Post Traumatic Growth and Reclaiming Space
I’m working really hard on my wellness. This time at the support group I finally feel like I have some real tools to manage the symptoms and the flashbacks. The flashbacks are the worst, especially because so many things have occurred in the apartment I live in. I can’t afford to move. I’ve been in the same apartment for so many years that bad things have happened in every room. I could just lie in bed and remember being harmed. So one of the things that I learned through support group over the last couple months, now that my son moved out, is to reclaim my room. I repainted it and I put new fabrics and new furniture inside. It’s my room. It’s my space. It’s my sanctuary. Even when I have company for sex at my house I don’t use that room. It needs to be a memory-free room.
It’s one of my ways of managing trauma, especially when it comes to sex. I need a bed that I can go to that doesn’t have anything attached to it. I find that very useful. There are nights that I lay in bed, my primary bed, and I can’t stay there. Just because I’ll be remembering being sexually assaulted in my own bed. I’ve been really trying hard to change all that. Change the memories in my house, rearrange the furniture, paint the rooms, whatever I can. It’s because of the support group that I’ve started being able to do all those things.
I didn’t even think I was going to get this far in the group. I didn’t really know what to expect but I got what I came for. I wasn’t even going to go for the second round (of therapy) until I realized that I still wanted to do more and feel even better. That’s really what I want to say about my journey. I’ve really been committed to being well. It’s been a very long journey to try and reconcile the past and try and heal from the sexual trauma.
Something Soft: My security blanket
I think that when it comes to being with (other) women, we find solace away from the male abusive sexual relationships. I have a friend who lives here locally with a drug dealer. She always comes to me for that comfort. Her life really sucks. It really does. The guy she lives with says you can’t turn a hoe into a housewife. That’s what he thinks of her. All she wants is to be the housewife so to speak. Consequently, they don’t have sex. She gives him a blowjob. She gets crack. And she says she doesn’t want it to be like that. And I’m like well, that’s the relationship you’re in. She will come and want to be with me, because she’s very uncomfortable in her situation. It’s not a loving relationship and who better to understand than another woman whose been through that. You can find that comfort there.
My female partner that doesn’t live around here is the same way. We really find that comfort because we can call each other and say “I got stood up on a date and this happened and that happened and men suck and I’m gonna come see you”. I guess I’m glad to see that as a gender we can at least hold each other down. Keep each other moving somehow. Hold each other up.
That’s been my experience; the women that I am involved with have also had very bad sexual experiences with men. And I also know of another couple of lesbian couple that have had children out of rapes and never went back to a guy ever again. Being with another woman makes sense in my mind given the situations. And I could actually see myself in a long-term relationship with a woman. I really could. Just because I know it would feel safe. Even though I’ve known of abusive women, its not as common and it wouldn’t be likely that I would connect with a woman who was aggressive. I’m looking for soft. Softness.