I’m Not Okay Today.

I don’t even know where to begin this particular blog. I don’t have any of what I think are funny antics or silly opening stories. I feel completely raw and exposed. I feel thrown for a loop, not at all something I expected when I woke up this morning. I feel drained and shaken. When I woke up this morning I was tired, I had coffee too late in the afternoon yesterday thinking I could handle it, apparently I cannot. So I was up late last night, mind racing, thinking all the thoughts, over-analyzing every single thing in my life, as I often do. It was multiplied by a thousand because of course my coffee induced brain. My son also has a cold and kept waking up and crying and coughing so I slept on the floor by his crib, so when he woke up coughing I could nurse him back to sleep. So I woke up pretty tired, feeling for the most part at peace and ready to take on my day. When I put my son down for his morning nap my little sis and I decided to watch some funny t.v., she fell asleep watching though and I realized I hadn’t watched the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been watching the show since I was in college and naturally was like, cool she’s asleep, time to see what’s happening this week. I don’t know if I missed the “sensitive material” warning on Hulu or if they even had it, I probably would have ignored it and watched it anyway. I was not prepared for the reaction I would have, not at all.

I am not entirely sure how trauma works. I do know, having walked through my fair share of trauma over the last year, that there are in fact “triggers” that occur. In my own experience those triggers lead to re-living the trauma or being “taken” back to that place emotionally. I am only now really trying to engage self or become self aware if you will, understand who I am and what makes me tick, who God created me to be and understanding my past and decisions I’ve made, why I do what I do etcetera. I am not a scholar or a psychologist or anything like that, obviously, haha. I am just speaking solely out of my own experiences. When I watched this episode (STOP HERE, if you are currently watching the show and don’t want it to be SPOILED.) and it was dealing with rape, I didn’t realize what a massive trigger it would be for me. I had NO clue it would WRECK me today. No clue, that I would be so upset and crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. You know the kind of crying that is therapy in and of itself, the kind that you’re heaving and you can’t talk and there is literally snot pouring out of your nose. The kind that once your done you feel like you weigh ten pounds less. I thought that I was okay. I thought I had done the work and had healed from the trauma of my own rape, you know I hesitated to type that for a minute, I was going to type sexual assault, which it was, but rape is such a heavy, disgusting, ugly word. It’s ugly. It’s repulsive and it makes you feel dirty and gross and sometimes when people know that about you they look at you with different eyes, almost like pity or I don’t really know what. I’ve been wearing my story, with a badge of honor almost, like I don’t want to be looked at like a victim, but a victor. It’s just sometimes the weight of it and the reminder of a storm you survived literally punches you in the face and knocks you out cold and you didn’t even expect it.

I have been really struggling today with whether or not I’ve fully healed from this experience, I mean in happened almost 12 years ago. Do you ever fully recover from trauma? I guess this is what I am wondering. I mean have i regressed because I saw something that shattered me for today? That I watched this episode and saw myself and my story, that as the actor delivered her monologue she was speaking my reasons for not reporting my own rape, that I could see and feel her fear, that I could see my face in hers as she was delivering those lines and as they performed the rape kit on her I found some weird sense of healing in that because I was too scared to get my own, that watching that scene with tears pouring down my face left me feeling unhinged. That in one of the following scenes when the parallel story was happening the woman spoke about watching what was happening to her, hovering outside of her own body, she said,”That’s the moment I lost my mind” and the clarity that hit me in my own head like a ton of bricks I realized I had a similar experience when I saw myself in the shower, sobbing not wanting to admit what happened, after it happened, that’s the moment my innocence went down the drain, along with my saving myself for my husband because I was a virgin and that was in fact the moment that I lost my mind, that I lost myself. As a matter of fact I wrote a blog about that particular experience a few years ago, and I thought I was okay. This really has thrown me for a loop because I keep thinking, am I okay? I thought I was okay, I thought I was healed. So I wonder, if with trauma triggers happen, memories come back and just like the most recent trauma you work through it. You face it head on and you slay the dragon, because you are a survivor. You are fierce. You are a warrior. You bring that UGLY, disgusting thing that wants you to keep it buried in the dark, festering and growing and taking up root in your heart and in your life until in suffocates you. You bring it in to the light and you are gentle and gracious with yourself and you know these truths:

  • John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
  • Luke 1:79 “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
  • John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
  • Psalm 18:28 “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”

So I can slay this dragon. I can cling to the truth of God’s word. I believe that what He says is true. I believe that I don’t have to sit and fester in the sadness, that I can experience it, feel what I need to feel and give it back to God because He is “For I am the Lord who heals you.” – Exodus 15:26 and “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” – Psalm 147:2 So whether I have a flashback to a trauma I experienced years ago or I am healing from the present I can trust without a shadow of a doubt that it is okay to feel what I am feeling, it is okay to rest in that for a little while and not stuff my emotions or hide it and tell everyone how amazing I am doing. I can say today is hard, shockingly hard, unexpectedly hard but I know that my God is healer, I have seen, felt and experienced His healing in my life and in my heart and I don’t have to worry that I have regressed in my journey. I can have peace knowing He created me to feel and He can heal even the deepest darkest wounds, the ones I choose to share and the ones I choose to keep to myself. This blog today was really just me desperately needing to work out what was going on in my head and heart. If you have experienced or are experiencing something similar, you are brave, you are a survivor and you are not alone. Feel free to message me and I would love to be a listening ear as you process. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that please know you have resources. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it’s never too late to get help. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org this link opens in a new tab to chat anonymously one-on-one with a trained staff member.

Thank you for going on these journeys with me, each blog I write helps my head and my heart align and allows me the opportunity to continue healing and stepping into who God has created me to be. I am thankful for the creative space to do this. My hope is that even one person is encouraged and can see that there is hope. That they don’t have to walk through the storms, the mess and the yuck alone.

Feeling like a legit hot mess today,

Elisha

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#WhyIDidntReport

Because I was 22 and a brand new flight attendant. He was 10 years older than me and a pilot. Because I was terrified that I was going to get I trouble as if somehow it was my fault that he took advantage of me. Because I was brand new at my company and still on probation. Because I had only been to the gynecologist once and was terrified of whatever rape kit test they were going to have to do to me. Because I was scared of it being publicized. Because I was so mind numbingly scared I couldn’t think straight. Because I didn’t know what to do. Because he was older and in a position of power. Because I was afraid. Because when you are violated in such a personal, vicious way your brain shuts down and goes into self preservation mode and not everyone responds the same way to trauma.

That’s why I didn’t report it. That’s why I didn’t tell. That’s why I was crippled by fear for so long. That’s why it took me years to tell me story. I am so disgusted by the response of the president. Literally it is sickening. Disgusted. Yes let’s victim shame this woman because she didn’t report him. Let’s put her down and down play what happened to her. Let’s put all sexual assault victims in a box and tell them because they didn’t respond in a timely manner or in a way that fits into your narrow minded box that their experience is invalid and doesn’t matter or didn’t happen. People who perpetuate this type of behavior are narrow minded and ignorant and foolish and I have zero tolerance for it.

I lost myself.

lose
lo͞oz/Submit
verb
1.
be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something).”I’ve lost my appetite”
synonyms: be deprived of, suffer the loss of; no longer have
“he’s lost a lot of blood”

2.
become unable to find (something or someone). “I’ve lost the car keys”
synonyms: mislay, misplace, be unable to find, lose track of, leave (behind), fail to keep/retain, fail to keep sight of

This verb is powerful. I am in the midst of the most difficult time in my life. I’ve walked through broken hearts, death in my family, one each year for 4 years. Rape. And this particular time in my life is worse than all of those combined. The reason I chose to title my first post, ” I lost myself” is because I feel like I have “become unable to find” myself. That I have “failed to keep” myself. I am “deprived of or have ceased to retain” myself. I am completely and utterly lost.

Over the last decade I have finally come to notice there have been a fair amount of traumatic events that have occurred. The one event that had the most damaging effect on me was being raped. I was a brand new flight attendant; ridiculously happy to have gotten the most amazing job I could have ever hoped for. I graduated from a tiny little Christian college and I was NAIVE and TRUSTING of EVERYONE and of course ready to see the world; eager for everything flying had to offer. I had only been “on the line” (training was over and I was an official flight attendant, still on “probation” of course, 6 months of that, so I couldn’t do ANYTHING wrong, not even call in sick) for 4 months and I got the layover I was PRAYING for HONOLULU. I was so excited. I was obsessed with the beach and had never been to Hawaii so naturally I was beaming. I was beaming even more when I introduced myself to the first officer. I swear he looked like he walked off of The Bachelor. Yes First Officer Hottie, I will accept this rose. I was smitten, he was so hot. And he asked me out so naturally as a bonehead 22 year old I started thinking, ” Oh my gosh he’s beautiful and he’s a pilot and I’m a flight attendant and we are going to fall in love and get married and life will be perfect.” Ridiculous I know but I had just come from small town Christian college where there was the running joke, “You go there to get your MRS. degree”. Insert eye roll, I know. Anyway he asked me out on the plane pretty quickly and I was clearly thirsty. I swear it was like I’d never seen a boy before.

Fast forward 5 hours through the amazing inflight service, the halfway to Hawaii game, several movies and passengers later and I was in my hotel room in Honolulu getting ready for my date with First Officer Hottie. At this point in my life I was 22, educated, cause of my degree 😉 and confident in who I was. I was excited for this date. I heard him knock on my hotel door and I opened it. I looked hot or so I thought. I can still see exactly what I was wearing. I think that’s normal when you experience something traumatic to have the details etched into your brain. He was standing there like he owned the place and I looked at him doe-eyed and eager for our date. Before I walked out my hotel room door I said, ” If you think I am going to sleep with you tonight its not going to happen. I am not that type of girl and we will need to say goodnight now.” I was a virgin and planning on saving myself until I got married. I’ve often reflected on what I said to him replaying it in my mind over and over, wondering if he took that as a challenge. To me I felt like I creating a necessary boundary and if he wasn’t down with that I wasn’t going to waste his time or mine. But he complied and smiled and said “Not at all.” So I thought I was safe. I thought I was safe. Writing that breaks my heart for that stupid, naive girl. Walking out of her room expecting to enjoy the first night of her seemingly grown up life only to have her entire existence change.

I didn’t drink much at all. It wasn’t allowed at the college I went to. Not even if you were 21, not at all. However I did have my first drink at 21. I went out with a bunch of my friends and I had a “Sex on the Beach”, (ironic huh?) which I shared with ALL of my friends there, so I basically only had a sip and then I did a shot and oh my gosh I was TERRIFIED I was going to get drunk so that was my 21st… Hilarious right?!?! Then my senior year of college I got actually drunk for the first time. I went to my very first party at a friend from school’s house and proceeded to have maybe 3 drinks and I couldn’t walk. It was AUTOMATIC truth serum for me and I was blurting out everything to EVERYONE within earshot. I was like “Guys Jesus is going to be mad at me.” I was really concerned about that and the guy next to me left the couch because I was a “buzzkill”. After a few hours of throwing up everything I had ever eaten I decided I was never drinking again. Well a year later in flight attendant training which was like 6 weeks of straight up movie college life. I was drinking again. Not excessive and certainly not getting as drunk as the first time but definitely lived my college experience at flight attendant school.

We went downstairs to the hotel restaurant and I ordered some fruity Hawaiian cocktail because I was grown and sophisticated and a flight attendant and this is what you do on a date with a hot guy 10 years older than you. I excused myself once to go to the bathroom and of course check that I still looked cute. I can’t remember if I ate or what but I came back and finished my drink and we walked to the next place. We met up with some of his pilot friends because he used to fly for a Hawaiian airline. I remember ordering 2 more drinks that night, I think we went dancing somewhere and I remember his friend warming me to be careful and I thought that was weird but I was too carefree and jovial to even give credibility to what he said or heed his warning. Plus I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him. I said that. I said nothing was going to happen. It was my terms, my boundary and my body. I’m sure it was a gorgeous night out but I was tipsy and giddy and a total lightweight and just happy to have the company of this guy so I don’t quite remember the details but it was Honolulu in July in the middle of the night so I am sure it was perfect out. We walked back to the hotel and I should have said goodnight. I should have gone to my room and said goodnight. I didn’t. We went back to his room and started making out. Then we were on the bed and the kissing continued. It’s around this time that things start to become really really foggy. I knew something was happening to me, I could feel pressure but I didn’t know what it was, what was happening and I couldn’t speak, let alone think.

Everything went black. I have absolutely no recollection of the actual rape. I came to, had no grasp of the time. I was fully clothed so that was really confusing and then I looked up and saw that he was completely naked. To say I freaked out was an understatement. I had never seen a man naked before and that was not the way I wanted it to happen. I have no clue what I said but there was a lot of yelling and I left. I am thankful to this day that he didn’t try and kill me or something because I was hysterical and couldn’t remember or understand or make sense of what just happened. I was just so so so scared. I went back to my room feeling dirtier than I have ever felt in my life. To this day I have never felt as filthy as I did that night. I unlocked my hotel room and shut it behind me. I went into the bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as it could go and I got undressed and I sat there and bled and bled and bled. I can not mentally go there. I can see the image of myself  naked, arms wrapped around my knees, weeping, water pouring over me and the blood going down the drain. It feels like someone else. Like I am watching a movie. I can’t attach the emotion to me. If I do I don’t know if I can recover. That was the moment I lost myself. I didn’t tell anyone. The shame and guilt was far to crippling, crushing, heavy to bear. I had been saving myself for marriage and know I was damaged. 22 years of waiting for the perfect waiting night, being genuinely excited to wait, totally okay with not having sex even though everyone else was and I was the total weirdo for not and I had that gift taken from me. I wish I could say I called the cops and got a rape kit and he was arrested and prosecuted but I was SCARED, ASHAMED, HORRIFIED. I genuinely thought that somehow, someway I would have gotten in trouble and the airline would have sided with him and I would have lost my job. It was horrific. I didn’t tell. I was silent and the once vibrant, vivacious, outgoing woman I was got lost.

That was nearly 10 years ago and that was the moment I got lost. I am 32 now, married and still lost. Being raped was paralyzing. I have not recovered from that and the ten years of life that happened after has been adding on to that event like Jenga blocks. And finally everything crumbled. All the blocks have fallen down and I am left in pieces. I am a complete and total mess. God works well with brokenness. I know that. I realized in the middle of being shattered I can not fix this on my own. I can’t continue to be fake. I can’t continue to pretend that I have it all together. I can’t keep up the facade. So I have decided to step into finding truth ( being accurate and exact) and transparency (honest and open and not secretive). I want to find myself again and rejoin the world of living people. Understand who I am and who God created me to be. To live as a victor and not be a victim of my circumstances. To rise above trauma and pain and to learn to be emotionally healthy. That’s why I decided to write. This is my journey to freedom and to rediscovering me.