I had a nice birthday. In the early afternoon, I went out canoeing on the oxbow of the Connecticut River. This oxbow:
Well, okay, it doesn’t look quite like that anymore–there’s 1-91, bridges, and a bunch of pollution and dead fish. It was still gorgeous, though. Sunny and warm, but not too hot. And I saw a heron and what we were pretty sure was a bald eagle. (It was too high up to tell for sure, but it was definitely a bird of prey and definitely too big to be a hawk or falcon.)
Then I had dinner with my friend Sarah. Dinner itself was unremarkable, but it’s the first time I’ve had a real conversation with her in, god, more than two years. We’ve talked since she’s come to Windhorse, but we hadn’t had a real conversation. I’d forgotten how good it is to spend time with someone who really gets me. I don’t have anyone else like that in my life anymore.
But then I got triggered. I have this weird delayed-reaction trigger thing that happens sometimes. We were talking about our families and how much of both my parents I see in myself. Sarah was trying to convince me I’m not the same as them, but I don’t think anyone will ever really convince me of that. She asked me during the conversation if I was okay, and I told her I was. I honestly thought I was. There are times I can talk about my parents and be okay with it. I didn’t feel upset or freaked out, so I assumed I was fine.
But then it’s 10:00, dark out, and I’m walking home alone. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s only a few blocks farther from my apartment than the kung fu school, and I walk home from there in the dark all the time. But I was freaking out. Everything was a threat, from people to bushes. I flinched every time a car drove by. Even when I got home, with the door locked, I kept panicking. I live right by the police station, and when a cop car drive past with the blue lights flashing, I was terrified it was my father. I knew I was being crazy, but I couldn’t stop. I took an extra 600 mg of gabapentin with my night meds just to get my heart rate back down.
Since then, I’ve been feeling kind of crappy. Not like pre-Deplin depressed, more of a PTSD-depressed thing. And then I feel guilty for feeling crappy–what right do I have? I had a good birthday, and I’m acting like a spoiled brat about it.
There’s also this thing that happened with the dermatologist on Thursday. The biggest spot of eczema was on my thigh, so I had to put on one of those really flattering gowns. My legs are covered with bruises from kung fu, but I didn’t really think much about it until the doctor asked me if I was being abused. I told him no, it was kung fu, but I’m afraid he didn’t believe me. Isn’t that always how it happens on TV? The woman always comes up with some excuse for the bruises.
I was telling Sarah about this because I couldn’t figure out why it freaked me out so much.
“Because nobody ever asked when you actually were being abused,” she said. It didn’t even take her time to figure it out.
Of course. It made perfect sense when she said it. Nobody ever asked. Nobody asked when I went to the doctor over and over for urinary tract infections and urinary retention. Nobody asked when I got in trouble at age 5 for masturbating during kindergarten class. Nobody asked when I started having nightmares and wetting the bed. Nobody asked when my elementary school grades started dropping because I was so depressed. Nobody asked when I started trying to kill myself. Nobody asked in high school when I got caught cutting and starving myself. They didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell. Now they start asking when I’m finally not being abused, when the bruises really did come from doing kung fu. Why the fuck didn’t anyone ask when it mattered?
I’m just so angry and hurt and sad. I feel abandoned. Was I not worth caring about or asking? I thought I was really good at hiding it, then, but in retrospect, I can see so many of the hallmarks of an abused child. It wasn’t that I was good at hiding; it was that the adults around me were good at ignoring. It was a long time ago, but it hurts like it was yesterday.