Human Again

Mental Health, Relationships , , , ,

[Disclosure: This post will discuss rape, specifically my own. Be warned if this may trigger you.]

I have this book I own. I don’t even remember when I picked it up at a used bookstore…or why. Sometimes, it feels like it magically appeared on my shelf by some mythical being.

It’s a collection of Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather. And every so often, I remember it exists and I pick it up, open it to a random page, and it always seems to tell me something I need to hear in that moment. (Maybe that’s availability heuristic at work. ;))

Today, this is what I opened to:

“Raping, hunting, throwing stones at wild-life, buying exotic pets, picking flowers, criticizing prominent people, may at times be an attempt to make contact with, even identify with, that which is free and beautiful and so frightfully unlike us.”

My heart skipped a beat. Raping. But instead of bringing me back to that moment in time, I continued on with the sentence and felt a softening in my chest. I’ve never before heard someone find a way to connect me to any understanding of rape. Specifically the one I experienced. It doesn’t make it okay or any less unjustified or unethical, but I’ve had this constant question in my head – WHY? Why me? Why then? Why after almost 10 years together? Why the motivation? Why was my “no” unheard?

Why.did.I.not.matter?

This statement above, if true, though, means…that D may have raped me/abused me because in some ways…he wanted to control me because he understood deep down that I was free, beautiful, and untamed – and he wanted to “get”/take that freedom. He always called me a “free spirit.” He always said it with some awe and some resentment (or at least that is how I perceived it).

He was anything but a free spirit. He was the essence of controlled, restrained, analytical, and fearful of new and change. He was the master of scarcity. I was always pushing him to go do new things with me – including dancing, climbing, living out of a van, etc. As much as he often wished to pursue similar dreams, he couldn’t do them himself (often not even with my influence). He would spend many hours a day engaged in video games – away from people and the rest of the world. He would have continued to live his life there for decades I think without my pushing. He knew when I left that he would have to find someone else to push him…because he wouldn’t push himself out of his very small bubble of comfort zone. He looked desperately for someone else soon after I left – and found someone new to manipulate, hurt, and mold from a free and unrestrained human to someone he could more relate to. He will soak in every ounce of that freedom – but instead of multiplying, it will disappear.

“Raping, hunting, throwing stones at wild-life, buying exotic pets, picking flowers, criticizing prominent people, may at times be an attempt to make contact with, even identify with, that which is free and beautiful and so frightfully unlike us.”

In some ways, this one sentence has opened something in me. Was this his totally fucked up way of trying to connect with and understand a way that he may never be, a way he was jealous of? Yes, trying to take it too – but also…a way to experience freedom that, though impeded on my own freedom, was as unrestrained as my heart and soul? Is this why he has been unable to talk with me for the last 2 years?  Because he is jealous that I left him – and grew and explored and loved and had the guts to do the things he always wanted?

He raped me when our relationship was clearly going to end. He raped me a day after he told me he thought he was done…with us. That he had no energy left. He raped me days after he began cheating on me – again (at least from the timeline I’ve gathered from bits and pieces of information). Maybe deep down, he knew that I would be okay, that I would have support and people and love – but *he* wouldn’t. He would never be okay. He would never be free. He would never be able to love or be loved in a way where someone chose him. Forcing someone to be with you doesn’t provide an option to choose – or even to love.

After he raped me, I asked him – through tears- if he did that to punish me. And he said “No. I just wanted to.” There were many aspects of the abuse before that that I chalked up to his own insecurities and lack of awareness about consent, his own abuse throughout his childhood, etc. It didn’t justify his behavior, but it gave a why. But this was malicious, violent, and purposeful. He was very aware at that point of where I stood with sex and boundaries with him. And he *chose* to rape me. Since then, a “WHY?” has been on my lips.

I may never have closure – in part because I believe that even if I talked with D again that he would be unable to be honest with himself let alone me about the *why.* And he is still out there – assumedly bartering with people’s hearts. But it gets me closer to understanding. It allows me to see him as a human again – a very fucked up human, but a human nonetheless. And it means that at a time, when I believed he perceived me as weak, in fact – he may have perceived me as stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. He saw *me* as a threat.

Which means…I am not a victim. I was not a victim.

…I was not broken by him after all.

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