It’s been a year since I went to the hospital. I guess I’ve changed a lot since then. When people talk about me these days, they use words like “graceful” and “sophisticated.” I guess I’m just more reserved when it comes to the wild fuck girl bull shit, which is fine.
Since everything that happened a year ago, my main gripes have been with the people who I thought were my friends who wound up abandoning me. I don’t really talk about “the incident” too much because, well, it’s very personal. I don’t want to talk about my trauma too publicly because, well – it’s more than personal. It’s fucking embarrassing. I’m embarrassed that I lost control like that, so publicly and so wildly.
But there’s another reason why I don’t talk about “the incident.” The fact of the matter is, I don’t want to talk about the other person who was in the room when it happened. I have successfully and completely deleted this person from my life, and it’s for the better. I don’t want to talk about “the incident” because I don’t want to talk about him. Talking about “the incident” means his name will come up, and as soon as I say his name, he becomes real again. He becomes less a specter of disgust and repulsion and more a real human being in which I was emotionally invested. Talking about “the incident” gives my character misjudgment flesh. My mistake has a face and a name again.
I hate that my trauma is inextricably attached to him. I am so proud of myself for growing in the last year. I am disappointed that such deep trauma was the impetus for my growth. I resent that he had any role in it, negative or positive. I rue the fact that I am trapped in that memory with him. There is no erasing him from that moment. I can erase him from the moments before that and all the ones after. But he is there, every time I close my eyes and flash back to that dark room. There he is, holding a gun. There he is, with a name and a face. He’s real.
If I had the power, he would be faceless and nameless. But that’s not a practical desire. When I read about other women who put names and faces on their abusers, I wonder: what can we really do? We can’t erase these people from society. There is no death sentence for sexual assault, not even in a vigilante sense. There is no jail time for hurting someone else, not even in the real world. We have to cope with the fact that the people who took our happiness from us are still unfettered and unhindered, living there lives, out there somewhere. It doesn’t feel fair.
If there’s one thing I want out of life, it’s to know that the people who have made me suffer are suffering at least ten times as much as they made me suffer. This is something that brings me joy and happiness in life. And if there’s one thing I want out of life, it’s joy and happiness.
I do not think I will get that satisfaction in this lifetime. Even though I know it takes a miserable person to inflict pain on someone else, that is not enough. I need more than that.
When it comes to certain things in life, I have revenge fantasies. When it comes to other things in life, I have revenge realities. But when it comes to this, I feel nothing. I do not lie awake at night, dreaming about hunting him down and dismembering his face. I do not think of what would happen if I called his mother (yes, I have her phone number) and told her what her son did to me. Instead, I am cold. And I think that is the best.
Instead, I have decided to live my best life. Not out of revenge or spite, but out of self love. If there was one thing this person wanted to take from me, it was my dignity. My self respect. My confidence. My survival instinct that takes me way beyond survival and down the path of success. He wanted to see me broken, but, instead, I am whole. (I feel this way about most people and institutions I encounter in life.)
I hope to never see this person ever again in my life. But, if I do, I would like to look at him down my nose and into a gutter, where I can see him writhing in pain. Me? I don’t look away, I just look good.