd find out that this wasn't going to change the type of person he was turning out to be. He continued to bully and manipulate me and everyone else around him. He continued to put me down when I needed the opposite. Little by little, he broke me down. He made me feel horrible about myself. I soon began to feel that just as I sadly didn't really love him when we agreed to marry, he likely felt the same way about me. Why else would he treat me this way? There just wasn't any other reasonable explanation for it. I soon felt that this was punishment for all the crap I'd done in the past - it HAD to be. I'd just basically gone from one prison to the next. Getting married and having children and raising a family did NOT fix me. It only ensured a transfer from maximum security to minimum. I'm still so, SO affected (although not as severely) by what's happened in the past, but now I've learned better ways of coping, simply because I forced myself to. I served 8 years in this particular mental prison, he was my 'guard' rather than a husband and he subjected me to the most confusing 8 years of my life. I was paroled and set free only by divorce, which will be close to 10 years ago that it was finalized. During the time I've been 'out,' I've worked hard to pick myself up. I'm in a healthy relationship with an absolutely amazing woman. When I met her, I was a complete MESS. I didn't know how to communicate very well offline, with another human being. I'd gotten SO used to keeping to myself. To allowing others to see only what I wanted them to see. Once we met in person, we had an interesting time trying to get to know each other on every level. And that's where I found the love that I didn't know I was capable of feeling. My only regret was having not met her sooner, but I'm not sure if that's how life would have played out if I had. I have had to re-educate myself on how to properly sort out my feelings, my thoughts. Regardless of being in a MUCH better place now, I'm finding it to be a lifelong process....and the whack-a-mole games have restarted - only I'm now struggling with moles I've never seen before...the moles, when they used to be purely black and white are now teal, pink, purple, red, blue, polka-dotted, striped, etc. One pops up and I'll take a swing, only to find that another has popped up in a different location before I've had time to deal with the first one. And that's when it starts to get overwhelming. Guys...there's still so much SHAME, though. I'm so ashamed of myself for the things I did prior to meeting the wasband. I know that I just didn't know how to handle it and I let others handle things FOR me. My personal growth and evolution has provided me the wisdom to understand why I (and others) did (do) these things. I get it. All of it. It doesn't help the feeling of shame I still get from time to time when I think about the blatant disrespect I treated myself with. I was literally ready to punch in my one-way ticket to the point of no return. But instead, I did something that I thought would potentially be less harmful and would give my life some purpose, no matter the cost. So... Has anyone else ever done this? Did anyone else get married just to escape the possibility of an alternative, less favorable path? In my case, it didn't work out but it DID deflect from a far more dangerous existence. If so, what was the outcome for you? I think more people than we realize are guilty of this. Not particularly on the same level, but still. I think this is something that I need to be told is normal (under the circumstances) and that I'm not a terrible person for making some of the poor choices I've made. I've already forgiven myself for past indiscretions and accept my reasons for doing so but in the process, I've felt so ALONE with it all. I've felt judged, even though very few people even KNEW this about me. I was and still am my worst critic. This turned out to be MUCH longer than intended - will also post it in my blog as it's a cross between a post and a cleanse. Regardless, it's one that I'd TRULY appreciate some feedback on, so please don't be shy. Hit the comments below. Wishing you all an endless supply of hugs, if those are your thing. If not, then I wish you strength, healing and light. - Capulet
  3. Memoirs of a lost soul

    I do! It's called A Grain of Salt & A Pound of Chocolate. Link here: That will be the very first entry. Blogs on here read from the most recent, so I found the first entry and sent you there - at the bottom of each entry, you'll then be able to read the next, and so on. I love feedback, so would love to hear your thoughts! Hope your weekend is awesome.
  4. Memoirs of a lost soul

    Hi, @Redness and congratulations on your first blog entry. I, too, am a frequent blogger and find that it's the way I best share what is going on with me internally; I'm a deep thinker and sometimes it takes me a few days to process everything in order to spill it all out. Anyway - I am so sorry that you've endured so much pain, suffering and overall ugliness in life. There are a lot of not-so-nice things in mine, too - but you are SO, VERY right in that we are shaped by our experiences and grow stronger from them. Without the negative, it becomes harder to see the positives. It sounds like things are currently going well for you and I'm very glad to hear that. I am beginning to make some changes in my life too and these are not easy - if they were, I likely would have made them years ago. But the most important thing to remember is not how long it's taken to regain control over our lives, but simply that we're doing it. Looking forward to getting to know you. Cap
  5. Just saying hi

    Hi, @CeeJay47 - hello and here is an official 'welcome!' You are not mistaken, this is indeed a fantastic place to be! We are always glad to add more wonderful people to our already terrific community. I am glad you are here - I'm sorry for whatever circumstances have brought you here, but am hopeful that you'll find all of the support you need (and more) while you are here. Best wishes, Capulet
  6. Hi, all! I'm not sure what today's blog is going to be primarily about, so we'll call it a smorgasbord. We'll try a little bit of everything! It's been a turbulent week (I've been using that word a lot - I feel it best describes a lot of the unexpected emotional twists I've had to endure this past week) and today is only the second day that I haven't felt as if I were on the verge of tears. I've done a lot of thinking and have been able to put a few things into perspective, so am feeling stable enough to try and transfer some of it here. To start with, I have an interesting question for my survivor friends and peers. Do any of you experience an unexplained physical coldness/chill during those 'turbulent' anniversary time frames? My anniversary has already passed - it was on the 4th of this month, but I am wondering if some of the side effects are taking me a little bit longer to move past? It is 67 degrees in my house at the moment (I've checked the thermostat multiple times!) - and I'm FREEZING. My fingers are literally icicles. I've been 'cold' all week last week and thought it was because of the drop in overall temperatures, but....67 degrees? I shouldn't be dressed like an eskimo and have my hood on while indoors just yet. Aside from feeling like my bones are constructed purely out of ice cubes, I feel fine. I do not have a temperature, I am not sniffly or have a cough. My fiancee remains a furnace (I wouldn't want to subject her to cuddling with me right now, though) and my kids have said that they're not cold. I do have to add that I remember feeling cold, above other things, on that night 22 years ago, but I cannot remember if I felt this same unnatural chill during last year's anniversary time - or the previous, and so on. Is this new??? And if it is, what brought this on? So, I had my second group session last night. More people showed up to this one - and one person from the first meeting was there. They first started off with some meditation - something I don't have a whole lot of experience with. I was having trouble with the listening part (the leader was instructing us all to take our deep breaths, try and picture a safe place, inhale, exhale, relax this, relax that) and I couldn't really participate-along with the rest of them because by the time I got the 'message' to do whatever, she was already moved onto the next thing. It wasn't her fault - it's just a casualty that being deaf has taught me to have to accept from time to time. So, safe to say, this part of the meeting was not effective for me. And I'd soon learn that the meditation was something leading up to the NEXT part - although I do already have a lot of experience with journaling, she handed out plain black-and-white composition notebooks and asked us to decorate the cover to reflect and show where our 'safe place' was during the prior meditation process. A place that I'd not 'arrived' at, nor would I be able to envision as effectively as the rest of the ladies in the room. Well, SHIT. I'm already flunking at support groups! So, after some quick deliberation, I ended up taking a different approach on the design of my journal cover. I'll PROBABLY not use my journal at all - this is the place where I've been able to most effectively convey my deepest thoughts. Maybe I'll consider printing out some of my most powerful and impactful entries and pasting them into the book - perhaps there will be a future discussion where I'll be able to read from some of those entries - I'll have already thought them out and perhaps they will resonate with someone else. Otherwise, the pages will likely remain blank. To fill a page wasn't even the assignment; it was to present a decorated cover - depicting or representing my safe place. It's safe to say I don't really have a 'place,' but there are some things that I try to remind myself of when I meditate - or rather, through my own way of meditation. Yes, I do the deep breaths, I do inhale and exhale, but while I do this, I do not picture a particular place. I instead mentally throw all of my cards onto the table and address each of whatever my current struggles are, with a motivating counter-thought. And lately, I probably could do with a little more of (my type) of meditation. I'm going to sideline this particular thought train for a little while so that I can explain a little bit more about why I'm feeling the excess turbulence this month. We already know by now that it's my anniversary month - and that this year, I'm experiencing some different side effects. Another thing that's been on my mind....(and this is something I've had that internal debate on whether or not I should share it with you guys or keep it to myself)...is a recent dialogue with J that has left me very confused, very unsettled and very anxious. First off, it wasn't a fight. We don't fight. We sometimes disagree, but neither one of us wants to fight with the other - we talk about things more often than not, but there ARE times where we 'drop' things and leave them alone because it's something that's not going to be resolved and falls into the 'just bitching' category. Sometimes this is best, but lately, it's only succeeded in mounting our problems and issues and they are now starting to wiggle like a stack of Jenga blocks threatening to come tumbling down at any moment. I've mentioned before that she's become more social and has taken a liking to going out with her friends after work. Sometimes it's once a week, sometimes it's twice. I've also mentioned previously that I am absolutely hating this - not that she's blossomed into a social butterfly, because that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more so that she's found things to do and ways to have fun that do not involve me but instead involve people that are seemingly taking up 'more' of her than I am. I don't even know if I feel this way because I'm not at that same point in my own life, but either way, it has left me feeling more and more lonely than usual. And lately, I've been more openly 'bitter' about her spending time with her friends - she'll, as a courtesy, let me know when she has made spontaneous plans after work, and I'll usually respond with a one-liner that fails to hide my disappointment. Last week, this such one-liner was, "Ughhhhh." PROBABLY not the best choice of words, but in the moment, it's what my fingers wanted to type. Now, she KNOWS how I feel about social situations in general, and she knows about the anxiety I feel when it comes to the expansion of my own social circle. She also knows that I quietly fume to myself whenever I'm told I won't be seeing her after work. I have been honest about that and we both understand this is a direct result of what my ex has successfully ingrained in me. She continues to remind me that I am no longer married to him, I am FREE now, and I need "more than just her" in my life. This, too, is something I am struggling with - because for the last ten years that I've been divorced, it's been just her and I - there wasn't a need for me to have 'other people' to share (EVERYTHING) with. It was a nice, comfortable, PRIVATE circle. Either way, I've recently (probably for the last year) watched her change in multiple ways, from the person she used to be into a more evolved version of herself. She's now made a true friend out of her boss, is becoming more and more friendly with co-workers and has taken more interest in doing things outside of our home 1-2 days a week. As a direct result of some of these changes in her, she has now taken notice of me becoming increasingly withdrawn and snippy. On top of all of this, she's also made the choice to return to therapy, a choice I support 100% since she's also mentioned the need to do some maintenance work on herself - something I think we ALL need from time to time. I'm not sure if the return-to-therapy is what prompted her to bring up on Sunday evening, that she felt that we BOTH needed to work on things within our relationship. She made it clear that while she wasn't unhappy, she just felt that there were some things that needed changing. This confused the fuck out of me, I won't lie. The first thing that came to mind, was, "Oh, my God, I'm losing her." And for the entire day on Monday, I sat in silence and solitude - ready to cry at the drop of a hat - and thought, thought some more and thought HARD. About everything that was said on Sunday night - which confused me even more. She had stated she wanted me to be 'okay' with her outings so that she didn't feel guilty about them. I told her that I wasn't going to hold her back from going out with her friends, but at the same time, I couldn't be expected to be automatically okay with it, either. It was something I needed to work at, as well as something entirely new that I needed to adapt to. On Sunday, it got to the point where she ended up telling me that I've been saying I would figure it out for a while now (truth) and haven't done so, yet. I responded that I was trying - "Rome wasn't built in a day!" Another thing she mentioned was that she wanted me to be more honest with her about what I was feeling - which baffled me, because I guess, I thought I already was. My "ughhhh" text message was an honest response. My admission that this wasn't easy for me was another honest thought. My snippiness and grouchiness whenever she talks about her pals, you'd think that is all based on some form of honesty. How much more honesty did she want from me? I think she sensed there was more that needed to be said, but at the moment, I was feeling lost and was drawing blanks. Granted, emotions were running wild and I admit to having lost my shit on Sunday night during our talk, in an ugly-cry sort of way. We both agreed to take the day on Monday to do some thinking and we'd reconvene when we were both in a better frame of mind. So, on Monday, after a long day of reflection, I was able to summarize a little bit more of what I was feeling and I broke it down some to J. Not by choice - I was already semi-crying when she got home from work. I had tried my hardest to hide from her my 'I'm holding it in' face, but when you're with someone for as long as we've been together, these things become virtually un-hideable. She asked me what was the matter and I lost it again. And so, out it came. What I'd realized in the less than 24 hours since Sunday's blind-siding conversation. I have not changed. She has. She now has a more demanding job. As is, our time spent together has diminished greatly. She works a 40-hour week and VERY often ends up putting in a ton of OT to make it a SIXTY-hour work week. Add to that, she's become so increasingly tired, unnecessarily stressed out, and on the days she comes home from work, all she wants to do is eat a quick dinner and go to sleep. And as far as her friends go - it feels like they get more out of her than I do because she goes out with them AFTER an already extended day at work. I VERY rarely even SEE her before she leaves in the morning (it's usually right after 6am) and when she's out with her friends, she comes home at 10 or 11pm and I'm LUCKY to get a five-minute conversation out of her before she's snoring. She spends time with her boss for just about the entire duration of the work day and then there's the 'after work' activities that include this same woman, (counting two separate occasions when J went to help her move into her new apartment) so yes, maybe I do have a legitimate problem with that and maybe this is why the MENTION of this woman's name makes me envious enough to want to punch something. MAYBE this is why when J invites me to come along, I really don't have any interest in it. These are the people who are taking her away from me; (I know that's an unrealistic, paranoid thought, but for the moment, it was yet another honest take on it) why would I want to associate with them? They represent the 'fun' that she's having that I am not a part of. I am instead left feeling genuinely lonely after lately not seeing much of my one and only consistent 'person.' And that's just not a nice feeling at all - it's how I felt when I was married to my ex and he didn't want me to have any 'other' people - and it's not how I want to make J feel, either. You see, I KNOW where my strengths and weaknesses are - and perhaps the biggest confusion here is - neither one of us has done anything wrong. We remain faithful to one another - that's never been a question. We love each other. We just are, for the moment, at different places in our social lives and she's just more comfortable with her newfound status than I am. And just because she has changed, does not mean I also have to if it's not what I want or am not mentally ready for. I honestly DO, though. I don't want to let this go right now and then have to revisit the same problem ten, fifteen years down the road when she and her boss friend decide to take up knitting together after work days. (Another unrealistic guess, but y'all get the point I am trying to make!) I am absolutely TERRIFIED that if, by some twist of fate, I ever lost her, I would TRULY be a mess. I'd force myself to physically move on but emotionally, that is going to be the challenge of my life, as I've no desire to forge this type of connection with anyone else, should she become unavailable to me. I can honestly say I'd be FINISHED and a permanent emotional shut-down would likely be inevitable. We had a longer (calmer) talk after my (blatantly honest) little outburst. I first have to admit that it didn't feel so good, though, guys. I know that we're not likely to get what we need or want unless we ask for it, but I can't help but feel as if expressing these (irrational or not?) fears has made her see me in an entirely different light. Does she now see me as an inconsiderate, ungrateful, needy bit*h? I am not a selfish person at all and I'm admittedly the type to want to avoid confrontation at all costs, so just spitting out all of this inner poison has made me feel even more like shit! I thought it was supposed to feel GOOD to take any kind of a stand - but nope, I'm not feeling that, just yet. But, despite what I'm feeling, she heard me. And unlike my ex, she actually acknowledged what I was saying and where I was coming from. This, too, is something that STILL floors me, even after almost a decade of being in a healthy, trusting, communicative relationship. Maybe that's why this feels like uncharted territory - I've NEVER had that before. If I ever were to tell my ex how I felt, he would have slammed me back with insults describing how the way I was feeling was entirely my fault and about how truly damaged I was. My J and my ex are absolutely not the same person - not by a long shot - J is a kind, loving person while my ex was a monstrous asshole that has succeeded in reducing my self worth into an unidentifiable pulp. We have decided that she will work on being more present when she's at home. Together, we'll do whatever it takes, we'll go out, we'll engage in activities that will keep her from falling asleep so soon after coming home from work. Bowling two nights a week certainly helps! We'll liven up our relationship by having a once-a-week dinner date night (not a bowling night), where it will just be the two of us. We'll have a drink together. We'll take in the occasional movie. We'll try new things. Last night was the first of several 'date nights' to come; we met up at a local steakhouse after my group meeting. And it was truly nice to take that time to start to reconnect - because, as much as I hate to admit it, we DID lose something along the way. It's never been MORE important to me to try and reclaim that connection before it drifts even further, simply because she's become too busy or I'm responding by shutting down. And in the meantime, I have some work to do....more so for myself than for anyone else - but work regardless. I will work on trying to find other things to become involved in and I will do so at my own pace. I will put my social anxieties aside and join her on an outing with her work friends from time to time - and I will ATTEMPT to get to know some of them. I've already spent some time with the boss lady, and all jealousies aside, she is not a terrible person. I will keep more of an open mind when it comes to dipping my toe into these social situations. We have established that relationship-wise, I trust my J completely, I am not afraid she'll fall in love with someone else. This isn't the issue. I've determined that I am more afraid that she'll eventually evolve even more and discover that she truly likes or wants more than what she has with the boring, laid-back, homebody that I have learned to be. I am loyal. I am trustworthy. But right now, I don't feel 'fun,' nor do I have much to offer someone as far as a good time goes. I'm stuck in a rut and I NEED to climb out of it. And so, I am going to begin to work on trusting MYSELF; and in my ability to intiate a transformation of my own. Given where I am right now and all of the damage that has already been done, it may take years. But, I will get there. I think I just needed to feel more united and connected with my "main" person in order to take these steps toward learning to trust and confide in and learn to relax around others. I needed to be able to feel that I'm not in the process of losing the one person who changed my life for the better. And perhaps, that's the root of my recent snippiness - I do not respond well when I feel threatened with that idea - it also makes sense that this is why J's family/sister's words to me several months ago are STILL fucking with my brain. This is why I cannot get past what was said to me, even if it was said in desperation or anger. It cannot be unsaid and is possibly where all of this started. Well, at least we recognize it - and I'm happy to say that we are working on us. I know no relationship is perfect and by all means, neither is ours. We are as good a couple as they come, but we've never had to really work at it, though. It's just always come so naturally to us both, and I think I need that reassurance that we aren't the only ones who hit the occasional bump in that road! Now, back to the journal cover that I was to design. I found some 'phrases' in the pile of magazine clippings. Words. These are what I use to get through things. I think about them, I redefine them, I write them. Aside from some not-so-nice things, I've been called a wordsmith. And so this is what I decided to decorate my composition notebook with. Single words and phrases that right now, ring true for me. "A window of opportunity has opened." "Comfort zone." "Friendship." "Chocolate." (A reference to THIS blog - I could not let that go without some form of recognition as this is where I usually retreat when I have a lot of mind-clutter.) "Your future is yet to be written." There were a couple more - along with cut-out letters that I used to spell out my real first name across the top of the book. When my turn came, I explained that I'd taken a little bit of a different approach to my journal cover decorating - and discussed that I use words and phrases in order to quell whatever my current anxieties are. And each of those statements, at the moment, mean something to me. And why did I put my (given) name? Well - my name as well as my identity is another thing that I am struggling to define. I can tell anyone my name, but I honestly don't have a clue who I even am, being constantly torn between the person I really am and the person I present as, is exhausting! You see, here, I am Capulet. You all know why I am here. You all know my story. You know my fears, the things that make me happy, the things that make me sad. Chances are, you feel the same way. I've been nothing but honest with everyone through my blogs, my posts, my private conversations. It helps that being here affords us all that unspoken understanding of each other - we're automatically able to validate one another because, one way or another, we all get it. We don't have to truly know someone to understand them when they write something that rings true with us, too. And so, I honestly feel more connected to myself when I am Capulet and less connected to the person that my given name represents - the person that people offline see. And partially, this is my fault, I have spent so much time shielding these offline connections from the things that aren't so easy to share or explain face-to-face. I feel like I am someone else. And that 'someone else' is what people usually see upon spending time with me. And if these people do not know or understand the reasons behind why I am the moody, withdrawn, shy, anxious, unapproachable person I appear to be (especially in social settings) then it's likely harder for them to make the extra effort it requires in order to get close to me. Additionally I can't expect them to keep trying if I'm going to constantly shut them down. This is yet another reason I feel that I need to work on opening up to more people, (once I've established them to be trustworthy) and allow them to understand me in entirety; allow them to see me, not only as Capulet, nor as the person they think I am. But somewhere in the middle where both 'identities' can merge. Only then will I truly begin to comfortably live my life as an evolved, transformed woman. After the meeting, I was feeling a little bold and inquired about whether the Women's Center had any volunteer opportunities. I was told they do, however they require one full year of affiliation with the center before they consider taking on someone as a volunteer. And so I will continue to attend the group meetings and take them all for what they're worth - even though I may not in the moment be able to gain anything from them, they are thought-provoking and force me to be honest with myself. I should mention that I am also feeling a little anxious about tomorrow's (yes, tomorrow's!) appointment with the VR intake counselor - I will be discussing with her the possibility of going back to school as a full-time student, and then continuing onto acquiring my bachelor's. I am trying to allow myself to feel excited and to ignore that voice within (the one that seems to always be lying and misleading me) that is telling me that my dreams are not possible; that a better version of ME is not possible. That I will have to settle for the minimum because I am aiming too high. I don't think that will be an acceptable answer, and I fear that if this is the one I am given, that it will emotionally derail me - again. I've also made an appointment with the support group leader for next Friday - I feel satisfied with having shared this much tonight, but feel that if J can seek 'outside' help and a place to safely put all of her own 'excess' baggage, then I certainly can, too. I'm not looking for a permanent thing - just a safe place to vent to someone who is unbiased and may be able to offer me some suggestions on how to initiate some of these much-needed and long overdue changes. I do feel a little bit better tonight. I had all day to myself - she again went to trivia night with her friends. And normally, you probably could see the smoke coming out of my ears while I silently fumed over being alone (again) but I think that tonight, I needed it, I truly needed the alone time to think and to process and to refocus. I also think that I need to continue to find a different focus for the times/days she chooses to go out - tonight, my aim was to find a way to adequately express what was going through my mind this past week and I have done that. Moving forward, I will just have to learn to occupy myself with different things and explore alternative ways of keeping busy when she's otherwise unavailable. I just wish this newfound, unfamiliar quest of mine for more purpose in life wasn't so fucking scary! And that it came more naturally for me without my having to work so hard at it. And with that, it is time to wrap up. I am emotionally drained (and ironically this will put me to sleep quicker than a dose of NyQuil) and have been for a while. I've dropped with exhaustion before 12:30am for the last few nights - tonight, I'm up a little bit longer because it was important to me to not interrupt the flow of thoughts. I've got that habitual tendency to 'drop' things if I'm too tired or reserve them for another time, but this simply could NOT wait. In closing, I thank you all for continuing to listen to me, for not giving up on me, for getting to know me, and for supporting me. I know I am by no means perfect and I know deep down that I definitely do contribute to my own problems, but, shit...none of this is intentional - it's just what I know and was taught that was needed as primarily a means of self-protection. It truly does help to also know that the persona that I feel most connected to, truly has an army behind her. So for that, thank you. I truly appreciate you all. , - Capulet
  7. New and looking for coping tips

    Hello! Oh, yes! Absolutely. Even after we've had a fair amount, we STILL need it, in big, heaping servings. We need to be reminded that this validation exists, all the while things are constantly changing for us as we embark upon our healing journeys. It's a scary thing to ask for but it truly is a wonderful feeling when we've found it. That being said, welcome to AfterSilence. I am sorry for what has brought you here, but I truly hope that you find everything you are looking for, including that sweet validation - the people are fantastic, supportive and kind here! You are by no means alone! Best wishes, Capulet
  8. Hi, @Kmkz... It wasn't bad. I have found that I am pretty much unspook-able when it comes to Haunted Hotels, but anxieties tend to mount whenever I am around a group of people. However, it's on my list of things to 'fix.' If a total fix isn't possible, at least a partial one is in order - I'm feeling that I've arrived at a point in my life where I am going to run into this problem on a more regular basis if I don't work toward building up my tolerance for group settings. Hope you're doing well!! Cap
  9. Hi friends, So sorry for the lapse in communication lately! I've been sort of lurking (and I'm not sure I like that word, either - seems almost too 'creepy' to use on a site like this one) and have been doing more reading of than responding to but as always, my thoughts and well wishes have remained with you all. I just needed a little time to adjust to and process the downswing of last week, when I was dealing with the passing of yet another anniversary. Happy to say that sleeping has gotten better - I've only been 'startled' awake once this week. The night time insomnia, however, remains my greatest hurdle - and sadly, will probably be a permanent battle. Anyway, this will be a small, yet significant update. I'll probably write more after my next support group meeting that is scheduled for next Tuesday. I like the idea of being able to go over some of the topics discussed in group after I've had adequate time to give them the thought they deserve. I am, later tonight, going to be stepping outside of my comfort zone in a few different ways. A group of us (yes, I said GROUP!) are planning to meet up at a bar (yep, a place that serves alcohol!) for a couple of drinks and then we will proceed over to a local 'horror night' event. The theme is Haunted Hotel - and it's apparently a yearly setup - to promote and further enhance the Halloween spirit as well as scare the shit out of anyone brave enough to venture inside. It's a walk-through type of thing, we'll encounter plenty of those things that go bump in the night, our fair share of (fake) blood and guts, frightening scenes, etc. But this isn't what makes me nervous. I'm not easily spooked by grotesque displays. Those, I can handle and during Halloween, can be even be entertained or amused by. So, what's my issue? For starters, we will be a group. J and I have gotten close to the couple we bowl with on Friday nights - they are older than we are, but very young-at-heart and are a lot of fun to be around. We've done other things with them, but it's been limited to contained, easy-to-follow and well-lit situations. Bowling, for one...when one gets up to bowl, it's easy to have one-on-one conversations with the other. We did an Escape Room with them and had a lot of fun. We've had them over to watch football. We've gone to their house for a game night. They're awesome company and lots of laughs are usually had whenever they are around. They are TRULY good people. J's boss, now also a friend of hers, will be joining us. I've met her exactly once - and this is the person J has been spending a lot of time with - both inside and outside of work. I still have my green-eyed monster lurking within (there's that word again!) but am currently trying to suppress it whenever she speaks of fun times with her friends - (times that don't involve lonely lil ol' me) - I trust J with every fiber of my being and we both (as well as all of those who have been reading my blogs) know that this expanding circle of hers is my separate issue to work on - especially since I have SUCH trouble expanding my own. Anyway, J's friend is also a fan of the spooky, macabre stuff. And so, we (more so J) felt it was appropriate to invite her along. So it WILL be a small group, but still a group. And even these small group gatherings (and in the dark, to boot!) are uncomfortable for me. Doesn't matter if it's family or it's friends - I still stand to miss a GREAT deal when there is group chatter and cannot help but feel the simmering anxieties that are present for the duration. I will likely be laughing along whenever they all laugh in unison, even if I have no idea what they're giggling at. A small voice inside will (LIES!) tell me it's me and my complete obliviousness - not necessarily the truth, but still always the perceived idea. So, first - we will be going to a bar (and this is also NOT my thing) for drinks and introductions (J's friend to our friends) beforehand. On the rare occasion that I throw back, it is usually done within the safe confines of my own home - I do not feel comfortable drinking anywhere else or around others. I'm sure it's because being around drunk people is an obvious trigger and usually brings me back to my 1996 incident, but have been told that I need to try to more frequently participate in things that I haven't had much success with in the past. It's the only way I'm going to build up to being comfortable in social settings. And this will strengthen my personal mission to build up to the eventual expansion of my own inner circle of trusted friends. I'm a different person, now, than I was in 1996. I'm smarter. More responsible. I do trust J and our bowling friends - I don't think there will ultimately be any harm in my having a drink with them in good fun, but because I will not be at home where I feel most 'safe,' I am feeling like I'm back in high school and there's peer pressure - I don't want to be that 'wet blanket' and be the only one not drinking. J's friend, as well as the couple we bowl with - are all social drinkers. And going to the bar before the Haunted Hotel, was their idea - it certainly wouldn't be something I would suggest. J, a non-drinker like me, is even considering having one, only because she's not fond of the 'scary' stuff and will require the liquid courage. And, so, I will probably end up giving in to the 'peer pressure' and have one drink with them - not because I'm comfortable with it, but because I know that despite old (although not unfounded) fears, I need to be able to keep an open mind and try new things. I will just ask the bartender to make it a mild one. I will make it a personal mission to stifle any and all discomfort and truly try to put aside my reservations long enough to enjoy the evening. It all sounded like so much fun when it was proposed three weeks ago. Not sure what happened between then and now, but presently, I feel that I am sincerely trying to convince myself that I won't have a good time when I may surprise myself instead. Isn't that how it usually goes? You dread something and then once you give it a legit try, you find that it's not as bad as you thought it'd be? Pray this is the case for me tonight, and that walking the fine line between what is comfortable and what isn't proves to be a positive experience rather than the negative one my brain is well-trained to expect. Will be back in the middle of next week. Hope all is well with all of you! - Capulet
  10. New here

    Hello @Jenna leann, welcome to AS! So sorry that you deal with the daily burdens of PTSD and that you have endured trauma. On the bright side, you have found a loving, safe and compassionate community and I think you will fit right in. The people here are absolutely amazing and I have always felt 100% supported. Also - thank you for your service! Best wishes, and welcome! Capulet
  11. New Here

    Hello @electricangel (Kanny!) Welcome to AfterSilence. It's nice to meet you. You can call me Cap. You've found a really wonderful, safe place and I'm glad you've joined us, although I am sorry to hear of the circumstances under which you've found us. You're welcome to say as much or as little as you like as you navigate the site and become familiar with all of the different forums - the people are truly wonderful and understanding and I'm sure many can relate to what you've been through! Welcome! Cap
  12. How to stop feeling scared

    @Leaha100, hello, and welcome to AS! I'm so sorry to hear of what you've been through! I have not gone through the reporting process but I can certainly understand fear and how debilitating it can be! It seems that is often what holds us back as we proceed throughout our own healing journeys, and it takes time to jump those hurdles. You've taken a big step by joining our community here, though - the people are absolutely fantastic and supportive and non-judgemental. I truly hope that as you get to know your way around this site, you soon begin to feel less ashamed and more safe. If you ever need to chat, you're welcome to reach out. Best wishes, Capulet
  13. First time here

    Hello! Yes, this is an incredibly safe place to be and the people here are wonderful. I'm sorry you're struggling. I hope that being here will help you to see you are not alone and that together, we can achieve healing! Welcome to AfterSilence! Best wishes, Capulet
  14. New here

    Hi, @Tryintosurvive, and welcome to AfterSilence! SO sorry to hear of your recent trauma!!! I am sure the past two weeks have likely been really rough on you and I hope you are being kind to yourself. I am, however, glad to hear that someone referred you here - @phoenixxx is right - this is a safe, supportive haven for survivors of every age, gender, race - it matters none - we all are trying to achieve a common goal. I hope that being here helps you to find peace, healing, comfort and eventually will inspire some good days! Am here often if you ever need or want to talk. Best wishes, and again - welcome. Capulet
  15. New but ready

    Hello @Ready4Change18 - welcome to AS. This is an extremely supportive community and I'm very glad you have found us. The people here are absolutely wonderful! I am sorry that circumstances have brought you here, but hopeful that being among such good company will bring forth MANY good changes. Best wishes, Capulet
  16. New here

    Hi @Lily S and welcome to AS! It's a pleasure to meet you, although I am sorry you have reason to be here. This is an absolutely fantastic community filled with equally as fantastic people who all understand what you are dealing with. Joining us was a big step and indeed a courageous one! Good for you for taking this leap. Looking forward to getting to know you! Best wishes. Capulet
  17. My first entry

    Hi, @Susan111, honored to welcome you to AS and to blogging. I look forward to reading what you have to say in your future blogs! Best wishes, Capulet
  18. New here

    Hi, @Cheleigh - and a hearty welcome to AS. I'm so sorry to hear of the trauma you endured 10 years ago. It seems that no matter how long ago it was (for me it's been 22 years!) it is something that in part, stays with us forever. So very unfair and breaks my heart every day. The good news though, is you have found a fantastic, supportive site FILLED with people who truly understand what you are going through and can provide TONS of support! I hope you are able to find peace, comfort and healing here. I know I have, and I look forward to getting to know you better! Best wishes, Capulet
  19. New To Board

    Hello there! Welcome to AfterSilence. You are definitely not alone here - SO many share a common burden - and leaning on each other makes a world of a difference. I hope being here brings you eventual peace, comfort and healing. Best wishes, Capulet
  20. Newcomer

    A hearty welcome to AfterSilence, @Meggers!
  21. Hello

    Hello @dragonfly4 - Welcome to AfterSilence!!! It's very nice to meet you - I am sorry for the circumstances that have made you seek us out but I truly hope that you find there is an abundance of support and the members here are absolutely amazing. (I think you've already discovered that on your own, so I'll say I agree with you!) I am sorta, kinda keeping my distance from all the political stuff right now - I think I need to. The shame you feel is VERY common among many of us here - I do hope that while you cannot completely wash out this stain, you can eventually get it to fade. We can certainly help you here - I am confident in saying this because this site has truly been a godsend for me in many ways. Anyway - hang in there, and again - welcome. If there's anything I can help you with, you're VERY welcome to reach out. Best wishes. Capulet
  22. Noob

    Hi Jax! Welcome to AS! I hope that being here brings you peace and healing - although I am sorry for the circumstances that have brought you to us, I'm happy to meet you. Looking forward to getting to know you. I am also an adult 'veteran' survivor; it seems like an endless battle sometimes, but it does make a world of a difference to have the support of a community. Again, welcome. Best wishes, Capulet
  23. New to the group

    Hello Kala, and welcome. Am so sorry you are in so much pain right now. It does get better with time and having the support of a community certainly does do wonders. Best of luck to you - I hope that being here brings you eventual peace and comfort and healing. Capulet
  24. Dear Eddie, It has taken me at least five whole minutes to decide whether a piece of shit like you warranted a 'dear.' It was completely out of habit that I started this letter in the same polite, courteous way I would start a letter to anyone else. YOU, however, are not just 'anyone else.' I also debated whether or not I should use your name - I don't even know if it's your real name. Either way, I have decided that I want people to know exactly who you are - and unfortunately, using your first name is not even enough. This, though, is ALL I know about you. There are many appropriate not-so-nice names I could call you, but for the moment, they elude me. And so I'll use the name that has sparked terror and dread in me for the last twenty-two years. While there's so much accumulated that I need to say to you, I don't even know where to start. First of all, make no mistake - you're an absolutely despicable, horrible person and as far as I'm concerned, a waste of air and space. But, no matter how much hatred I have for you, you're still, unfortunately, an important part of my life. Not in the sense that I can't live without you - because I certainly CAN and honestly, would LOVE to. As a matter of fact, I most likely would be living an entirely different life if it weren't for you. I'm thinking that 'important' is a too nice a word - so perhaps I'll change it to 'significant.' Clearly, that is ALSO too kind and positive a word to describe the likes of you. I'm not going to worry about word-searching right now though; there's far too much that I need to say to you, regardless of whether or not you ever see this letter. I'm certain you'll never hear me; why would you? You quite effectively silenced me 22 years ago. It seems fitting to write you this letter today. I have had so much time to think and to cope with the emotional, mental, and physical side effects of what you did to me that night. I have not physically seen you in exactly 22 years - but I have 'seen' you MANY times, through memories and other reminders every single day since 10/4/1996. It's gotten a lot better with time, but you have visited me in my sleep; you've assumed the identity of my grocer, a random person on the street, a classmate, the guy who owns a pizza place in central Long Island, the list goes on. You were there whenever there were televised rape cases or trials; you did this to me, therefore your face was the one I saw, no matter who was currently on trial. For a long time, you were everywhere I turned; there was no escape. Now, you're not there as much, but deep down, I know that you'll never completely leave. And that's both mind-blowing and kind of fucked up - we knew each other for JUST thirty minutes - and yet you are going to occupy a piece of my brain for the rest of my life. In hindsight, you probably do not remember that night. Or maybe, you do. Maybe it makes you smile or laugh when you remember how you brutally and heartlessly overpowered a distressed seventeen-year-old girl. It doesn't do me any good to consider your pleasure in doing so, so I won't. But do NOT, for one MINUTE, think I didn't see out of the corner of my eye, that cocky smirk that was on your face while you were holding me down. You enjoyed every second of what you did. Perhaps I was just 'another girl' to you. You've probably done the same to other vulnerable girls. You were calculated, methodical, and sad to say, you knew exactly what you were doing. I guess I've always wondered how you can sleep at night - knowing you, using your body as a weapon, destroyed every single one of my hopes and dreams in a matter of just minutes. And I also wonder why? Why did you do this? What was in it for you? Was it worth it afterwards? Because of you, I spent the rest of that first year of college in a daze - it's a miracle I passed the courses I was taking. It was a literal chore to get out of bed every day and do the same thing - get dressed in clothes that may or may not have been washed, drive to campus (and back) in a dissociated, autopilot mode, then spend evenings at home in a similar zombie-like state. Then it was a rinse-and-repeat kind of thing, all while I withdrew socially and drifted slowly into a more consistent state of darkness. Nothing was crystal-clear anymore. Everything became fuzzy, jumbled and otherwise difficult to see - the life I had plans for no longer existed and was abruptly replaced with the life you forced me to live. Because of you, I searched for emotional and sexual sustenance in all the wrong places. I felt as if I had nothing of worth to offer the boyfriend I had at the time - so he was history shortly after. You were my first sexual experience - and you taught me that sex was painful. You also taught me that saying 'no' would not work - that fighting would get me hurt, and that it was ideal to just lay there and take it. And so I searched silently and recklessly, for that 'good' experience that would negate the bad one. For the record, this didn't happen. Of course, the guy that SHOULD have been the one I gave my virginity to, was instead, the one I cast aside when I feared my innocence was no longer intact. Because of you. And on that note, it is because of YOU that I am both mortified and absolutely disgusted with my past behavior. I've had 22 years to reflect on all of those poor choices and it's a goddamn miracle that I'm alive today! I'm ashamed of myself - because of what you taught me, I allowed men to do absolutely horrible things to me - because I was too afraid to say 'no.' I don't know if it was because I was afraid of being punched in the face or it was a learned auto-reaction at that point, but either way, whatever they wanted was usually what they got - this accomplished absolutely nothing more than eventually reducing my self-worth to zero. I stopped caring about any repercussions or consequences of my actions. In fact, I wanted to die - I wanted them to just put me out of my misery - the misery YOU started! Obviously, that didn't happen, either. I survived you, and then I survived my own self. And today, I'm STILL surviving, although the only difference is - I've forgiven myself for my part in these bad choices - as much as I'd like to blame you for those, I cannot. I acted alone, same way I did anything else. ALONE. I will say, you may be to blame for my self-imposed solitude - it's how I felt most safe and the least threatened - but maintaining this constant need to be alone is on me, and perhaps on my ex, who further implied that leading a private, isolated life was ideal. Even TODAY, I find myself wanting more personal space and alone time than seems reasonable - and because of this, I'm seriously lacking in social skills. It may not be entirely because of you, but you definitely helped that along. Because of you, I can't wash my floors with Pine-Sol. The unmistakeable smell triggers me when I try and all I can remember is my face being held down against the cold, hard, wooden floor (which STILL smelled like Pine-Sol) while you raped me. Because of you, I have a DEEP, almost UGLY hatred of music. No, it is not your fault that I was born with the inability to hear it - but it was also the reason no one heard me calling for help. It brings my children such joy - they LOVE music. So does my fiancee. And I can't help but remember and remain stuck on how the 'noisiness' failed me. Ironically, the music became somewhat of a focal point - when I stopped fighting and succumbed to your brutality, I focused only on the vibrations of the floor beneath me. And that's what I continued to focus on even after you were finished with me. It was a small comfort. I was alone in a place I was unfamiliar with, I was in a large amount of pain, I NEEDED something to distract me. And so I kept my eyes closed and my face against the floor for several minutes before getting up...just counting each pounding, deafening beat....it was better than trying to figure out WHAT had just happened to me. And for about five minutes, it was my only comfort. It was the only time I can remember where I welcomed the 'noise.' It was during that tiny window where music was still okay, that window was slammed shut once loud, blasting music became a known trigger. Because of you, I have not worn a skirt since that night. There were a handful of occasions that required me to put on a bridesmaid's dress, but other than that, I refuse to wear anything without a crotch. Even with those god-awful dresses, I wore a pair of skin-tight spandex shorts underneath because I needed to feel that extra layer of protection. You taught me that I needed to be mindful of what I wore - and that skirts were not safe, regardless of whether they were long or short. And every time I walk past one in the department store, I'm reminded of the cream-colored skirt with sunflowers on it that I wore that night. That was my favorite - it was long, it covered my legs, and came all the way down to my ankles. Because of what you did, I was forced to throw it away because I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. Because of you, I learned all about fear. The simplest, STUPIDEST things would now cause me anxiety. For me, fear goes hand-in-hand with trust, another thing that I lost the ability to do freely. Once upon a time, I was a very trusting person; I had faith in other people, I believed in the good in everyone. To a point, I still do, but it's become increasingly difficult for me to trust that not everyone is out to hurt me and there are actually kind, honest and truly good people out there. Because of you, I'm constantly second-guessing people, I'm questioning why people even wish to associate with me - what's their reason for it? How are they going to eventually hurt me? I HATE this about myself - I understand it, but I don't like it. I've walled myself off, because of you, and now I'm in a position where I need to learn to break down some of these walls or risk being alone later. Because of you, I'm afraid to ask for help when it comes to communicating with others and putting ANY trust into the kindness of strangers. Because if you recall, I was desperate and asked YOU for help. We both know how that turned out. Furthermore, I felt for the longest time that being hearing impaired was what landed me into trouble in the first place - I certainly could have made that phone call, myself, had I been born with two functional ears. But it wasn't about that at all, was it? This was what you planned, right? This diabolical scheme of yours was devised and set into motion JUST as soon as I uttered, 'can you help me?' Am I right? This, like so many other questions I have for you, will likely remain unanswered. You know, I wonder what you are like today. Have you changed? (Although it is hard for me to see you as anything other than a cruel monster, I know people change and truly have repented for things they've done in the past. I'm not sure this applies to you, though.) Are you a good person now? Are you happy? Are you proud of yourself? Do you have a successful job? Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you have a DAUGHTER???? If you do, I TRULY hope that knowing that YOU, yourself, are a sexual predator causes you to now live in fear of someone doing to her what you did to me. Of course I am not the type to wish ill will toward the women in your life that you DO love and care about - but I sincerely hope that you understand the severe gravity of the effects of sexual assault - not just on the ones who have experienced it, but on the people around them. And I hope you know and recognize that YOU are a person who has single-handedly caused these effects. Do you ever even think about what you did to me, and possibly, to other women? Or do you fall into the 'none of the above' category and are you rotting in a cell somewhere because you raped another woman who had more balls than I did and reported you? Either way, do you feel any remorse at all? Do you even KNOW what your actions have done to me, and perhaps to others? I've had to accept that most all of the kickback from that night has been on me - you couldn't have cared less when you left me in that room, a bleeding mess. If you're still alive and karma hasn't caught you yet, you probably still don't care. You didn't care when I begged you to stop, you didn't care that all I wanted was to go home. Instead, you laughed at me, you mocked my screams, you terrorized me. I've come a long way in 22 years, though. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've fantasized about killing you. And (because it was the only way I could get away with it) - in my dreams, I have killed you in multiple ways. I've yelled at you, I've screamed. I've beaten the shit out of you, I've smashed your face in, I've castrated you, I've hammered your ballsack to a slab of wood with a rusty nail. You hurt me 'there,' and I wanted desperately to return the favor. I'm not a violent person by any means, and I'm slightly embarrassed to even admit what I've thought about doing to you and to other sexual predators. You have certainly made me angry enough to entertain these thoughts, but that's all they were - thoughts. Time has shown me that the physical pain subsides and there is nothing at all that will completely cure the emotional and mental pain that sexual assault inflicts. This specific pain, that because of you, I feel every single day. Yes, time has mended my spirit a great deal, but there is going to forever be a part of me that you stole, you still possess, and that I will NEVER get back. You know what, though? I'm not mad at you anymore. I have come to the conclusion that after 22 years, it is no longer anger I feel when this time of year rolls around. It's become a permanent mark, yes, but it's also a numbing sadness that, no matter how much time has elapsed, will always live inside me and become more noticeable in the fall. While I didn't have a choice in what's been plopped down on my plate (because of you), I DO have a choice in how I deal and cope with what's been served. And I am now choosing to put that pre-existent anger behind me - it's done me NO good to hold onto it and I refuse to give you any more of my time or energy. Plus, when dealing with anger, there is usually a resolution...a way to come to terms with it and eventually dissolve it. I think that, for me, means you'd have had to 'make it right' or otherwise pay for your crime at some point. But you'll likely never be held accountable for what you did to me - even if you've been reported by someone else and you're paying THAT price, the debt between you and I will never be resolved. So, today, 22 years later, I am feeling that it is time to let go of it...and while I've managed to released all of this pent-up anger towards you - I'm still and always will be disgusted with the poor excuse of a human being that you are. I will never forgive you, either. Your fate is truly out of my hands, but I do have hope that when the time comes, you'll get exactly what you deserve. I do have remaining guilt for allowing you to walk free, for not getting up from the floor and chasing you out of that bedroom - I sometimes feel that in that moment, I should have mustered up whatever strength I had, found my voice, and exposed you for the rapist you are. I've run through this scenario in my head, too - maybe someone would have restrained you, someone else would have called the police, and you would have been put away. I'd have gotten medical attention, my parents would have found out what happened, sure, but at least you'd have been locked up. Had that been what happened, it would likely have spared other women from having to experience the same thing I did. But sadly, this is just another one of those 'woulda been nice' thoughts that will never come true. Because of that life-changing, impactful half-hour I spent with you, the once fearless being I was, was rendered weak, speechless, and paralyzed. I truly feel that because of you, I froze in fear and shock when that window of opportunity was open - I COULD have done something, but I did not. While I now understand why I felt powerless in the moment, I feel that I still failed not only other women you may have subsequently harmed, but also myself. And I HATE you for that, I HATE you for making me despise myself. I hate you for teaching me the true meaning of the word 'hate.' Such an ugly word; one that I don't even want my children to use...yet so fitting for how I feel about you. I hate what you've done, what you represent, what you're capable of. I hate your type - and that there are so many more of you roaming around. I hate YOU, Eddie. This is what I have to live with, though. Other than this nagging feeling that I've failed myself and others, (which I've forgiven myself for as well) I've been a good person. I've never hurt another person. I am kind. I am caring. And I didn't deserve this. I know this now. Because of you, it took a LONG time to come to this realization. I survived 22 years ago and today, will continue to grow as a person. I am not the same person I would be had I not met you, but that's beyond my control, now. Instead of trying to duplicate the person I used to be or 'pick up where I left off,' I am going to focus on reclaiming the small, yet significant things that you either stole or otherwise changed for me. There are some things that are gone forever, but there's hope for some others. I'm going to embrace the rest of this fall season, and all of the fall seasons to come. Rather than scowl at the natural beauty of the changing foliage, I will instead smile in appreciation of the breathtaking scenery. I will buy the biggest fucking bottle of Pine-Sol and wash my floors with it next week. Why? Because I KNOW that my face will not be pressed down against that floor afterwards - and I'm going to prove that the dread I feel toward Pine-Sol is simply going to mean it's time to complete the never-fun chore of washing the floors. I'm going to slowly work on lowering the walls that are up, because of you, and learn to more freely delegate my trust in those who are deserving of it. I suppose while there's plenty to blame and loathe you for, there is one positive thing that I can derive from our encounter 22 years ago. Undoubtedly, that was the WORST, most impactful night of my life and to me, to be able to gain any positive insight out of such a negative, horrible event is pretty fucked up. I don't want to give you credit for ANYTHING, more or less anything positive in my life - especially when I don't think I would be inspired to pursue the line of work I'd like to without first encountering your cruelty. Because of you, I have developed a profound understanding of myself as well as the MILLIONS of other women who have been sexually assaulted. I understand the deep, lingering pain and constant frustration, the emotional and sometimes physical toll that rape takes on a person. I know that us women are individual beings and we all deal differently, but we all share this common burden that we have to live with forever. Because of you, and other predatory beings like yourself. Before you, I was an English major and wanted to become a scriptwriter. And now, after you, I want nothing more than to use this experience, coupled with my gained understanding and knowledge of 'what comes after,' and become an advocate for sexual assault/rape survivors. Because of you, I understand EXACTLY what other survivors are going through and the grueling, seemingly uphill journey that lies ahead of them. I am now ready to grab ahold of as many survivors' hands as I can, and climb this hill with them in unity and solidarity. At first, I questioned whether I'd be able to devote the rest of my life to doing this type of work - it's certainly not going to be easy, but perhaps in the process, I will continue to heal. I know and understand that I will be healing for the rest of my life. And so, I have made peace with this change - I feel more confident in my abilities to help others than in scriptwriting - but perhaps I've done both. I've re-written my life's script. I'll never be able to completely discard the old, broken, battered version of myself - but I can certainly decide what happens to me, moving forward. As for you, Eddie... I don't know what's going on with you right now. You can be living the American dream with a house and family - or you can be sitting in a 12x12 cell in prison. I've no way of knowing. Either way, I truly hope that at one point during the rest of your life, that you learn the true definition of suffering, the way you made me suffer. I hope that one day, you will understand the feeling of being overpowered, and that you will experience vulnerability. I hope you see for yourself how it is to feel lonely and isolated because no one around you understands what you're going through. I hope you learn all about that feeling of keeping your silence - and that you come to realize that it's because you just don't know who to trust anymore. It'd also be nice to see you struggle with things you thought were simple and easy, but are no longer. Because following trauma, NOTHING is the same, anymore. The things you did every day become foreign and become things you have to re-teach this altered version of yourself to do, all over again. And I hope that someday, something scares you to the point where your heart (I know you have one) starts pounding for reasons that may not be immediately clear. I hope that in that same moment, you freeze and are unable to move, or even BREATHE. That's PTSD, that's anxiety. That's what you unfairly sentenced me to. That's what I've had to live with for the last 22 years - because of you. YOU however, have to live with everything I've mentioned in this letter. And knowing your type, there's likely lots more that you're going to have to live with. And, ultimately, that's what you deserve. You deserve the absolute misery you've inflicted on others, you deserve pain and suffering. I'm just sorry that I won't be there to witness that moment when Lady Karma decides it's your turn to pay the price for all the terrible things you've done! And last, but not least, I truly hope you see my face when she finally catches up to you. Don't forget to watch for the satisfied smirk. - Capulet (Because of you.)
  25. Hi, everyone. Here's hoping you're all well this week! How am I? I don't know, honestly. Mentally, I'm fine. Physically, I'm falling the fuck apart and I don't understand why. You would think that losing over 40 pounds (yes, yes, I did...consider that your small, harmless weight update without details!) would make me feel better - and it has. But lately, after bowling, my left hip has been hurtin' something awful. It's usually fine if I sit stationary, but getting up to get a water refill or to do simple household tasks - HURTS. It's been gradually happening; and most noticeable the days after league bowling. It'll feel better a day or two afterwards and then I go bowling again and am back at square one. I feel like an old lady. BUT y'all will be proud of me when I tell you I've ALREADY been to the doctor...better yet, TWO doctors. The first visit was to my primary care doctor, had to go see him in order to get the referral to the orthopedic. He was my second visit and took x-rays of my hips. He found nothing. It's not arthritis, it's not any other issue with my hip. He did ask me where exactly it hurt and when I pointed, he said based on the location, he feels it's more of a muscle/back strain, and prescribed 2x a day over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, ice after bowling (which I'm not going to do - I don't like ice) and physical therapy where they can work some of the muscles out and perhaps teach me some exercises I CAN do at home that may lead to my back/hip feeling better, overall. My first PT appointment is this coming Friday. I'll keep you all posted. Had my monthly visit with my mother, AKA 'Oompa Loompa.' She was supposed to come LAST week, but forgot that she had promised her free babysitting services to my sister, who had a wedding to attend. So the week before's visit was rescheduled to this past weekend. She arrived early on Saturday, we had lunch here (sandwiches) and she spent some time with the kids before they went back to their Dad's. Then, we actually did something we never really do with her - and we went to a movie - we saw Peppermint - not a very realistic flick, but still was nice to get out of the house and to go someplace where we didn't have to entertain each other by actually talking (see what I did, there?) to each other. When we got home, she went to sleep. That was the gist of Saturday - it was painless, it was 'busy' and she had time to enjoy her grandchildren during the day. Sunday was a little different - she needed the local craft store because my eldest niece will be turning 1 next month and she's making the centerpieces. So I drove us down to the Hobby Lobby - knowing fully well that I was going to be exposed to all sorts of FALL things as soon as I walked into the store. She went off looking for what she needed and I kinda lingered around where the garlands were. Lemme explain a little something else that I may not have shared before - I'm not a fan of the fall. I never was. When I was a kid, 'fall' meant school was starting and summer vacation was over. I hated school - I was constantly picked on and bullied - back in the 80's, they didn't have preventative measures in place so the kids that were fat, handicapped or different in any other way were getting bullied left and right - and because I was 'the pudgy deaf kid,' I was an easy target. When I was a late teen, the fall was the season when I started college as a freshman, and also the same time of year that I was raped. My 22-year anniversary is approaching - October 4th is the 'date.' I do have to say though things have gotten MUCH better, the looming season change has always been accompanied by triggers, memories, little ugly-cry fests (for no particular reason) and bouts of depression, moodiness, sluggishness, etc. I almost always feel crappy during this time of year. Even though many years have gone by since my assault, it's almost an automatic fuck-with-your-emotions-thing at this point. I however, DO like Halloween - I know it's a 'fall holiday' but it was always, ALWAYS my favorite. I loved the idea of being someone (or something) other than myself. I hated myself - why like me? No one else seemed to! But yeah, Halloween...too bad it only comes once a year, right? And there's CANDY...lots of it. That made it all worth it. I don't know if it would have made any difference, but when I finally walked out of that party where the assault took place, I did NOT see any Halloween decorations. The walk from the party site to the diner at a local intersection was not a long one, but still - considering the time of year, I was pleasantly surprised to not see any carved pumpkins. It might have been too early for that, though, the carved jack-o-lanterns don't usually come out until later in the month if not on Halloween night. I might also have not seen ANYTHING but the tear-blurred pavement in front of me. So, at the craft store, there is a section dedicated solely to Halloween - here, you have all your black, orange, green and purple wreaths, the window clings, your skeleton/skull stuff, your cobweb netting, other decorations that you can 'add onto' existing wreaths or garlands, (these are called 'bits') and so, so much more. You can literally go nuts in this store - and I did. I actually found more season-related items than I did Halloween - I do already have some things to decorate further with in the garage - last year's 75% off sales at Walmart were amazing for such findings. Anyway, what I DON'T have is too much generic 'fall decor.' The most I'd ever done was put out my (fake) sunflower bouquet and then when it got closer to Halloween, I'd put out some (also fake) pumpkins and gourds...if I'd made it to the supermarket for a real pumpkin, I'd carve it on All Hallow's Eve and put him out on the front steps for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy. So, I found some leaf, berry and pine cone 'bits' for half-price, then I found a 'fall leaves' garland that was lighted - my creative juices were flowing - I can't explain what came over me in that moment. Here I am, I hate the fall and I'm standing here, appreciating the prettiness of these fake leaves, acorns, etc. What the hell, man? I have no reason to have this idea but here I am, thinking about how I could pretty this garland up even further by adding the 'bits' to it and securing them with thin pieces of twine. I have a lovely mantle in my home that the finished product would look nice on. And so, I filled my cart with small items that I could add to the (also half-price) pre-lit garland. My mother, in the meantime, found everything she needed to put together centerpieces and met me up front. We paid for our items and were on our way home. Once it was quiet-ish, (as much as it could be with my mother's nonstop mouth) I laid out all my 'bits' and the garland on the floor in front of me. I then got to thinking as I began stringing together the garland and the bits - maybe I've been looking at it all wrong, all along? Yes, the fall will forever present as a 'bad time of year' for me, both because of being bullied at school and the sexual assault having happened in the fall. But the season really had nothing at all to do with what happened. People didn't treat me poorly because the air was chillier, because the leaves were changing colors, or because to was October. Hell, classmates or other people have fucked with me at least once or twice in the spring, summer, in the winter, my ex probably had made me cry at least once a month, so all bets were off as far as what my worst time of year actually was. My hatred of the fall really doesn't have to do with something so beautiful; maybe the gorgeous fall scenery should be a distraction rather than a reminder. Maybe instead of grumbling whenever I saw pretty colors up in the trees, I should have refocused on its natural beauty - for that's probably what I needed rather than focus on the ugly memories. I'd been holding onto this particular dislike of the fall for the wrong reasons - and for too long. I should add, this will be my second fall in an entirely new state - I remember last year's fall - we were still new to the area. I had to pick up my son from school daily, and so the drive through the back roads was always SO scenic and absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and then of course, in the winter after snow had fallen. So maybe new state = new slate? Is it time for me to seize back a love for those things that are natural? They ARE more beautiful here than they were in New York City! Plus, here, I was not abused or bullied. Here, I have no reason to dread the change from summer to fall. Here, I have a new life and am sure being three and a half hours away from where I was assaulted is a huge help. Perhaps I can learn to appreciate these things again, or even for the first time in as long as I can remember. I'll ATTEMPT to get a picture uploaded of my finished garland. I still have that irrational fear of the wasband coming across this blog and seeing all the things I've ever said about him, and as he's a frequent visitor in my home (kid transfers, holidays, drop-ins, etc) he knows what my mantle looks like and would be able to pick it out of a line-up (of mantles). I'll play with photoshop and see if I can't crop it a bit and make it a little less incriminating... I WILL say that despite my unspoken rule of having to hate anything having to do with the fall, it IS quite nice to look at - and I enjoy having it lit up in the evenings while we watch television or a movie. I feel at peace with my creation - and for the first time, with the season. Now, I FULLY expect to go through all the motions as my 'anniversary' nears - but perhaps this year, I will allow the scenery to provide me comfort rather than remind me of the inevitable - fall's going to come along every damn year - it's how I embrace it that matters. And perhaps this sudden burst of creativity will make this upcoming anniversary and anniversaries to follow a little bit easier. This year, I made a garland...and I think that on the 'anniversary,' I will make it a point to sit outside for a little while and take it all in. And next year, I'll do something ELSE to reclaim the fall - to take back what, all along, I should have been enjoying but couldn't. And that's progress! Hoping you're all having a good week. I'll update again soon - likely this weekend with a PT update. - Capulet