Memories That Come To Life
“I feel no emotional connection to these outwardly human gestures.
I am not there, because I never left Afghanistan.”
― Jake Wood, Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War
We recently went to the “small, southern town” thinking that I could do some ‘special’ therapy there. This is a ‘trial and effort’ type of situation for us in dealing with my disorder. We soon realized that doing therapy and even being in the state was causing more harm than good. I couldn’t relax enough mentally or physically to be able to do the therapy. There are just too many harmful emotions and people that are associated with that area. When we do visit, I’m constantly watching EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Saying that someone is ‘safe’ doesn’t mean shit to me! I luckily don’t remember what all of what was said and done. I do remember how the feeling was like having my skin peeled off.
It’s a very conflicted feeling of wanting to be there but not wanting to step foot near that area. Most of my high school teammates, my parents, our really close friends, people who support us, the fields that I put my body on the line to be a good athlete, the great memories of the terms “team” and “family, and the house I grew up in. But also, are the memories of the all the abuse. I always make a point to go by and visit both my friends, former classmates and my grandmother’s grave at their respective cemeteries. I sit late at night next to the leftfield line where I experienced what the term ‘love’ was all about for the first time. I think many times about how much fun we had as players and the things we got away with because we were high school athletes. But, those thoughts always become overshadowed by what was going on, seemingly in another life.
I ride around that city and all I see and think is the horror that no one claims to know about but me. There are those that I know recall what happened to me with the teacher. They knew about it, knew it was wrong, and did nothing about it. Everywhere, I seem to go in that city is a very bad reminder of what happened. Some people have tried to say, “Just let the past go!” Tell me how and I’ll do it. That’s usually where the conversation about that ends. I usually feel like I can’t escape the ‘nightmare’ that I had already lived. I just wanted to go to my NEW home, Albuquerque. Petal will always be the town where I was raised, taught manners, good food and respect. But a lot of healing has to take place for me to be able to consider it anything other than a ‘nightmare.’ I have a lot of people there that I’m very close too. However, I can’t even enjoy a visit with them because I’m so on edge about everything.
I was told by my ex-husband about the molestation that, “that happened a long time ago, what in the hell can you do about it now?” I have never forgotten that statement. I instantly felt like I had been emotionally raped because it wasn’t a big deal to him. He told me later, “I have spoken with your parents about the molestation incident and they told me that they don’t believe that it happened because you would’ve told them about it.” I didn’t know it then, but they still had no idea what had actually happened. I had made sure of that for a very long time. I was devastated from what he told me. I figured that with him being my husband that surely he would be empathetic that it happened. I don’t know if he ever believed me or not. But, I do know that there was never any empathy shown towards me about that subject in any way. “Dana, it’s a &@*# play with it!” is not the way to help that person heal. It actually re-traumatizes them. I now know what he told me was a lie. All I’ll say about that topic is that I rarely talk about it because of the shame of the abuse.
I’m actually reading a book that is explaining exactly what ‘wife rape’ is. The book actually explains a lot to me. I find myself reading the same paragraph over and over at times. So, reading a book is usually a feat. I start seeing the canvas of words slowly form a picture of what looked like me. I read further and could so identify with some of the other survivors. I thought, “Now, I have an explanation for part of the 14 year ‘mind fuck.’” However, what I noticed is that slowly a repeat of an incident began to unfold. I couldn’t stop it. I was silenced. I saw his mouth and lips move. I saw the redness of his face. Some saw me as being lucky to be married to such a well known guy.
Unfortunately, his abuse was reserved for the party of 1…..me. He was different around other people. I knew him for who he was. He was the product of the abuse from his father. I was told, “There are no marks on you! No one will believe you anyway! You’re the one with the mental history!” Then the feelings began to rush to my heart, stomach and brain where the nausea and migraine ensued. I looked around and realized that I was sitting in my chair. For a split second, though, everything was very real but from a different time. I looked down and the book was still opened to the page I had been reading. I vaped a little mmj (medical marijuana) and then went and tried to relax in the bed while my body thought that I had just been on a run from a dog. Everyone else was already fast asleep.
Both my days and nights are like this at times. The visions and memories are so real, in fact, that vomiting often follows. It seems like it never ends. I hope for better days sometimes. Right now, it feels like I’m feeling it all over again. All I know to do it hit it, whatever it is, ‘head on each time.’ Even if you are scared, you NEVER dodge an opponent! You always step on the court or up to the plate ready to play ball!