Every now and again, I stand back, and wonder what in the world I’m doing. This is one of those times.
I’ve just made it through the first of the two stressful weekends that I have previously mentioned. I don’t remember much about the past weekend… just the noise (a group of librarians is very noisy), the suffocating crowds, the alcohol, and the panic… the ever-present panic.
People laughed during my presentation, but apparently it was because I was funny… go figure! I was even congratulated afterwards by my bullying ex-manager… although, I always wonder what her motives are for anything that she does, doubly so when it seems positive towards someone else. Yes, paint me suspicious. She did seem genuine though… it was a little unsettling, to say the least.
I tried so hard to stay safe… I went back to my room early, I went for a walk to take photos… I avoided obvious triggers. But, by Saturday night, things were starting to crumble. The drive to get hurt was incredible. The pressure of presenting to a large group of influential people; trying to act sane; and having to eat dinner in front of others, was too much… The only thing that kept me safe, was an inability to access methods of self-injury.
People have tried to tell me that getting through the weekend uninjured was an accomplishment. So, why does it feel like a failure? A part of me is very confused, and feels rejected by the lack of pain… in some warped way, it’s almost as if I wasn’t “good” enough to be hurt. Allison tried to explain the theory behind the feelings to me, but that brought little comfort. Instead, it has upped the stakes for the coming weekend…
This weekend, I’m returning to my home-town for my birthday. There are positive plans, such as wanting to see the ocean, and taking photos of some of the parks around the city; but there are also plans to go to the rugby club, and school where I was abused. I need to go alone to these places. I need to see what they look like… are they as I remember them? Have they changed? Will being there trigger any memories? Will I see any of the men who abused me?
I read that paragraph, and realise the insanity of it. What do I hope to accomplish? Nothing positive can come from it. If they look the same, what will it prove? I know that memory is influenced by a variety of factors, so it wouldn’t ease my denial, or magically resolve my questions… so, what is the point?
All I can think of, is that it is a futile bid for acceptance over the past. But, it’s unlikely that the men who abused me will be willing to sit down and reminisce. It’s not really a fit topic of discussion to have over drinks on a Saturday afternoon, is it?
Strangely, the part of me who wants to go back to the club, doesn’t want to see the abusers. I want; no, need to see the building, that’s all. I want to see the men’s toilets, the changing rooms, the downstairs bar, and the office. The place must be empty. If there were people there, it would make it too real. It would give faces to the shadows, and that isn’t wanted.
There’s a clinical detachment in knowing their names, without seeing their faces. A form of safety… denial. I’m a librarian, I could find their pictures if I wanted… but, I destroyed all of my childhood pictures, so why would I want to see their faces? Seeing their faces would be like having proof that I remembered them for something… that they mattered…
I know that so much of my thinking is a study in contrasts, as well as a dash of very young logic. It’s becoming a constant struggle to stay grounded in the present… The past and present seem to be merging more often. I’m losing more time. The intellectual part of me is struggling with the infirmity of it all… there’s a need to get back on solid ground now, and ignore all of these diversions… The thing that is so confusing, is that I don’t know what is the diversion anymore… is it work, the dissociation, or the past?
I know I’ll be fine this weekend. I know it will be a jolt to be back in my hometown, but I do have many good memories there… It may feel like a path to destruction, but that’s my anxiety talking… I need to listen to it, understand, and acknowledge it; but also reality check it all.