Fragments… just bits and pieces flying around inside my head.
That’s what the last week has been like. Nothing tangible to hold onto.
The only constant are feelings of disgust. I feel dirty, disgusting, sub-human… unclean. I don’t think the layers of filth can be, or will ever be, removed. It is part of me as surely as the colour of my eyes. It is a part of me, and I am a part of it.
I think I could handle it, if all of the fragments flying around my head were of horror. Horror has the ability to sweep you away in a dissociative haze of lost time. But when there are everyday scenes intermingled with the horror, it makes you pause. You pause and look. You turn the fragment around, inspecting it from all angles. You look into the heart of it, and only then do you see the horror. The unmitigated horror of seeing how brazen and normal the abuse was. In those everyday scenes, you see the range of emotions on the faces around you – discomfort, curiosity, embarrassment, and the knowing smiles. What they don’t know, is that they are being manipulated. This is part of their entrance exam into the Old Boys Club. They all pass. Even the ones who question the young girls presence in a place she shouldn’t be, with their joking protests quickly turning into silent observation.
It was the perfect scenario. There was no obvious abuse, but it was implied. Every person in the room probably knew that something was wrong, but there was nothing tangible that they could take to the authorities. It opened the door to silent consent, and they walked through. They became accessories; and in order to ease their own conscious, they will stay forever silent. They didn’t see anything, after all. Just a young girl with her father walking by the shower room. He might not have known that the team were in there. They’re both hearing impaired, after all.
It changed the way those men looked at me. Some of them turned away more quickly. Some saw through me more readily. Some smiled, and beckoned me over more often.
Then the memories of horror draw you into their grip. Grounding techniques are lost in the wave that overwhelms and batters your mind.
But still, you force the smile and talk inanities to the person asking about patron upload problems.
You pack up the box of horrors for another time. Stamp down the lid and push it backwards. You hope that you never have to look at the box again. But, you know you will. Not because of the memories in the box, but because of the emotions it evokes. There is anger at looking at the horror, and anger at looking away. In a world of no-wins, I walk the minefield of navigating the present, while trying to understand and heal from the past.
It’s all done in the hope of having a future. My father took me past the shower room in order to have a future that he wanted. I walked past that shower room because I had no concept of choice. Despite often losing my way, I do have choices now. I have choices based on experience, education and understanding. The only thing more soul-destroying than the abuse, is seeing how I seem to make choices which encourage, or perpetrate self-abuse.
I know that there should be a positive note to the end of this, but there isn’t. I sit here at work, looking at the huge pile of work that is expected of me. I feel the effects of the medical problems which I was told yesterday will require minor surgery. I feel the dissociation starting – the slight fuzziness at the back of my head which is creeping forward steadily. It’s difficult to find that positivity, when the layers of stress in the present, add to the layers of horror from the past. Your head becomes a maelstrom of emotions, and the only relief is dysfunctional coping.