27 March 2021

0 claude is home (/texts to my rapist)

i am home. we are home. we all of us, in my tiny family, are home. 

we are both of us housed in a place wherein i have not yet been raped.

the thing that is different between now and the time wherein this happened before-- the whole fucking relationship wherein this happened before-- is that i am aware that this was the last time, as in the most recent. but it may not be the last time. 

what i am aware of now is that this could happen again.

there was a safety in having been raped once, apparently. even if it happened then multiple times. it was one man.

what i now know is that it can be multiple men.

there are men out there who have not yet raped me but they still could.

that is fucking awful.

it is fucking really bad.

***

i am trying to be more open.

i am comforted, this go around, by being more open, less ashamed. my therapist seems confused when i tell her i do not feel shame about this one, that i feel nothing but anger. which is maybe inaccurate-- it seems likely that could be true-- but that is how it feels and i'mma run with it. 

what happened to me was not my fault. that is one of the differences between then and now. i know that now. i did not know it before.   

last tuesday, a colleague wanted to observe my teaching. claude was ill and so i cancelled class, and i texted him that i'd already taught half a semester four days after i was raped, i could not teach a class after my cat had a near death experience.

he wrote back: oof, sorry to hear about all that!

having lived in england, i will take that exclamation point and i will read into it that i have been seen. whilst also feeling that response is wholly inadequate.

this colleague will be attending my class next thursday. we'll be having a do-over. in the class that was cancelled and the one he'll now be attending next week, we'll be talking about profanity. language.

i think the thing that sets this rape apart from the prior rape(s) is that i am fully aware of the inadequacies of language within this moment.

i mentioned i texted him, yes? i've acknowledged that in this venue before, huh?

well, here you go. i have legit no fucks left to give.

1/20:

[blogger will not let me put this text here so i'mma just assume you do not need to behold me trying to make this man comfortable by twice telling him that whatever unfolded between us was "entirely consensual" albeit "icky."]

2/19:

2/25/21:

03/04/21:
03/09/21:
03/19/21:

two weeks ago, i told k i was doing this-- texting him. and she said i should tell my therapist.

i knew when she said this that i would have to. because my therapist is somehow someone i cannot keep anything from. so two mondays ago-- the day after i texted debo and asked her to tell garebear that this had happened-- i told my therapist. and i located this compulsion within having never been able to hold anyone accountable before and also within the fact that i was trapped within the space where this had happened to me.

i lived there.

for 58 days i lived there.

i cannot even begin to tell you how shallow were my breaths that whole time.
 
i no longer live there, and yes, still, it feels like i cannot breathe deeply. 

i think it was the last time in therapy that i talked about foreboding joy. and then i bought an apartment and claude nearly died, so i feel like i'm going into monday's therapy session like SEE!?!?!?!? SEE?!!!!! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS!!! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. 

which, i grant you, is maybe not the right attitude. 

***

ten weeks ago today. 

there is a time that this event will come untethered from time. 

that time has not yet arrived. 

because the thing i am struck by this time-- as opposed to the last time, when this was all i knew-- is the banality. how life carries on. how i can teach a class four days after i was raped. how i can tell my mother two weeks after i was raped. how, seven weeks after i was raped, i can write my cousin in prison and tell him i'm sorry to have been so MIA but i was raped on a date seven weeks before. 

he wrote my father he'd not heard from me in awhile. 

our letters crossed in the mail. by the time my father told me he'd written that i'd already written him that i was so terribly sorry that i'd not written but i'd been raped whilst on a date and it'd been really hard to piece myself back together. 

i know he asked his mother for my new address. 

in the informed delivery, i saw a letter from him is coming. but it's being forwarded to my new address-- an address for which the key the seller gave me doesn't work so i had to ask the USPS person to leave the mailbox open so i could have a locksmith come on monday, so god knows when his response will get to me. 

i'm aware this is a thing i never would have told him were he not in prison. 

i'm aware this is a thing i never would have shared with anyone had i not had to go through it alone twenty years ago. 

***

i bled so much then. 

every fucking time. 

i thought something was wrong with me. i thought i couldn't have sex. 

i read all these memoirs now, these stories of women being raped and bleeding, and i cannot even feel who i once was, the woman who bled all of the time, because that was just how it was. that was just how i was. 

we are so quick to blame ourselves. the sentence structures, they work against us. 

jesse called him a "predator" and i felt vindicated. 

jesse called him a "predator" and for the first time i did not have a suspicion that i had, myself, made up what happened to me. 

i bled a lot. until jesse called him a "predator," i honestly did not believe that mattered. 

there was a moment, between the texts of 3/4 and 3/9, the text to the person my therapist now calls "the date rapist" (the only one of these objectionable men i have not called by name in therapy) where i took a breath i felt i had not been previously allowed, a deep breath in the kitchen of my old apartment, upon realizing that i would, very soon, be free of the place where that had happened to me.

truly though, it is so fucking hard, the language. it feels so wrong to say that someone did this to me. as opposed to it having been done to me.

i'm writing about language everywhere, talking about it everywhere. the whole kim kardashian piece i've been working on for years has become a meditation on the inadequacies of language, the failures of words in now time when the words do not yet exist for experience. 

in therapy, i protest, i feel super academic but i nonetheless continually locate my anger in the failures of the language, the words i did not have then for the experience in which i was trapped. 

my therapist says it's like we're in a car, we're circling the block, we're in the neighborhood of what happened to me in college.

she asks when i'd like to meet again, and i say not for two weeks, not until after the move, and she seems surprised-- that i think i can bear (bare?) myself for all of that time, but also maybe because my one other two week break involved a panic attack and a phone call.

because i'd made myself have painful conversations and i'd felt i was circling the block alone, and what i really need right now-- the only thing that is keeping me here right now, the only thing that is keeping me writing right now-- is the fact that i am not alone in this car. she is here too.

and someday really fucking soon we're going to drive this car into the house that is on fire. 

and i will be free.

we've agreed to that.   

but until then what i remember is that i bled so much. like it was normal. and i worked up the courage and i asked the gynecologist if this was normal and she said yes, sometimes that happens.

but what i remember is that that never happened since.

what i remember is laying in his nephew's bunkbed, and being in his mother's shower, and being on my parents' staircase, and faking pleasure and powering through because i just wanted whatever was happening to me to be over, and i wanted to be good, and i wanted it not to be real and not to count and not to be ruined, because it didn't mean anything to me. 

it was done to me. 

a man did that to me. 

i was not... he did. 

the language is inadequate. there is not language for the blood. there is not language for the silence. 

we are circling the neighborhood. i am not alone, i am safe, i am home, and we are both in the car and we are going to drive it into the burning building, and-- godwilling-- no one will ever do this to me again. 

because that is the thing that has, perhaps, most horrified me. 

this was not my first rape. it was the most recent. we do not know that it was the last. 

***

i've such a vivid memory from senior year of college, the english teacher with whom i am still in touch, after i'd already decided to go to chicago for grad school, after i'd already broken up with him, she said this thing-- i'm not entirely certain but i think it was in relation to andrea dworkin-- she made this stray comment about how sometimes there are these relationships where, once you get out of them, you just thank god you survived.

i have no memory of writing that sentiment in my notes but i remember how it hit my heart like a hammer and i felt, for the first time in a long time, like maybe i wasn't alone.

i didn't know whether she's been made to bleed, whether she'd been in a relationship that was abusive, whether she'd been raped, but she said that in class about a book and i sat with it for weeks afterward.

because by that point i felt i was free.

i'd broken up with him. i was (secretly) dating someone else.

often, i wonder what donovan would have made of all of this.

***

the phone call with my therapist was precipitated by two things.

(1) a phone call with jeremy.


(2) a text exchange with jesse.


jesse was there. jesse was his roommate.


i do not remember bleeding until he lived there which means that every time i bled, jesse was in the next room, on the other side of one wall.


this is what he wrote me:

I always felt he had this darkness to him. Always felt a need to ingratiate himself to people, and put on a public show... control everything around him. I honestly hated it. He tried to make us all feel like we should be grateful to have us around. To feel like he was the big man. He would say and do so many infuriating things that I just tuned him out most of the time. As for you, I never understood the relationship, but felt you must have known what you were doing. You were smart, attractive, and came across level-headed. I appreciated the time I spent around you. In terms of the relationship, it never came across as truly loving or as a romantic relationship at all. Now that I am older and wiser, I can look back and see signs, but in the moment it just seemed awkward. It was more of an companionship publicly. I had no idea what happened privately, but it didn’t feel right... but again I was naive. As time went on, I just assumed Clark was going to be a forever predator on college girls or worse so I cut ties completely. I didn’t really want to know or think about him.

***

another disparity i hate in all of this is how much i am reliant upon the impressions of men. 

***

truly, i just cannot do endings. i wasn't good at them before and i cannot handle them now. 

i'm giving a talk on kim kardashian and lost time at a conference next week. nanette's already told me it's got to be but here's the current ending. i'll leave you there...











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