I haven’t seen Barbados

*Deeeeeeep Breath*  Ok.  I’ve been avoiding writing about my assault.  I just don’t even know where to start.  It’s been 16 years- nearly half of my life has now been defined by the fallout.  It’s hard to separate the parts of me born of the rape from the parts that were always intrinsically me.  I just can’t remember anymore.  But my anxiety has been getting worse.  Now I have these crazy tremors and my legs and jaw just randomly shake no matter what I’m doing.  It’s getting a lot harder to cope with all this stuff.

I have therapy later today.  I haven’t slept in two days and I feel like it’s time we start talking more about the trauma.  So I pulled out my trauma binder.  In the few years shortly after the rape I participated in a lot of group and individual therapy.  I have this notebook full of my own notes, homework assignments and some cool handouts.  I found this poem and it’s what I want to share:

 
The Rape Poem
by Marge Piercy (This poem first appeared in “Red War Sticks”)
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Apr/May 1975

There is no difference between being raped
And being pushed down a flight of cement steps
Except that the wounds also bleed inside.
There is no difference between being raped
And being run over by a truck
Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.
 
There is no difference between being raped
And being bitten by a rattlesnake
Except that people ask if your skirt was short
And why you were out alone anyhow.
 
There is no difference between being raped
And going headfirst through a windshield
Except that afterwards you are afraid
Not of cars
But half the human race.
 
The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
Like a maggot in garbage.
 
Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
All of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pinewoods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
Without that aluminum in the mouth
When I see a man climbing toward me.
 
Never to open the door to a knock
Without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges,
The back seat of the car, the empty house
Rattling keys like a snakes warning.
The fear of the smiling man
In whose pocket is a knife
Waiting to glide its shark’s length between my ribs.
In whose fist is locked hatred.
 
All it takes to cast a rapist is to be able to see your
Body as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
Your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.
 
All it takes is to push what you hate,
What you fear into that soft alien flesh.
To bucket out as invincible as a tank
Armored with treads without senses
To possess and punish in one act, To rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
Live in the leafy flesh open to love.
 
 

The first half of the poem especially speaks to me.  The wounds on the inside, invisible, invalidated by those who can’t understand.  I debated sharing a video with this post or not, and I think I’m going to link to a live performance of Tori Amos’ “Me and a Gun.”  Just a warning- this song is pretty triggering.  I couldn’t listen to it for years.  But now I watch this video and I see the very real emotion in her eyes and hear it in her voice.  This is a video that can bring me to tears.

 

 

Lyrics in case you’d like to read them:

“Me And A Gun”

5am
Friday morning
Thursday night
Far from sleep
I’m still up and driving
Can’t go home
obviously
So I’ll just change direction
Cause they’ll soon konw where I live
And I wanna live

Got a full tank and some chips
It was me and a gun
And a man on my back
And I sang “holy holy” as he buttoned down his pants
You can laugh
It’s kind of funny things you think
at times like these
Like I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this
Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed
And I know what this means
Me and Jesus a few years back
Used to hang and he said
“It’s your choice babe just remember
I don’t think you’ll be back in 3 days time
So you choose well”
Tell me what’s right
Is it my right to be on my stomach
of Fred’s Seville

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

And do you know Carolina
Where the biscuits are soft and sweet
These things go through you head
When there’s a man on your back
And you’re pushed flat on your stomach
It’s not a classic cadillac

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

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Wish that I could sleep

Hate nights like this.  I tried to go to bed, but my mind just races and my feet are spazzing out all over the place, so I got up.  I’m not tired at all right now and it’s 3am.  But I don’t feel like DOING anything either.  Tried to watch TV, can’t get into it.  Did some crochet but my hands can only do that for a little while these days.  Games on the computer that I usually love are NOT holding my interest.  I took an ambien 2 hours ago hoping that would help but so far no go.  Dunno, just not sure what to do to pass the time right now.  It’s definitely not for lack of things to do… I’m surrounded by them, including boxes of papers and junk that need to be sorted and filed or thrown away.  House cleaning, art projects, etc.   I’m just not interested in any of them right now.  My therapist said this week, “Fake it until you become it.”  And I get it.  I just don’t want to right now.  There’s too many things I want to become and I can’t decide where to start faking it.  We talked about unraveling from my fetal position that I”m working so hard to protect myself in.  And I’m torn.  Part of me is jumpy and has energy and wants to accomplish something and part of me wants to wrap myself back up and ignore it all.  And I can’t quite seem to get both feet in either place right now.  How do people pass  the time when they are in that space?  Really.  Cause I don’t know.

The Moment to Fight (IBD part 3)

So I’m hoping I can get to the present time with the rest of my IBD story in this post.  After the 2nd surgery, I had a really rough time.  I felt sick and weak all the time, like I was going to pass out at any moment.  I also found that the more exhausted I got I would start throwing up or dry heaving.  Even taking a shower was difficult.  After about a month, I found I had an abscess in my stomach.  So I had to start antibiotics for that.  Cipro and Flagyl.  I have since found that taking antibiotics in high or regular doses for an extended period of time gives me HUGE anxiety.  I don’t know why but I want to crawl the wall and rip my hair out.  It’s awful.  My surgeon ended up admitting me for a few days because by that time I was incredibly dehydrated and still had the abscess.  They gave me a PICC line (which is kind of a long term IV that goes up through your upper arm and a tube is inserted right near your heart).  I was able to get fluids and antibiotics through the PICC line daily for a couple of weeks – I’d just go into the infusion center everyday and have it done.  WORLD OF DIFFERENCE.  I finally started to feel human again.  I was still having trouble with my ostomy which now leaked constantly.  I’m not kidding that I figured out what sort of appliances I needed to fix it just about a week before takedown.  I still have so many different ostomy supplies sitting in a box it’s not even funny.  Part of me still worries though that I’ll need them someday and they are frickin’ expensive!  So, not ready to get rid of them just yet.

Anyway, the abscess set my take-down back an extra month but by mid-march I was ready!  I headed into what was supposed to be a short surgery, but because I had so much scar tissue, again, it took much longer than planned.  And I ended up with a VERY large incision in all the way up past my bellybutton.  I used to think it looked sort of like a vine with the staple scars and used to think about getting some sort of flowery tattoo there, but it has faded a lot in the last year.  It again, took me about 10 days for my stomach to start acting right again but I felt like a new person when I left.  They told me the first few months could be difficult and they weren’t kidding.  I still had bowel control problems and a lot of pain.  “Butt Burn” is a common gift you get with a J-pouch.  This is because the Large Intestine no longer absorbs the enzymes your stomach produces and so your stool really irritates the skin.  You don’t travel without Desitin or something, ever.  Lydocaine, Calmoseptine, I’ve tried a lot of creams!

Unfortunately it started to seem like things were getting worse, not better, as time went by.  I was constantly needing pain meds, which no one wanted to give me, but I had fissures and hemorrhoids and just pain all the time.  I finally told the doctor I was about ready for a permanent ostomy.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.  After another exam, she decided she could remove the hemorrhoids, possibly fixing the fissure, and we would give Humira a try, just as one last shot before the ostomy.  FINALLY, things started to get better.  I still have some control issues, but it’s nothing like before.  I don’t leave the house without my emergency kit (change of pants, depends, wipes, and cream) and I still hate traveling.  I usually take a lot of meds to slow things down and stop my bowel action so I can get out and about with a little less anxiety.  It’s never a sure thing, and sometimes I think there’s a good chance I will still have an ostomy in the future.  But right now, the Humira is helping.  Before Humira I was in the bathroom at least 30 times a day, now it’s about half that and it’s possible the j-pouch will continue to improve.  So FINGERS CROSSED!

I know I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the procedures, but that’s because there are much better blogs out there than mine for that- Before surgery, I read http://www.bloodpooptears.com and then I relied a lot on http://www.j-pouch.org.  Both sites gave me a lot of info on what to expect and what to keep expecting as I am still making this journey.

For me this has just been a long, exhausting, confusing couple of years.  Life has changed.  I have changed.  I’m still trying to figure out who I am now.  But I’ve survived this long… I intend to keep doing it!

——————————————

While I was in the hospital and sick at home, I watched a lot of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  A lot of people don’t get why I love these shows, but this is the video that tries to explain it, I guess.  Heroes that keep fighting.  It’s also one of my absolute favorite fanvids ever.  So hope you enjoy…. “The Whedonverse: This is War” by MrMorda898

Celebration

I hold an ancient artifact, newly discovered.  Encased in years of doubt, anger, shame, fear.  I chip away at the hardened areas, every revelation a new reason to celebrate.  I brush away at the muddied, finer areas, frustrated in the tediousness, but letting the tears allow the goddess to glisten and glow.  For years she has been hidden away waiting to be found, and she is ready.  Ready to show her beauty and art and soul to the world around her.  Ready to celebrate.

——————-

I usually take a bath before bed because it helps me relax and hopefully sleep better.  Plus I’m just not much of a morning person.  But this quiet morning I felt the urge to take a bath.  Baths are kind of a ritual for me.  I have the bath salts, essential oils, soaps, a soft sponge, whatever will turn it into the best experience.  Today I felt drawn to my Green Valley Spa Fairy Dust salts, “Celebrate” (orange) in particular.  And as the water ran in and I began to relax, the above thoughts came to me.   The words were much better then, but the image the same.  I have a difficult time meditating usually, but this was so clear to me, I was deeply touched and wanted to share.  Sometimes I love the silence of the morning, so rather than include a song or video, I’m just going to leave this post in stillness.  Thanks for reading.

Dangerous Beauty

Just a quick post.  I watched one of my old favorite movies tonight (Dangerous Beauty), and it still brings me to tears in the end.  The look of conviction and serenity on her face as she refuses to lie to save her self while telling the truth of her life as a courtesan.  It just touches me somehow and I cry everytime.  I don’t know how much of this movie is based on the REAL story of Veronica Franco, but I find nearly every word of it just beautiful.  She is a strong woman in a historic setting.  She makes her choices and she does not apologize for who she is.  Something I hope to be more of all of the time.  I could only find one youtube clip of her confessing at the Inquisition, but I’m going to include it because it is the part of the movie where I start losing it!

Highly recommend this movie (nudity and language warning- not in the clip but in the movie- but I think it’s worth it).

 

 

Heart in Hand

You’ve had a rotten day today.   Nothing changes that.  But when you read this, know that I love you and am so deeply grateful for the time and support you give me.  You are a good mother.  Thank you.

 

“Good Mother” by Jann Arden

I’ve got money in my pocket,
I like the color of my hair.
I’ve got a friend who loves me,
Got a house, I’ve got a car.
I’ve got a good mother,
and her voice is what keeps me here.

Feet on ground,
Heart in hand,
Facing forward,
Be yourself.
I’ve never wanted anything.
No I’ve, no I’ve, I’ve never wanted anything,
so bad..(so bad).

Cardboard masks of all the people I’ve been
Thrown out, with all the rusted, tangled
dented God Damned miseries!!
You could say I’m hard to hold,
But if you knew me you’d know,
I’ve got a good father,
And his strength is what makes me cry.

Feet on ground,
Heart in hand,
Facing forward,
Be yourself.
I’ve never wanted anything,
No I’ve, no I’ve, I’ve never
wanted anything so bad..(so bad).

I’ve got money in my pockets,
I like the color of my hair.
I’ve got a friend who loves me,
Got a house, I’ve got a car.
I’ve got a good mother,
and her voice is what keeps me here.

Feet on ground,
Heart in hand,
Facing forward,
Be yourself.

Heart in hand,
Feet on ground,
Facing forward,
Be yourself.
just be yourself.
just be yourself.

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