Saturday, October 23, 2010

I haven´t accomplished much of that

Not yet, anyway. I´ve traveled enough to know that I need it like books and air and dancing. I´ve traveled enough to know that the samosas they sell at the tube stop in London are perfect in the rain, that your breath at an airport in Singapore is heavy and wet with orchids, that Montreal in winter is beautiful grey and blue, and that Australia is just like I imagined it, except better. I´ve traveled enough to know you don´t need a map for trips in a country where you have the language and some currency--just time, an ability to enjoy it, a sense of adventure.

The boy I fell in love with was a terrible lead, but it didn´t make him less wonderful. I forgot to imagine that he wouldn´t fall in love with me, or the mess that would ensue. Hard to say if I want to let go. Wouldn´t it be worse to lose the pain, wouldn´t it be letting go of the good parts too? When I may not find them again?

I never won anything significant in ballroom, but there were moments in ballet class that I would want to live in forever if I could make them keep going. I got a rare but substantial education, mostly by reading chapters at a time and listening to interesting people talk. I won bouts with people twice my size in jujitsu. I learned enough math to see for myself that it can be beautiful, and to not be daunted by any numbers that get used regularly in the real world, even by economists. I have a house, a sort of home maybe. . . maybe. With time.

But there have been other areas of richness--and that´s what I´m after, really, richness of experience--that were not the things I dreamed about.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I think the teen years are important

because that´s when you can first start to see who you are and what you might want to do with your life. People used to ask me what I wanted, and I was a little shy of words; I wanted my life to be good. I wanted it to be rich, and full, and. . . something. I didn´t know exactly what.

I think I imagined wandering the capitals of Europe with only a backpack, staying behind a few days here and there to linger with interesting strangers, stealing naps in parks in the afternoons and crashing exhausted at a hostel in the early hours of the morning. I imagined playing my harp in the parks for strangers all over France. I imagined being the middle school teacher who performed Nirvana for class with the amp turned up, found a way to harness all that innocent idealism, and discussed the geopolitical implications of shoe choices. I imagined speaking five languages and wallowing in Dostoevsky and learning to knife fight. I imagined running, climbing, crossing India and north Africa on camel back, spending an entire summer on the Appalachian trail. I thought of joining the foreign service.

I imagined winning college ballroom competitions, falling in love with somebody smart, insightful, and kind who was also a great lead, and then teaching English with him at a tiny school in China where we´d both learn Mandarin and Tai-Chi. I imagined building a three-room, off-grid house of straw bales, with a dance studio, a huge claw footed tub, and a sleeping loft that doubled as a library. I imagined forty acres with goats and a soccer pitch, a forest and a running trail paved with soft sand where I could train barefoot every day I was home. I imagined that someday there would be at least one book, natural as hair turning gray, once I had something clear to say.

Very little of that has come true, but I have succeeded in some things. I have become only moderately unhappy, an accomplishment I refuse to be ashamed of. Even though it´s not enough.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I wrote another post, and now I can´t find it. It was about rape crisis team training. Rape crisis team training, two weeks of studying rape for several hours a day. Everyone needs a hobby?

Maybe I´ll post it later, but for now I will say this. Here is the nightmare part: After more than forty hours of intensive training on child abuse and nearly two years as a CASA, I didn't make it through rape crisis team training. For a month and a half I couldn't sleep more than a few hours at a stretch. I made plans to lay out sheets of plastic in the back yard to contain the blood splatter, and thought about buying a gun. I spent my mornings alone in the bright sunlight, crying uncontrollably and trying to keep the nausea from swallowing me whole.

Maybe it takes me, or someone similarly fucked up, to have drama associated with rape crisis training, but drama there was. I was fragile as hell, abrasive, moving my car each day after training got out so that no one could see me when I broke down immediately after class. They agreed I shouldn´t be on the team and I couldn´t argue with that, but I did want to talk about it, wanted to understand. They asked me not to talk or ask questions in training. They said I wasn´t right for the team at this time. Later they said I wasn´t right for it at all.

And here is the not-nightmare part: Rape crisis training woke me up. It made me realize how much my past was still effecting me, but it also made me realize something could be done. It made me realize that maybe, maybe my life could be different.

So the third time I seriously considered buying a gun, I put myself on check-ins with family, let them know what was going on.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Industrial strength emo, now with triggers! No, seriously. This is your trigger warning.

It gets old sometimes, to always be about becoming. I wish so desperately sometimes that I would get there, get somewhere. If you're a "joy in the journey" type, know that some journeys are not enjoyable. It's not that my life doesn't have good times in it. I've had many good times, but on the whole it hasn't been good. I mentioned the possibility of suicide in my journal almost as soon as I could write, and yesterday I found an old assignment from high school where I was supposed to make a poster about my hopes and dreams, but I only drew a tombstone.

At the time I thought it was funny; it's not a morbid tombstone, it's light and pretty, brown on a white page with flowers and grass all around. I'm not obsessed with death, just very sad. And as much as I would like to say, "it doesn't matter, I'm over it, what happened two decades ago is staying in the past," it's not. It matters every day. It's impossible to say how you would be different if you hadn't been raped and neglected when you were very young; you can only guess.

Personally, I guess that I would not be obsessed past reason with gender, feminism, and violence. I guess that I would not be afraid of people. I guess that other people wouldn't find me to be as difficult, as standoffish, as prickly. I guess that I wouldn't be overwhelmed by emotions, past the point of coping, most days. I guess that I would at least have a shot at a healthy relationship with food. I guess I wouldn't wish I had not been born; I guess I would not find both abstinence and abortion preferable to the sick feeling I get when I think that I might put a child through something like my life.

Usually when I lie, it is because I'm afraid I would not be believed if I told the truth. This is the truth. I don't know what you would think if you saw the things I lived through when I was a kid. I don't know if you would believe that it was enough to justify how much I hurt. I am afraid you will think I'm just constitutionally disposed against being able to handle life. I am afraid you'll think I'm faking. I'm afraid I am faking. Sometimes I have to startle myself with the objective facts, remind myself that this is real.

Over the next few entries, I will be telling some of my story.