I’m too tired to write a proper post but I also need to get this out of my system. So here goes nothing…
Had a bit of a “oh…shit” breakthrough moment today. Haha. Don’t we just love those moments? I was in the middle of a rehearsal, and then I felt underwater (warning sign for flashback). I text one of the band members to give her heads up that I felt flashback and might need to causally dash out for no explained reason in the near future. She very kindly encouraged me to focus on the music for as long as I could but that I could leave at any point, so I did my best, but feeling safer knowing she was right there and aware and her encouraging text was very useful. However, soon the water levels were too high, and we finished a song and I left.
The flashback wasn’t very big. However, it seemed to upset me more than they usually do. It was “simply” a flashback of my Grandad raping me as a punishment for rehearsing piano rather than doing the housework (I guess first band rehearsal in a couple of months must have triggered this). The whole flashback was over within ten minutes. I cried quickly, wiped my eyes, calmed my breathing, and returned to rehearsal…feeling somewhat dazed, but okay enough to rehearse.
Afterwards, my friend asked if I was okay now. I nodded slowly and said “Yeah….it’s just hard. Because I re-live it. So effectively it happens right then. So effectively I was raped half an hour ago, and then returned to rehearsal…” she sighed and said “I know,” but in a way that seemed both comforting but also ‘yes it’s shit, but don’t dwell on it and get lost…stay strong.’ I appreciated it. Something clicked in my head, “it’s so shit that I’ve had to get used to this. That it’s normal.” She agreed with me on this and gave me a warm encouraging smile.
In the car I was thinking. It really is shit that this has been so normal for me. Not only the idea that re-living being raped followed by immediate rehearsal/work should be normal, but also that it hasn’t been uncommon in the last two years that I’d actually be raped/kidnapped/beaten up and, have a few minutes to calm myself down, and then have to go to a lecture/exam/rehearsal/meeting/other normal-life activity. It suddenly seemed impossible to comprehend. I could remember specific occasions where I’d disappeared for 15 minutes, returned shaking and white with a deep abdominal pain, having just been raped, and yet…I’d sit back at the computer, start replying to emails, and just push it to the back of my mind. What’s worse is I can remember my friends’ horrified/saddened faces because they could tell I’d been “got at”, and I never truly understood why they were so distressed. If I could shrug it off, why couldn’t they? But now I understand. Nobody should have to live a life where being raped is normal… now I want to give them all a hug and say I understand now, and that I’m so sorry…
I can remember frequent occasions of being thumped or beaten on the way to campus, and I’d just be careful to protect the bruised part of me for a few days, but I’d carry on as normal. On more extreme occasions I would spend an hour in a van with a whole group of them raping me, and then I’d go and do normal stuff as though nothing had happened.
How…how have I done this? Well, I know how. Dissociation is a wonderful thing. But also because it was so normal for me. My whole life had been like this – wake up, rape, school, home, beaten, rape, torture, homework, dinner, housework, rape, tv, piano, bed, rape.
But not normal anymore. Now my ‘normality’…or what was my ‘normality’ both terrifies me and upsets me immensely. I’m utterly heartbroken that they did so much horrific stuff to me throughout my life, that the idea of being raped and then attending or re-joining a rehearsal as though nothing had happened was so completely…normal. That they convinced me for so long that this was acceptable in my life. That this was just how life was.
For each of those times that I didn’t break down and cry my eyes out afterwards, I want to now. I really want to cry, very heavily, for all the crap I thought was normal and that I went through… but that in actual fact was a far away from normal as it could probably get… it was so wrong. So entirely wrong.
Progress I guess because I realise it was never normal. But such a realisation is quite…overwhelming…