* Trigger Warning *
The linked articles discuss and detail experiences of Sexual Assault, and this post discusses PTSD.
To be perfectly honest, I had a very different post in mind for tonight, but then THIS article popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, and it totally hit a nerve. I sat on my thoughts for a few hours, re-read the article and typed up a response. I've drafted, copied and saved, then deleted this post from my Facebook Status bar at least 15 times tonight already.
I don't like to get super dark on my Facebook feed anymore, but I also believe in being honest about my lived experience.
As much as I'd like to say that what happened when I was 25 hasn't changed the way I go about my every day life - beyond pushing me to be a better person, and being part of why I believe so strongly in what I'm doing with my life now, I honestly can't.
I've known for years that it was literally a matter of time before this conversation would come looking for me - whether as a result of a 12 Step Program, or not.
This is exactly why I don't answer phone numbers I don't recognise or have saved in my phone.
This is why I don't answer the door unless I'm expecting someone.
This is why I feel safe walking alone through dark streets, but it's taken me years to learn to feel comfortable about falling asleep at night.
This is why I wasn't surprised when a friend request from a new Facebook account with their name flashed across my phone screen last month.
Annoyed and unimpressed.
But not surprised.
That's what I generally encourage people to do when they see shit they don't like online - And generally it's a pretty good tactic - although it's one I want to explore more in the post I was planning on writing tonight.
As much as I want to know that they learned something, and I want them to be better, and I hope like fuck that they never put another woman through what they did to me. I know that it's not something I can be part of.
Sometimes things are best left unsaid and undone.
Sometimes there's no making things better, or putting things right.
I can accept never having closure, and I can accept that what happened, happened.
But I also know my limits, and I know whether a conversation is worth having or not.
I'm learning to accept that things do, and will continue to affect me every now and then, because I'm not a sociopath. This is a good thing.
Sometimes, even if we aren't in a place where we can have a conversation about these things, it's still worthwhile to spend some time sitting with what we're experiencing, and acknowledging how we feel.
I know that everyone is different, and that for many people, PTSD and triggered responses are very real and terrifying experiences. For me, I've found that each time something has triggered such a huge response, I've learned something more about myself, and healed another layer of old scar tissue.