141156 Curiosities served
2016-02-20 11:28 PM
Thoughts on why, to be remembered
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[I may take this down tomorrow, or edit it, or not. It's about why I'm so fucked up and I've written it for me. I've read quite a lot recently about why we write and my reasons don't quite fit with other people's that I read, but mine at the moment are more about content and/or process than craft or art. So I haven't read this through yet, it's gone 2am and I'm off to bed.]
This may get heavy - well, I'll let you know - so you may want to opt out. I can see already that I'm dithering, prevaricating, continuing to try and steer away from the thing that I need to look in the eye. I mean, maybe I don't need to explore it here, but I think I want it out here as a statement at least. Or a few statements. I shall do them with numbers as that feels safer.
1. I have experienced symptoms of mental ill health these last couple of months such as I haven't known for fifteen years, but this time round I have more information, especially about shame, which can fuck off. (Guilt = feeling bad for things you did. Shame = feeling bad for who you are.) (I think.)
2. I'm talking obsessive thoughts and feelings which I know to be probably untrue, centring around the place where I live as a centre for (I'm going to go into silly writing as I don't want people coming here from googling nasty stuff), now I struggle to even say it as I can feel the disgust and outrage building up physically, but it's to do with children, ach you know what I mean, and women being kept and used against their will, passports stolen - I feel as if behind all these closed doors, net curtains, empty streets there are vile vile things being done. As if they happened in my house in the past. As if Bloke is implicated indirectly, not of doing anything himself but of failing to act to stop it happening. As if I am guilty of this too. As if I am dirty, unclean. And unsafe. Not that I fear things being done to me physically, but I do psychologically, as if I am being polluted and will become even more so. And I am shamed for not even trying to stop it.
3. I have been dealing with these feelings in a variety of ways. I have done fleeing, hiding, screaming and yelling and copious, man I mean copious amounts of weeping.
4. But I've also been thinking and noticing and remembering and that thing I was taught to do in my long recovery group all those years ago, of interrogating these feelings and searching out evidence for and against their veracity.
5. And what comes out is interesting, I think, and important. Because my first thought is: losing the plot? Losing the daughter, there's the cause. But it's not just that, is it? Because up come these memories, some of which flicker into my head every now and then before vanishing as if they'd never existed.
Let's make a little list.
1. Raped while unconscious, aged 19/20. Passed out in a 'friend's' parents' kitchen one night, at a small party, too much drink and assorted drugs - parents away. (To the sound of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, the sound of which has never failed to trigger a flashback, for decades before I even knew what a trigger was, or a flashback not associated with acid.) I remember being carried upstairs, ceremoniously, with someone at each corner. That's my last memory before the one where I wake up, naked, in a bed, the guy (who I'd never liked much) asleep next to me. As I moved I felt the evidence of sexual activity. I was out of there like a shot, not waking anyone, or even looking in the other rooms to see who else was still there. I didn't consider it rape for decades. It was my fault for being stupid, getting so wrecked, my fault I wasn't respected enough. I didn't think much of him for doing it when I was passed out cold - what kind of fucked-up-ness is that? But I didn't think of it as rape until relatively recently. It's even more recent that I had the sudden sickening realisation that they could all have had a turn. However many of them there were - some? All? About a year ago facebook asked me if I wanted to be friends with him, the guy whose parents' house it was, the one in the bed in the morning. That was fucking SHOCKING having his name on my computer in my house in 2015. So that's one thing. Which I forget with absolute totality for years on end. I can discuss this kind of event as if it's never happened to me, but it has.
2. My first husband raped me, except then it wasn't rape, because he was my husband and I'd agreed in law to make my body available to him for the rest of our lives so he was entitled to insist, which he did. Only a few times as I didn't like it so I left him, but it wasn't rape, it was my fault for being frigid, for being wrong, for having the wrong feelings at the wrong time. So that's another thing.
3. Writing this down makes me remember another time at a house party - I fought him off and he was angry but he let me go. He had his dick out though, and was trying to get my clothes out of the way. I was only fifteen then. He was so angry.
So that's it, really. Just those things. Which have happened to loads of my friends and family, variations of. And those of us brought up to believe rape is a thing that happens with evil strangers know that it must have been our fault, whatever it was that happened to us with these young men we knew, that left us feeling so different to how we felt before it had been done to us.
6. (Back to the pre-rape-list numbering) I mean for me, when it's come to counselling and stuff there's always been the mother dying when I was fifteen months old, the cold stepmother, the father's near-fatal accident, the drunken, violent second husband, yadda yadda. I don't even know if I've spoken about this to a mental health professional at all, until at this last assessment when it suddenly started to link up in my mind.
Why has this come to bite me now? Partly it's because of all the stuff that's happened over the last few years wearing down my strength and optimism and sanity. But also, another memory, back in the 80s, when I was a single parent with three small kids, always looking for work. I saw an ad for a job you could do from home, just needed a telephone, call the local council number. I called and was told the job was giving support to social workers who were dealing with "terrible things being done to children" and needed to offload before they went home. Not for me, thanks, but we chatted and she told me that this place where I now live had one of the highest rates in the country and the social workers found it very distressing. This was before it became a thing we all knew was really happening in our society - I guess it was just being revealed, but there were no proper systems in place. That was here.
And one of the neighbours has filled their garden (same size as ours, 90 ft by 30 ft) with a single story shed with no windows. The only person I have spoken to from that house was a young man who fucked me right off, very rudely, when I tried to speak to him in a neighbourly way. Now obviously, this is not evidence that anything bad is happening at all in that shed, but it looks like a place where anything at all could be going on. Films are made all over the place, in their hundreds of thousands.
I go round in a bit of a circle with this - it may not be happening here - may not be, probably isn't - who can say? Because even if I take the line that it definitely isn't happening here (which I try to), it most definitely is happening elsewhere. OK, another memory flash - add in teaching friends who have done Child Protection - it most definitely is happening nearby, and almost certainly on this estate, somewhere.
But my behaviour, thoughts, feelings - none of it's good and, the thing that I find interesting is the fucking power, the long-lasting, endless power of things done forty years ago. FORTY FUCKING YEARS.
And still they vanish. When I saw the person for the assessment, I remembered and told her and she asked if I'd ever done any PTSD recovery work around these events and I haven't and she said she thought it would be very helpful, as well as some bereavement support, but when I was telling my sister about it, it all vanished from my mind - I haven't spoken to her about it in decades - and I couldn't remember why I felt a little bit positive about the help I might get eventually, and then I started unravelling again.
That's all for now.
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