“I stood motionless in the mirrored room, afraid even the smallest breath would trigger some involuntary reaction within me. Would I throw up? Would I cry? Would I lose control of my bladder? Or worse, if I moved, would he see me too, through the open window of the dance studio? His hair was much longer, and his face was fuller – he was old now. I suppose I am too.”
-Excerpt from my journal last week.
It’s been a week since I saw Stephen. I was waiting for my breakdown. That day on the drive home I did shed a few tears from the shock of seeing him – but that was it. To put things in perspective the last time I saw him before this instance was about 3 yrs ago. It was at Wal-Mart, (late because I go, ironically, hoping not to run into anyone I know.) I had turned my cart around the corner and he was looking at cleaning supplies. It was a heartbeat, or lack thereof, and I grabbed my purse, left the cart, and left the store. I had wet myself and threw up in the parking lot. I waited in my car until my parents came to pick me up. The last time I saw him before that his hands were on either side of my head and he was putting so much pressure on my skull I thought my face would split down the center.
I kept waiting to feel something – more. It’s not that I was numb, I didn’t feel good or even apathetic about seeing him. But it wasn’t the overwhelming, crippling panic – a mix of hopelessness, rage and defeat I had felt for so long. Maybe it’s the years of therapy, or becoming sober from fix-it pills, or turning thirty. Four days had passed and it finally dawned on me. I don’t believe I’ll ever be over what happened. I’m still quite a ways from forgiving Stephen – if that’s even a possibility. I recognize now that time doesn’t make you forget, but it does make you strong. I have been both literally and metaphorically barring the scars he left, carrying the weight of all the trauma for years. I know better now. I had survived and I would keep on surviving. Maybe this seems like a small feat, but when something almost kills you and lose that fear –
I will continue to overcome.
I may not forgive him. I may still be angry. But I no longer fear him.
I will never again be silent in the face of bullshit and I’ll be damned if I’m compliant. Do not back down. Speak the truth. I am not grateful for what has transpired, but I am grateful that the universe used that situation, and every situation since to help me find my voice, and reveal my strength.