I don’t know how to tell my truth without telling this part, but it’s one of the scariest and hardest ones to tell.
CW: sexual assault, description of feelings/affects post assault
I don’t know how to start at the beginning, so I’ll start with the second poem I wrote after it happened:
I heal through
through a thousand
words written by
someone else about
splashing on poetry
put down on paper
by gods in human
I heal through
time and distractions
and stillness and
and trees reaching
out to hold me
I was sexually assaulted last summer. After days had passed and my body stopped shaking, I was able to voice that something happened to me without my consent. But barely able. My voice felt weak and afraid. I felt shame I didn’t know was possible.
I’m writing about it now because I don’t want to be afraid any more. And I am afraid. I’ve been afraid since the moment it happened. And hours and hours and days of my life have been stolen by panic and flashbacks and waking up in the night sweating and crying.
I shared the second poem I wrote after, because the first one is too raw, too close, too real. I wrote it with my lungs gasping for air, and my panic shivering over my skin. I feel like I’m writing a poem now, because when I don’t know how to put words to pain, poems bubble up from the bottom of my stomach like a scream set free.
And I don’t want to hold this back anymore.
I could tell you about the confusion, about the shame, about the questions burning behind my eyes. I could tell you what it feels like to be a statistic now. I could write for days about the nightmares and the rivers I created with my tears.
I could tell you about how I flinch when someone touches me, and how I feel divorced from my body. I could tell you about how angry and sad and scared I am. I could tell you that this is why you haven’t heard from me lately, because I’ve been hiding and trying to heal.
I could tell you about having PTSD, and the myriad of frustrating and debilitating complications that brings to my life. I could tell you about how I haven’t been able to relax my shoulders, or unclench my fists.
I could tell you about how I tried to downplay it, pretend it didn’t happen, make it smaller than it was. And how it took over my thoughts night after night, and I felt weak and helpless and afraid.
Today though, I want to tell you some things about me:
I am strong
I am made of stars
I have been broken, but I will not break forever