Man is she a bitch. Or maybe he is. My memories. Or my nightmares. This one, I keep thinking I've lassoed it, tied it up good and tight, in the corral, no in the barn locked up tight. And dammit if someone doesn't open that barn door. Usually me. But prompted by someone else. Someone like a therapist. Someone that knows what they are doing but unfortunately, can't get that nightmare back in the barn in those 15 minutes left of your session when you finally admitted what happened.
"Oh but I've dealt with it. Forgiven and gone on. He's dead. I've moved on. I'm over it." Except I'm not. Or I would have told her about it the first time I saw her. I told myself I was just testing the waters to see if we were a fit. No need to drag all that out if we weren't going to mesh. Truth is, I wanted to hide it from her. I wanted to pretend it hadn't happened. I wanted to be "normal."
We talked about how often it happens. One in four. One, two, three, four. I can be volunteering at school and know that if there are five of us there, it's very likely that one other woman has had this happen to her. She has my nightmare or something similar. And once you say it happened to you...women come out of the woodwork admitting it happened to them. Or at least that has been my experience. Or they don't. But I know, I can tell by the way they drink too much, or keep their arms around themselves make themselves small or big, it happened to them too.
Memory. Yeah, it's a bitch. Let's not give it a gender. It sneaks up on you in the most inopportune moments. Makes you feel small, insignificant and helpless, all over again. You get stuck in that place of memory. And getting back out, it takes some strength. Some people stay locked in their nightmares, never escaping. But that isn't where I want to be. I did not survive my childhood to be paralyzed by it. So ugly dirty thoughts come to me again. The self loathing and despising my body comes again. But I will pass through on the other side. My nightmares will not hold me back. Time to open the barn door. Let them run at me. I have hands to hold to help me through their ugliness.
And then I'll pick myself up. I'll start over. I wasn't beaten as a child. I certainly won't be beaten as an adult.
I just can't quite announce that label yet. Not yet. But one day, I will proudly wear that badge. Until then, I'll battle the nightmares 55 minutes at a time once every other week. And hope to keep the barn door closed til then.