Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tolerating Cowardice, Recognizing Crazy and Finding Wisdom
I visited with my therapist today. Fessed up about being so very angry at my smaller self. Told how much I want to yell at her -- scream at her, 'how could you let him'. I know there is a cruelty in that. I know it is unkind. And I would never NEVER do that to a twelve year old who had been abducted, raped and beat. Yet...I fight against doing it to 'her'. I braced for a lecture...some focus on how cognitively backward it is...knowing in my brain what is wrong with it...but knowing in my heart it is the truth...my truth...for now, anyway. I needn't have braced. There was no lecture...no talk about changing my faulty thinking and beliefs. We talked more about my anger at my smaller self...exactly what I wanted to say, what I wanted to yell and why.
Why. Why. WHY?
I believe I should have been braver. I think 'she' was a coward. I do not subscribe to the belief that 'she' ought to have fought back. He was bigger than I. Much bigger. And I was trapped in his car. Door handle removed from the inside, eliminating even the hope of escape.
I do believe, though, that 'she' ought to have refused completely, whatever the cost. I believed that my compliance -- even after a period of holding out...refusing to participate...made me complicit.
I recognize that I alternate between I and 'she'...me and 'her'. I do not want to own her complicity, her behavior, her compliance. I do not want to own her experience.
I did hold out for a time. I refused him. I would not say or do the things he demanded. And I got beat. And I cried. And he got angry. And he beat me. I cried. He beat me harder. Threatened my life if he saw another tear. He had threatened my life right away. I thought that was why he abducted me. I did not know it was going to involve sex. I knew I was going to die. That is what he said. I believed him. But with the tears, there was a condition...if he saw another tear. Somehow, I stopped crying. I did not show any more tears. Still he beat me. Taunted me. Daring me to show him my tears. But I did not cry for him. I stopped feeling his blows sharply. I felt them in a dull, distant way. And I did not cry for him. But my tears moved inside. I had a vision that my tears rolled down my face, but somehow, they were moving inside...protected from the elements...protected from him. I watched my tears drip from my face and create a puddle. I watched as the puddle grew, creating a pond. A pond of tears. Then my view got wider and the pond was more like a lake. And my tears were a steady, gentle rain. Then my view got wider and the rain got bigger and rougher and the lake that had been a pond that had been a puddle that had been tears moving inside along my face became an ocean. And my ocean of tears began to undulate. And my tears became waves. And they grew fierce...mighty...creating wild rushing waves, large and frightening. And my tears that were waves crashed a shore where they washed out sandcastles and trickled along a small girl's feet and ankles.
That was my vision. It was really quite beautiful. The water that was the ocean that came from my tears was a color I have never again seen. A green that was so blue. A blue that was so green. Confusing. And oh so beautiful.
While I had my vision, I felt his weight against mine, crashing over and over again. But it did not hurt. And I heard him taunting me. Daring me to show him my tears. But I did not cry for him. My tears moved inside.
And though it was so beautiful, it scared me to my core. I knew then that I had lost my grip and had gone crazy. That my mind was not strong enough to withstand whatever was happening. And when I understood that, nothing mattered anymore.
That is when I gave up. And that is the moment I decided to comply. That is the moment I decided to do and say whatever he asked. Because nothing mattered anymore. Somehow, that is the moment I died, even though I was breathing still. That is the moment my mind failed me. Or maybe it saved me. But that day...my 12 year old self decided there was nothing left to hold out for. So I let him. I let him and I surrendered. I let him and I contributed. I let him and I participated. I let him and I helped. I let him and I died. This is my complicity.
I talked with my therapist about my complity. Again no lectures. But maybe, she suggested, maybe my surrender...my compliance...my complicity was my way of fighting back. I rejected that. I still reject it. My way of refusing? I rejected that. I still reject it.
But I will allow that maybe...just maybe I understood that if I continued to refuse him...and the beating intensified...so would my escape into a vision. And maybe I knew that if I slipped farther away, I might never make it back...I might be irretrievably lost. I was already on the other side of crazy. But I was still aware. And maybe I understood how fragile my mind was in that moment and how close to going away for good I could become.
And in that, I can find some measure of wisdom on 'her' part.