Day 97: Standing Behind a Foggy Window
St. Patrick's day is pretty much always a day of joy in my life. Today has been no different. I am proud of my heritage and my home country. Though I live in the States, I am still an Irish citizen. I have a fantasy of one day moving back. Perhaps I could end up where my family is from or wind up in Dublin. Who knows what the future will bring.
Every day I read a number of others' blogs here on Pandy's and elsewhere. Every day I encounter the courage, wisdom, and determination of other survivors. I am moved and inspired by the things I read. I learn so much from the great work done by everyone else that I feel sometimes as if I'm cheating. On the other hand, I don't think through my work alone I could achieve the level of understanding I gain from others. I just wouldn't get there.
And that, really, is the beauty of this community!
I have learned something again today that touches a cord deep within me. Here is the excerpt of an exchange in comments from another blog that gave me a new understanding:
"It is a hard road to keep on working to fight an invisible enemy, knowing that healing, as it comes, will also be invisible to most people" (Susanna).
"The enemy is invisible. The wounds are invisible. The fight is (mostly) invisible. The progress is invisible. The healing is invisible; others only see ghostly reflections of it in the effects" (Yarnfoolishness).
Quotes used with permission.
The notion of being invisible is a deep-rooted pain for me. Having invisible wounds insights my inclination to create visible wounds. Engaging in an invisible fight insights my tendency to respond aggressively when given an appropriate provocation. Being invisible makes me feel like the real me is hidden behind a foggy window, with the moisture on the opposite side where I can't wipe it away. I'm not invisible at all, I'm just on the other side of a window that needs to be cleared.
When I read the exchange between Yarnfoolishness and Susanna I realized, with a sense of irony, understanding invisibility is like clearing the fog from the glass.
Also, I know without a doubt I am visible here. Here the glass is clear. When I come to Pandy's I stand on the inside of a completely clean, clear window. In my offline life, I stand on the inside of a dirty window. I can see this window. The dirt is caked on. It's dusty and forms a hard, thick surface.
The thing is, I get to choose which window I stand near.
And, as I am able I can clean the other windows. I can put up curtains if I like. I can open and close the curtains as appropriate. I like that idea.
Oh, I nearly forgot, I had something else to share . . . something that happened this weekend. I've been a bit in denial about it.
Last Thursday a group of us from my office were scheduled to go out after work to celebrate a major accomplishment of one of the team members. But, that day I had therapy and also had a bad week of insomnia. That was the day I went home early because I just couldn't work. I completely spaced the fact that we had plans. I didn't excuse myself or apologize.
The next morning the co-worker whom we intended to celebrate stopped in my office first thing to ask if I was OK. I said I was. She didn't mention anything about the missed event. I still didn't remember there had been an event scheduled.
I did remember about two hours later.
I was mortified.
I forgot the event. I completely forgot. But, they had decided to go on Friday night instead. So, we knocked off about 30 minutes early. Suffice to say I was feeling like a complete heel. Furthermore, I know my leaving work several times recently, my being sick for multiple days, and my coming in late one day a week is noticeable. I realized that I cannot 100% conceal what's going on with me and they might start to form their own story.
As much as I prefer to keep my secret, I can't stand the rumor mill. I also felt like I owed them an explanation, not only for my behavior the previous day, but for likely future behavior.
So, while we were out having a drink, I gave them a 1 minute explanation of what's going on with me. I told them I had been raped multiple times and one of the perps was a doctor.
I felt horrible afterward. But, they were really great about it. Very supportive. No one acted any differently toward me today.
I don't know how I feel about it now. I feel relieved? I won't have to work quite so hard to keep my secret, to appear totally "normal." I won't have to struggle as much to maintain a façade. But, I still worry about how they'll use this information.
On the other hand, I have become a little more vulnerable.
I have cleared a bit of the crusted dirt from the glass.