04 June 2021

0 where to begin

i think straight men have forgotten how to ask questions. this is my conclusion from the dating apps. 

i no longer fear sounding shrill. what i fear is sounding bitter. 

zana (the massage therapist) said i should try hinge. that was my homework. so i did it. like that was going to have some effect on the pain in my arm. but the straight men, they do not ask questions. they have forgotten how to have a conversation. or maybe they never knew. 

it's bizarre, being erased in your own conversation. 

i refuse. i am not here for that. 

i have something to say here but i don't know what it is. 

keep writing, i tell my students. fill up all the space. even when you don't know where you're going, keep writing. 

i want them to feel comfortable with their words. 

i am writing again. 

i count it as a victory that i have been writing through the last few months. i am attaching words to where i am, which seems crucial given the necessity of words by which to locate one's self. 

i do not want to write about the rapes. 

i do not want to be someone who only writes about rapes. 

i don't have therapy this week. 

every time i take a week off, i wind up in some state of crisis and i have to call her. 

nina. her name is nina. my therapist is nina. 

the massage therapist is zana. 

my rapist was nate. so i can't swipe right on any of them. or the clarks. 

he wrote me around my birthday in 2019. clark. the guy in college. 

that is a part of this, i know. i am bracing. i've not heard from him since then, but the threat persists. he could surface.

this must be so boring to read! some bitter woman banging on about all this. 

but i'm struck by the differences. 

i've signed up for a lecture on writing about sexual assault. it's being led by someone who was raped by a stranger while walking in a park. 

i envy that. i fucking hate myself for envying that, but i do. 

a stranger might be easier. or at least different. and more random. 

these other people, these people who know you, who you're involved with and attracted to and dating. it's so fucking messed up. 

it is so fucking messed up. 

not just that this happens but that it happens so casually. that it is so easily confused for dating. 

i remember the first time, on his nephew's bunk bed. i've written about that already. 

i remember the time in his mother's shower. i think he may have said "i've got you." because i was afraid of slipping and falling and getting caught. because i was trying to stop it. 

i remember the time on the stairs at my parents' house. i do not remember him. what i remember is listening, straining to listen because my hearing is bad and i wanted to be sure to hear the popping of garebear's toes. 

always, his toes are a giveaway. always, they pop. ever since i was a little girl, when he'd try to sneak up on me, i'd catch him because of his popping toes. 

but garebear didn't come. his mother didn't come. no one ever came. 

k.clen sent me pre-birthday balloons today. and it mattered more than i can tell you. more than i can even tell her. 

i am, currently, i feel, existing in a state of deliberate messiness. 

i am seeking refuge in a state of deliberate messiness. 

k.clen sent me pre-birthday balloons and i took photographs of thanks...

a process which yielded the most accurate representation of how i feel i am right now: 

this was written several weeks ago, i don't quite remember when. it did get better. 

i'm in memphis. on the way, i saw lindear. i'd arrived exhausted, battered by an abusive phone conversation along the way, drained by the ten-hour drive, wearing no make-up and dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt. lindear greeted me in a fashion forward jumpsuit and visible bra. while i talked to her daughter, she went and changed, so our fashions would be a better match. 

i'd made a joke beforehand that even if we just met in a mall parking lot, i'd be fine with that. and that was exactly what we did-- sitting in a closed up car together for two hours in the parking lot of the mall of our youths, sharing back and forth our stories of life lately. then spending a solid half hour figuring out our order of cracker barrel take-away to be eaten on her back porch. 

when we said goodnight, i saw her child-- who we joke is my daughter because our aesthetics are uncannily similar-- had taken care to tuck the stuffed bear i sleep with into bed. 

it's such a gift, to feel truly, generously physically and emotionally cared for by those you love. i recognize that for the luxury it is. and i recognize, though it probably doesn't come out here because this is where i process, how extravagantly blessed i have been, particularly in the women who love and care for me. 

when i drove up, my parents were sitting in lawn chairs in the garage, awaiting my arrival like people camped out for a royal wedding. seriously. there is no better way to be greeted after a year and a half apart. i will expect to be greeted in this manner from here on out.  

yesterday, my therapist said she was very, very proud of me and it felt like being given a gold sticker. 

being alive is often painful and difficult but life is also very very good. 

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