jjwoolie

Member
  • Content count

    98
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About jjwoolie

  • Rank
    Thriver
  • Birthday 08/04/1987

Profile Information

  • Gender identity
    Female
  • Membership Type
    Survivor
  • Location
    Missouri
  • Interests
    BOOKS! TV and movies, singing, writing, teaching, traveling, cooking, faith, music, social media, talking, laughing
  1. Susanna - I'm sorry that you were reminded of pain, but I hope that truth really does set you free and helps you in your journey. meltingice - I'm glad that my post was able to help you. I know all too well how it can feel when you don't know how to put what you are feeling into words. That's another thing that journaling really helps me with. I write around a topic until I'm finally able to put into words what I really am trying to say. I have feelings, thoughts, emotions, that I can't name sometimes, but as I write, I become able to label those things, and I feel liberated once they have been named.
  2. Truth

    What is truth? Is it always what is in front of us, the things we see, feel, know, or is there more to it? Is truth the things that we don’t see, don’t feel, don’t know, but still exist? How do we seek truth that we don’t know is there? How do we find our way to something deeper when it feels like we’ve delved as far as possible? Should we search for that hidden truth, bring it to the surface, make it known? Do we want to? I’ve mentioned before that I am notorious for pushing things down and not dealing with them. I don’t like to think about certain things, feel certain emotions, so I tuck them away and pretend they don’t exist. I’ve done this my whole life, and every time the things I have let fester and stew eventually hurt me so much more than if I’d just stopped avoiding them in the first place. Since the beginning of my therapy, my counselor has been telling me that I need to “journal and destroy.” That I need to let things out and then remove them from all being. I need to allow my subconscious to take over, to let it pour all of the things I’ve been holding back onto the paper, and then discard it so I can’t ever see what I’ve written again. I was afraid. I didn’t know what would come out, didn’t know what horrors that I’ve been hiding would be brought forth and possibly eat me alive. I was sick and scared. Basically, I didn’t do it. I didn’t write a word on that paper. My blog didn’t count, she said, because I cautiously pick and choose what to say here, and typing is faster than writing which means I don’t reflect as much, really let what I’m writing sink in. She wanted me to physically put pen to paper and let my thoughts run wild, and that terrified me, so I didn’t do it. I have been dealing with vomiting at least once a week, usually more, for the last sixteen weeks. I have been struggling with fatigue, anxiety, and impulsive behaviors. I have discussed all of this with my counselor, but I never told her that I hadn’t been writing. I recently became aware of my habit of impulsive showering. Spontaneously, it would seem, I would suddenly feel the urge to take a shower like I was somehow filthy even if I’d already showered that day, sometimes more than once, and had done nothing more than watch TV on my couch. Still, I felt, sometimes still feel, disgusting like I haven’t showered in weeks, like I’m grimy, oily, dirty, so I shower again hoping to wash away the feeling. My counselor was none to pleased to find out that this has been going on for so long without me telling her. She told me that every time I feel that spontaneous urge to shower, that I needed to journal first, and then again when I was done. I went home after that session, and for a week, I didn’t shower even when I felt like it, other than the typical once a day requirement. I still felt the urge, plenty of times I felt that urge, but I didn’t shower because I was afraid to journal. My counselor asked me about it again this week, about how much extra showering I’d done. I confessed that I hadn’t showered because I didn’t want to journal, that I hadn’t journaled in years, that I was afraid to let myself do so. I should have known better because, of course, my counselor handed me a pad of paper and pen and made me journal right then. She said we would sit there until I put something on that paper. I cried like a little girl who wants to sleep in her parents’ bed because she’s afraid of the monsters in her closet, and they make her go open the closet to see that there is nothing to be afraid of. I thought about the things I’d been avoiding, the things I didn’t want to think about, didn’t want to write about, and I put the pen to the paper and let my hand start moving. I was shocked at what I wrote. I never expected it. I didn’t anticipate that the thoughts most desperately fighting a way to leave my head were ones that I didn’t know were there in the first place. Still, as I wrote them, as I read them, I knew they were truth. I hate myself. That’s what I wrote about, the reasons that I hate who I am. I would have told you before writing those words that I like me, that I’m confident in who I am and how I live. I would have told you that I’m happy with the person I’ve become, but my subconscious knew that was a lie, and I had to face it. I hate myself, for a multitude of reasons, but it’s hard to know that I feel that way. I don’t think I’m a bad person. I don’t think that I’m unlikeable or any of the surface things that most people would see as reason to dislike oneself. No, my hatred is much deeper than that, and it’s something I’m going to have to deal with. I wish I didn’t, but from the moment I put those words on the page, I realized that I’ve been hiding from myself, desperately clinging to this image of what I wanted to perceive instead of recognizing what I truly feel. It hurts. Once the flood gates opened, once the writing began, I haven’t been able to stop. I’ve been writing my truths, exploring the things I’ve been afraid to feel, to say, to recognize. I don’t like it, and I don’t want it, but I know that this truth is necessary for my healing. I’m in a better place today than I have been for a while because I’m finally allowing myself to be completely honest. I journal, and I destroy. The interesting thing about it is that usually I can’t remember what I wrote about in the first place. I don’t remember what I put on that paper, and I don’t need to. I’m still working on gaining the life I want, working on finding the balance and understanding the truths I’ve avoided, but I’m making progress. I feel like I was at a stand still in my ability to heal, and now I’ve broken a barrier that is helping me to continue on. I had lost the ability to cry, really cry, for a while because I wasn’t crying for the right reasons. I had become unable to take care of myself, and now that seems ridiculous to me. Truth has a way of rearing its ugly head, of showing up and knocking us back to where we belong. It can be painful, but it is always good. Truth is always good, always the better way to live. I think that fear of the truth must be one of the most common fears in existence, yet it is also one of the easiest to face if you let yourself. Fear can be conquered, but truth always prevails. So many famous sayings have been about truth. “Be true to yourself.” “Truth will out.” So many clichés and overused phrases, yet they are overused because they are true. Truth is necessary, it’s important, it’s essential. I’m trying to no longer hide from my truth, but to face it. It isn’t easy, and I won’t pretend that I’m always happy with what I discover, but just as honesty is the best way to deal with people, truth is the best way to deal with yourself. Today I am still lost, confused, hurting, and desperate for a better tomorrow, but I’m also healing again. I’m accepting truth, fighting my way to a new life. I’m growing and changing, and that wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t also seeking truth, and in the end, that truth isn’t quite as scary as I had let myself believe. There are no monsters in the closet, and I can sleep peacefully knowing the truth.
  3. Since day one, my therapist has let me dictate the conversation. If I want to talk about the weather, we talk about the weather. If I want to delve deeper, then we do. Everything has been pretty on the surface up to this point, and I've been going for two months. She is letting me decide how much or how little I want to share. She knows I was assaulted, but she doesn't know all the details, not yet. Instead I talk about the things going on in my life now, and she listens, sometimes asking for clarification. Sometimes she has specific questions, and sometimes they are vague, but she never pushes me to talk about anything that I don't want to. For me, even talking about the small stuff, the everyday stresses, is helpful because I have an outlet for the things I'm feeling while I usually keep them to myself. Always have. My assault has been a lot more recent, so I can't say whether or not therapy will do anything for you. What I've always heard, and I agree is probably true (especially heard it from my sister who is a psychologist), is that therapy really only helps the people who are open and receptive to it. If you aren't interested, you probably won't gain anything from it, more than the appeasement of your mother. I know for me, appeasing my mother would be reason enough to go because she can be difficult to deal with sometimes. Anyway, I don't think therapy is something to be afraid of, and more than anything, if you don't want to talk about something, you don't have to. If you tell the therapist you want to change topics, he/she should do so without question because they don't want to do more harm by forcing a subject. I don't know if any of this is helpful, or if you'll even see this before your appointment, but I hope all goes well for you today.
  4. Explaining to an Outsider

    I was talking to a friend today, someone who has always been supportive and a good listener, about my assault. He confessed to me, humbly and explaining he realized that maybe he should be more sympathetic, that he didn't understand why the actual physical act of what happened to me was such a big deal if I wasn't raped in the most common sense of the word and was "just felt up somewhat aggressively." He told me that he understood why emotionally, I would be upset because it was a friend, someone I trusted, that had broken that trust by violating me against my will. He said that made sense to him, but not the actual physical act itself. He said he didn't think it should be a big deal and told me he's appreciate it if I could explain to him why it was. I set out to try to tell him why I was hurting, what I was feeling, as well as the physical repercussions of what I've been going through. I tried to explain the sheer pain and terror associated with being assaulted and not being able to do anything about it. I told him of the bruises and soreness I felt for days after. I explained the PTSD, anxiety, flashbacks, body memories, and nightmares. I told him about my fear to be around groups of people or in public places. I told him how my anxiety caused me to lose my job because I couldn't perform my responsibilities to the satisfaction of my manager, couldn't always get to work because of sever anxiety attacks, and even blacked out one night. I even painted a picture for him of what the physical act might feel like for him. Through all of this, I don't feel like I was adequately able to explain. I told him that I know that no one can truly understand who hasn't been through it. I told him that I understand his feelings and confusion about the physical act. I told him everything I could possibly think of to say, but I still don't feel like it was enough. How do you explain to someone the raw pain and fear, the feeling of being so violated, so hurt, physically, and how that continues to take a physical toll day after day? Did I say enough? Did I say too much? Is there any way he can possibly understand that what happened to me really is a big deal, more than just because it was someone I trusted? I wish I knew how to help him get it. I wish I could help him see. It isn't about the who or the what or the how, it's about the never being able to live the same way again, knowing that the world is less than I had expected, less than I had come to accept it to be, and knowing that I'll never be the same person I once was, never be able to look at the world and the people in it with the same eyes because of the physical act, not the person who caused it. He may not ever understand, but I want him to get it just a little more than he did before today. Is there something I didn't say to him that I should have? Is there more I can do so that he doesn't see me as "making a big deal out of nothing?" I have to walk away from this now. I'm too upset and I think I'm going to be sick again.
  5. Something Beautiful

    My favorite film is V for Vendetta. In it, for those who have not watched it or even read the graphic novel, there is a letter written by an anonymous woman named Valerie. She is living through a nightmare of persecution, but her words are profound and beautiful. I am posting here the bits that I found most prominent because they helped me see perspective, and I found them to be so inspiring even though heartbreaking. "...I am me...I'd only told them the truth. Was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us. And within that inch, we are free...An inch. It is small, and it is fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that - whoever you are - you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may not meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you: I love you. With all my heart. I love you..." Maybe you'll find this to be as beautiful and inspiring as I do, and maybe you won't, but the words washed over me like a warm blanket, enveloping me in their comfort, and helping me to see that while I may have lost much, I haven't lost everything, and I never will so long as I hold on to the possibility of a better tomorrow.
  6. My ex boyfriend, the first person to assault me, used to say "I just want to make you feel good." Feeling good or happy almost feels wrong or shameful because of him. I'm afraid to be happy because happiness is always followed by crippling circumstances that break me every time. I don't seek joy in my life the way I should. I just seek to not be hurting. I'd be okay if I could just be numb, not feel anything, instead of feeling the constant pain. I don't ask for happiness, not anymore, because it only leads me to fall harder the next time.
  7. Things Missing from My Story (TW)

    I read someone else's story yesterday that turned out to be a lot like my own. She kept adding comments with more of her story, more things she remembered, and as I read them, I realized there was a lot missing from my story, things I had forgotten about or not recognized for what they were. I want to share those other things here, instead of adding more and more to my already incredibly long story. These things aren't all highly significant, but when I remember them, I can't help but wonder if I was some how marked for this crap at a young age and will remain as a recurring victim for the rest of my life. 5 or 6 years old: My mother was babysitting a boy named Aaron. I'd known him my whole life. We were friends. We were playing in the basement, and he went to the bathroom. Then he called me over, said he needed to show me something. I went to the bathroom, and he closed the door behind me. Then he lowered his pants to show me his penis. That was it. He didn't do anything else. He just showed it to me, then told me to leave the bathroom. My sister was out playing in the basement as well. He left her alone. 1st grade, a year or two later: My parents were in Ireland with my grandma, and my sisters and I were split up to stay with different friends of my parents. Four kids was a lot to ask any one person to take on, I guess, so we all stayed at different houses. I stayed at Aaron's house. I had to sleep in Aaron's room because it was the only one big enough to fit an air mattress, instead of his sister Brittany's room across the hall where I would have been much more comfortable. We were getting ready for bed one night, and Aaron had left his door cracked when I'd gone to change into my pajamas in the bathroom. When I came back, Aaron was in his underwear pulling on his pajamas. He got very angry and chased me through the house saying he was going to hurt me for walking in on him. It had been an accident, and I tried to tell him that, but he wouldn't listen. He tackled me on the kitchen floor and pulled my underwear (I was wearing a nightgown and no pants) down so that he could look at my private area, saying it was only fair. His mother came in the room and blamed me for the incident, even though I was the one lying on the floor in tears. When my parents came back, Aaron's mom told them that I'd been behaving terribly on purpose while I stayed with her. Aaron laughed at me from behind their backs. 2nd grade: Three 4th grade boys would chase me on the playground every day, sometimes saying really inappropriate things. I would, when I was cornered, kick them where it counted or punch and kick at them until they would let me run off again, always chasing close behind. They never got in trouble, and no one ever seemed to notice. 3rd grade: We'd moved that year, just at the beginning of the summer, so I had new friends in my new neighborhood, but I was also in a new school, a much larger school, with so many kids I didn't know. One day in art class a boy named Robert was sitting at the table behind mine, on the opposite side. He would whisper to the boy across from him (funny how I don't remember that boy's name) who was sitting back to back with me, and the other boy would turn around and tap me on the shoulder to tell me what Robert was saying. He told me that Robert wanted to make out with me in a car, hump me in bed, and have sex with me, in those exact words. I was afraid of the art teacher, so I didn't say anything until we went back to class. Then I told the regular teacher and had to go to the principal's office with the boys. I played it down because I was afraid of what the boys would do to me if they got into too much trouble. Robert really started harassing me after that, calling my house and saying other things about me to my classmates. A year later, Robert was arrested for raping a first grade girl. I was horrified, knowing that it could have been me. 4th grade: I was in the same school but had different classmates. One of these was a boy named Joe. Joe was known for being a bit of a trouble maker, and I had a serious crush on him. He would joke with his friend Tony that they were going to kill me, and they chased me on the playground at recess often. I wasn't afraid of them at all. I thought it was all just a big joke, all in good fun. Then one day we had indoor recess. I had nowhere to run. Joe came up, I don't remember all of the circumstances, but I do remember him putting his hands around my neck and blocking my airway for a while as I gasped for breath. There was no teacher in the classroom where we had been playing. Joe told me that I needed to stop having a crush on him, that I was gross, and that he really would kill me if he could. Then he let me go. The recess monitor came to our classroom shortly after and noticed the finger marks around my neck. I again had to go talk to the principal. They called in Joe's mom, and I was asked if I thought Joe was really capable of hurting anyone too severely. His mom was angry and said she'd like to see him in juvenile prison if I said that I thought he had really meant to hurt me badly. I didn't want to be the cause of Joe being arrested or sent away, so I said I thought he was just playing around. I avoided Joe after that, and he mostly avoided me as well. My senior year of high school, I was walking to the bathroom during class. Joe was attempting to leave the building. He'd been really into drugs for a couple of years by then, which was common knowledge among the students. I suspect he was high that day, as the resource officer came out and tried to stop him. Joe threw a punch at the officer, who dodged it and immediate put Joe in handcuffs and arrested him for attempting assault. I thought to myself then that maybe I should have been more honest when I was younger. Who knew how many people Joe might have hurt during those years, people that I could have helped keep safe. It still bothers me. 5th grade: There were two boys with behavioral disorders who joined my class a couple of hours a day that year. Taylor and Chris. I always tried to be nice to them because I knew that they had problems I couldn't understand. I was only eleven, but I still was able to tell when people were hurting from something. That's an innate part of who I am and always have been. Those boys took advantage of my kindness by following me around at recess, making my other friends want nothing to do with me because they didn't like them. Soon Chris started saying things to me like that I had a nice butt or boobs. I was only eleven. I didn't even have boobs yet. Still, he said things like that to me all the time. Taylor would come up behind me and grab my butt when no one was around. He also would make motions like he was going to grab my boobs, even during class when the teacher's back was turned he would do this, and he started actually grabbing me during recess as well. I didn't want to have to go sit in the principal's office for a third year in a row, so I never said anything, and the boys never stopped. I went to middle school the next year and never saw either of them again. 6th grade: Girls I didn't even know the names of started taunting me on the bus, making fun of me, pulling my hair, asking me sexual questions and forcing me to answer only to laugh at any answer I gave. I was pretty naïve and didn't understand a lot of what they were saying, which made them laugh at me even more. These girls taunted me all the way until I graduated high school, and I never understood why that had chosen me, why they had to be so cruel. 7th grade: I'd grown used to the taunts and sexual comments by this point. I'd become used to boys brushing against me in the hall or saying nasty things in my ear as they passed by. I never said a word. Then they started physically hurting me. They would block my classroom doors, trying to make me late, and if I tried to push past, they would pinch me or shove me into the wall. They even would trip me in the hall so that I'd fall, and other people didn't notice. It was like I was invisible, and I was literally trampled on by passers by who didn't notice me desperately trying to get off of the floor when they would step on my hand or hair or back. They just kept going, never offering a helping hand even when they noticed me lying there. I wasn't the only one this happened to, either. There was a boy with severe scoliosis who had to wear a back brace. They would trip and trample on him, too. One girl saw this happening one day and told her mom how upset she was. That led to another trip to the principal for me, where I lied and said that I didn't know who had tripped me, that I had been okay, it wasn't that bad. The harassment never stopped that year. 8th grade: Someone started a rumor I was gay that year, and I didn't know anyone actually believed it. The girls would make kissy faces at me or yell things at me. I didn't understand why, but I did know they were making fun of me. That rumor followed me until I graduated high school, and I was pretty much unaware that people actually thought that, even when the girls in school with me who actually were gay tried to grope me or kiss me at school dances or sporting events. I didn't know why I was always targeted until after I wasn't in high school anymore and one of my former classmates informed me that everyone had thought I was gay. High school: It's all a big jumble, those four years, full of boys making comments about what they wanted to do to me sexually, being groped in the halls by unseen hands, feeling like everyone hated me and were just trying to find some new way to make my life miserable. I was severely depressed, had exceedingly low self-esteem , and thought of myself as fat and ugly and unworthy of love or friendship. during that time I nearly attempted suicide on many occasions, but I never sought any kind of help. I just lived with the pain and loneliness. 19: I was a freshman in college and life was better than it ever had been before. I was on my own, had friends, and I had somehow managed to conquer my depression. I was losing weight, though I didn't need to lose much, and finally gaining some self-confidence. People liked me there, and the best part was that I went to a school across the state where I never saw people from my high school. I had some difficult times in the first couple of weeks, but after that, life was splendid. I did hear catcalls as I would walk across campus, and I even ended up with a couple of jerks becoming a little obsessed with me. I tried to shake it all off though and focus on how happy I was for the first time in my life. There had been Billy, a guy from my math class, who was actively pursuing me. He was cute and a junior, and we studied together a few times, until one day, during a truly unprofessional conversation my professor revealed that at age seventeen he'd slept with his girlfriend's mother and that eventually he'd married the mother and they were still together. Billy chimed in that it was okay because he'd made out with his girlfriend's mom once. I was feeling rather uncomfortable about all of the class conversation that day, and when Billy saw the look on my face, he humiliated me in front of everyone by saying that I shouldn't look like that because I knew I would have done it, too. That was the last time I talked to Billy. But then there was Tomy, a guy I'd met on a church retreat that fall. He was from India, and he was 24. I should mention that I'd never had a boyfriend or even so much as my first kiss up to this point, so being approached by guys was actually really flattering and kind of exciting, until they turned into jerks. I hung out with Tomy exactly one time, and he somehow manipulated me into letting him sleep in my dorm room that night. I slept on the top bunk, and I made him sleep on an air mattress on the floor. My roommate was out of town. I was glad to be on the top bunk because I felt safe in knowing that if he was going to try anything, I'd be able to feel the bed move first. He didn't though, he just slept. The next morning he told me that the next time I should sleep at his place and we could share a bed. There was no next time, and I avoided him after that. I didn't talk to him again until I ran into him on campus one night while I was out playing ultimate Frisbee with my friends. It was May, and he was graduating. He told me that his parents couldn't wait to meet me because of our engagement and he was ready to take me back to India with him. I blocked all possible forms of communication with him and didn't go anywhere by myself for the rest of the semester. I never saw him again. There was one more guy that year that deserves mention in this. I literally have always referred to him as "Creepy Matt," even so much as putting him in my phone that way so I'd know not to answer if he tried to call me. He had a full black beard, long black hair, and wore a black beanie everyday. He was friends with a guy in my social group, and he ate lunch/dinner with us every day. One day at lunch he commented on how cute I looked numerous times, finally saying that I looked so cute he needed to hug me, which he did while looking straight down my shirt. Talk about violating. I had talked at lunch to my friends about how I didn't have any homework that afternoon and was going to be bored until we met up for lunch. Of course Creepy Matt overheard me say this, and jumped at the chance to invite me to hang out with him. I'm a nice person, and I couldn't exactly lie with some excuse why I couldn't considering he already knew it would be fabricated, so I agreed. We went to his dorm to watch House, a show I'd never seen that he had on DVD. He sat down on his bed and motioned for me to do the same. I grabbed his desk chair and put it directly in the center of the room across from the TV and put my feet up on the seat, hugging my knees, the entire time I was there. I only stayed for two episodes, but during that time, Matt kept trying to convince me to sit on the bed where I'd be more comfortable. His roommate also came in the room for a while and made a lot of comments about Matt and I having sex. I was extremely uncomfortable and was just trying not to cry. I never hung out with Matt again after that, even though he asked over and over. 21: I was a junior now and living off campus with a good friend. I met a boy that fall who went to a different college about an hour and a half away. He was 25, but we met at church, so I thought he must be a decent guy. I mean, we met on a retreat. We started dating in March of that year. Right away, after we started dating, he began telling me that he was in love with me and wanted to marry me. He was manipulative and mentally abusive. He told me that I could never be beautiful, that I wasn't worth much effort, and he coaxed me into a very physical relationship that I wasn't comfortable with, always making it seem like it was my idea. He was my first kiss, and after I let him kiss me the first time, he stopped ever trying to talk with me and would just try to have sex with me all the time. He basically moved into my apartment against my will. He never left for more than two days at a time, insisting that I skip my classes and stay in bed with him all day. I had a twin bed, but he insisted on sleeping in it with me. I'd wake up in the middle of the night to him kissing me or touching me all over until I was awake enough for him to get me to give him a hand job. This was every day almost for a solid month, until one night when he partially raped me. I say partially because while he did manage to enter me, I was able to push him out and off of me really quickly. He didn't try to enter me again, though he asked many times. Instead he would just rub his penis on me hoping I would say yes. I never did. I didn't want to have sex with him. I didn't love him, but any time I would do anything that made him mad or seemed like I was about to break up with him, he'd threaten to commit suicide and I didn't want that on my head. I went home for just after the school year ended, and literally after three days, the first time I'd had three days in a row away from him since we had started dating him, I got up the courage to dump him once and for all. I called him the next day when I'd gotten back to my apartment and told him I never wanted to see him again. I boxed up everything of his in my apartment and burned it. I didn't ever want to think about him again. He showed up at my apartment three weeks after I broke up with him and demanded I take him back. He was so manipulative and I was so scared that I let him stay, told him I'd consider it. He stayed for two days, and the second night he insisted on sleeping in my bed again (the first night I'd made him take the couch). I woke up again in the middle of the night to him touching me, taking my clothes off. He was naked. He didn't enter me, though he asked me over and over to let him. Instead he just fondled my breasts, rubbed himself on me, and grinded himself against my private area. I just lied there waiting for it to be over, hoping that I'd never have to see him again after he left the next day. I never did. I told him goodbye, and when I shut the door behind him, I swore I'd never let him have any part in my life again. I never told anyone what he'd done to me. Some friends and one of my sisters know a little of it, but no one knows the full extent. It took three years for me to move on from that, and I never got any counseling or anything from it. My counselor now doesn't even know yet, not everything. I've never said the words out loud. 24: After I graduated college, I went to teach in a tiny rural town. Teaching there was miserable from the beginning, but things got worse as students began sexually harassing me, sometimes publically in front of the whole class, sometimes privately as they would pass me in the hall or come into my classroom before school. They would talk about wanting to have sex with me or date me. They discussed the size of my breasts in loud whispers or in notes I'd later find on the floor. One student was even passing by my classroom where I was monitoring the hall between classes, and there wasn't anyone around, the bell was about to right. I was leaning with my back against the wall and he put his hands on either side of my head, his face really close to mine and whispered in what was obviously supposed to be a seductive tone "How are you doing today Miss W.?" I was terrified. I didn't have a class that hour, and he was a lot bigger than me, a football player, and could have easily forced me into my classroom and attacked me. He didn't though. I told him to get to class loudly enough that the teacher next door would be able to hear my voice in the hall and look up to know that a student should be passing by her window. He walked away, and the next time I saw him, I called him into my classroom, leaving the door propped open. He had again said something inappropriate as he was passing me in the hall, and I had to inform him that if he didn't knock it off I would report sexual harassment to the administration. He just laughed and walked away, but he didn't bother me anymore after that. The administration was so terrible, that I doubt they would have believed me anyway. They didn't believe me about another student the previous year who wouldn't stop making comments aloud in class. I left that school after my second year. I'm not sure that's everything, but I can't remember anymore right now, and I can't let myself think about it anymore. It may seem like nothing, it may seem like a lot, but in all my life, I've never had a time that I didn't feel somewhat victimized by both men and women. After my recent assault, which was somehow much more traumatizing than my previous one, maybe because I never expected him to ever touch me in any sexual way, but still, I don't trust anyone anymore. If someone I've known for half my life and been friends with that whole time could do something like that, then how can I believe that there is anyone in the world who wouldn't try to hurt me that way. I don't. I can't. I'm alone.
  8. Just Call Me Debbie Downer

    Optimism makes people happy. Optimism keeps them coming around, talking, caring. But what happens when we have times in our lives when we can't be genuinely optimistic? Do we show people how we feel, or do we fake It and hope that tomorrow will be better so that we don't have to pretend quite as much? I've been through Hell, just like everyone else here, throughout my life. My story may not be what people would say is "as bad," but it's mine. I've struggled for most of my life. I've had to fight harder than anyone I know to make it through each day, to make it through life. Living shouldn't be this hard. Being happy should be something natural. For me, life is one big mess after another, and while I didn't make the messes, I'm the one cleaning them up. It's like life is a bully set out to make me miserable, causing mischief then blaming me for it so that I am the one who has to face the consequences. I've fought depression, and won. I fought attempted suicide, and won. I fought sexual harassment, physical abuse, name-calling, rumors, teasing, neglect, put-downs, being ostracized and criticized, and throughout all the tough times in my life, I won. I fought illness, financial struggle, failure, heartbreak, and I always won. This time I didn't win. I couldn't fight. I was hurt, and even seeking justice did nothing. My outlook on life has been dark and angry while I maintain a sunny demeanor. Most people have no idea all that I've been through. I take that back...NO ONE knows all that I've been through. I haven't told any one person, haven't shared my pain. It eats at me from the inside out. Darkness is a parasite that resides within my body and consumes all light. I'm one of the world's greatest actresses. I have everyone fooled 95% of the time. I have occasional slips where I'm unable to keep up the happy-go-lucky façade, but overall, people think I'm happy and optimistic. They think I'm fun, light-hearted, full of energy. They think that my natural tendency is to look for the good in life. I'll be honest, there are times when I generally was an optimist. I genuinely saw the good in life, and on a regular day I felt good. Those times have only been a fraction of my life, only a few months here or there, and really are few and far between. In the last eleven weeks, optimism has become nearly impossible to fake, so I've stopped trying to talk to people for the most part. They always seem annoyed when I say something negative and no amount of peppy, encouraging words make a difference to me. They all just "want their friend back." But she no longer exists, that person I was. I'm not able to look at the world through innocent and tender eyes anymore. I don't see the good in people if it is not blatantly thrust in front of me. She no longer exists, the Jessie from before. I haven't yet figured who she is, this Jessie after. I'm working on it, but it is hard to not know myself, like I've been thrust back into adolescence, those years of finding oneself. Who will I be? What will I do? How will I fit into this strange new world? I spend a lot of time perceiving, taking in the world around me, observing what is there. I don't see the world as black and white, I don't even see a gray area. I see a full spectrum, a multitude of color: red for the anger and pain, black for hate, blue for sadness, green for new life, orange for fear, purple for joy, white for innocence, yellow for sickness, brown for death. Those colors may not represent what you would think, but that's what they are for me. I see the colors, painted viciously on the world's canvas, and while I see all the colors, some dominate more than others. I don't see things as good anymore, don't see people as good. I keep waiting for the next time someone will hurt me, the next time I'll have another mess to clean up as punishment for what someone else chose to do. My heart aches with longing for someone to just hold me and tell me everything will be okay. I have no one. I'm alone. I'm a pessimist at heart, and I've stopped pretending that I'm not. I've stopped faking a false joy just to appease the people who are kind enough to take pity on my inability to maintain real, deep friendships. Those people can't deal with the fact that I'm hurting. They don't ask me about it, and if I talk about it, they shy away and change the topic. Pain and emptiness are consuming me, and I'm barely keeping my head above water, yet if I make any mention of feeling that way, discuss any cause of why I'm hurting, people go running, and usually never return. All my life, I've spent pretending. Day after day, I show the world a happy smile, a joyful laugh. There was a time when the joy in my laugh was real, a short time, but it was there. My second semester of college had me laughing so hard I could barely breathe. I laughed so joyfully and without hesitation, and I actually sounded like a yappy little dog. Someone even once asked my friend if she brought a puppy with her to lunch. A Facebook group was created in honor of my life, in honor of my joy. I was known for it throughout campus, and to this day it is one of the things that the people I knew then love and remember most about me. I wish I could find that laugh, that joy again, but it died after my first assault and was never resurrected. I'm an eternal pessimist with uncanny skills for acting. The funniest thing about that is when I was in high school, I tried out for all nine plays that took place in my four years, and I only once was cast in a part, the smallest part in the show. I was terrible. Couldn't act to save my life because of stage fright. I guess if "all the world's a stage" then I am a fantastic actress, but if you put me in front of people who are actually paying close attention to my performance, a lot of them at once, I fail miserably to convince any of them of my role. I act with people and have them fooled, but in front of an audience, I'm raw and real, unable to deceive that many at once. I wish this world, the people I know, didn't expect me to pretend all the time. It takes a toll, and I often have to spend hours or days in solitude after having to pretend for too long, just to recuperate and be able to pretend once again. The person I have deceived most through the years is myself. When I'm broken, hurting, or otherwise struggling through something, I push it down into the depths and pretend like it doesn't affect me. I put a smile on my face and try to convince myself that it's okay, that I'm okay. More and more gets stuffed deeper and deeper, until it all shoots off like a champagne cork and spills all over me, drenching me in stickiness that I can't wash off with my own two hands. I drown in the tumult, and I still don't properly deal with it, even then. I'm like a child in the swimming pool trying to prove to the other children that I swim as well as they do, trying to impress them, when all I can really do is doggy paddle enough to keep my head above water and hope they don't notice. I know that this entry, my first entry, is incredibly negative, sad, pathetic, but I'm trying not to pretend, not with myself or anyone else, anymore. I am trying to deal with these feelings instead of pushing them aside or coving them up. I'm trying, for the first time, to really let myself feel the pain so that I can deal with it and finally heal properly.