I didn’t sleep last night at all, and I feel like I’m going to throw up.
I’ve been doing so well. I’ve been eating healthy, sleeping eight hours a night, making sure I take care of myself—and letting the Mister take care of himself. I’ve stopped wallowing in self-pity, avoided self-destructive whims, and I’ve even managed to keep my bipolar fairly balanced.
I was proud of myself.
Then one conversation with a professor blows ALL of that. Alright let’s be honest, Dr. Keating isn’t just a professor. She’s my freaking idol. She is absolutely everything I would love to be twenty years from now. I want her to approve of the things I do, the thoughts I think. I want to feel like I’m a person she could respect.
So she isn’t just a professor.
But it was just one conversation, a conversation I opened myself up to when I first gave her the link for this blog. I guess that when she didn’t get the chance to read before I went private I assumed she wouldn’t find out. I was glad, relieved. But then I wrote a piece for a Zine her class made.
It wasn’t about that, it was about my self-image issues actually, and the way women of my shape are portrayed in the world. Yet while writing about my starvation in the fall, I had to admit to the things which had triggered my disorder. That included the rape.
It was a simple sentence written in the first person from September. “My world was crumbling around me; three weeks ago we discovered my fiancé may have a brain tumor, two weeks ago I was raped, and one week ago—one week ago I found out I may not be graduating from college after all.”
That is all I said, but it was enough apparently. When she complimented my baking skills, and asked to visit when I came to pick up my pan, it didn’t occur to me that she would have had the chance to read that yet. Grades are due in a week, there was no way she would have time. I had also dumbly hoped that whenever she did read it, she wouldn’t ask me about it. I never expected that from just that sentence she would unravel it all.
I should have expected it. She’s brilliant, that’s one of the many reasons I respect her. She listens and pays attention. She pieced together every essay I had written, every story I had told her, and every extra hour that I spent on campus. She suddenly understood, and she wasn’t afraid to ask. “It wasn’t the Mister, was it?”
My response was so quiet and dreadfully simple, “That is the wrong question Dr. Keating… the wrong question.”
I suppose the opposite was actually true, because all of a sudden I was pouring out everything I hadn’t said, while simultaneously assuring her that I am safe now, and I really do know what I’m doing. It felt good to be honest, to completely admit everything.
But I wanted her to be mad. I wanted her to tell me to get the fuck out of her office. I wanted her to tell me that I was a weak embarrassment to all women, and that she was obviously wrong about me from the start. I wanted her to be disappointed.
Instead, she told me I was strong. She told me I was courageous, and that she understood. And, after confirming that I am and will be safe, she WORRIED about the Mister, just like me. She asked about his brain scans, about what steps he was taking. She asked if he would be alright in Graduate school at a time like this. And after all that, as I left her office she congratulated us on our wedding. She genuinely congratulated us.
After giving me a list of phone numbers to call, a hug, and making me promise to keep in touch, I left her office feeling better than I had in months. Everything would be alright, I had everything under control.
At least I thought I did until I realized that I had just sat in a tiny room, admitting my greatest defeat to my greatest inspiration. When I realized that, and realized exactly what I had been talking about—well then every thought I had managed to quiet in the last months, every churning fear came bubbling to the surface, leaving me in the bathroom retching in the middle of the night.
I didn’t sleep, I couldn’t breath. My mind was on repeat, it just kept saying, this is happening. I was raped, and I’m marrying him. I was raped, and I love him. I was raped, and it wasn’t my fault, but it wasn’t his either. I was raped, and it’s getting better, but it isn’t going away. It isn’t going to go away.
I was raped, I stayed, and everyone knows.
At approximately 6:00 in the morning I made a decision. I can’t keep living like this. I can’t keep waking up in the middle of the night having complete panic attacks. I can’t keep forming unhealthy attachments to people, places, and object, simply because I feel like I need saving. I can’t keep wanting to break windows, punch walls, and burn the world.
I’m fucking exhausted, and I need to find a new method. So I called one of those numbers Dr. Keating gave me. I have an appointment with a therapist tomorrow at 3. We’ll see how this goes?
Thanks for reading, and for the unending support.
Behind my Books
Ps: I know that I went through a bit of this yesterday, but my mindset has changed, and I needed to write it all out. I needed to let the details flow. Sorry for the repeats, but I write for me most of all, and I needed this.