Grief Diary: Coasting

On March 16, 2015, I slammed into a wall. That wall was the death of my beloved. Fifteen years of a very complicated, on\off again relationship ended.

In the years before Male died, we had been slowly moving towards forever. We were as on again as we had been since we first met. Just before he died, he promised me the rest of his life. He kept his promise, but neither of us knew it would be less than two months from the time we made that promise to each other in words, not just in action. The last thing I said to him was a complaint about a heat wave in March. He didn’t respond to my text because he was already dead.

Before March 16, 2015, we had been moving on a positive course. He was going to law school. I was making plans to move to another city with him when graduated–a fresh start for both of us. Since that day, all forward movement stopped.

Somehow, I survived his death, but that’s all I’m doing. I am not living; I am merely surviving. I don’t want to, or can’t fathom, moving forward without him, so I haven’t moved at all. I’ve just been coasting. I live in the same place with the same crappy job and I rarely see my friends.

None of this is conscious decision-making. It’s subconscious self-sabotage and I’ve only recently realized my motivations once again.

I’m a grand master at self-sabotage. I don’t even have think about it. It’s muscle memory. There’s a huge part of my subconscious brain working to make me think that I’m not worthy of anything. It told me that I wasn’t worthy of Male’s love and trust, so I sabotaged our relationship, just like I’ve sabotaged every relationship I’ve ever had. For fifteen years, he stuck around through my attempts at destruction.

The sabotage is second nature. It started when I was very young. My parents didn’t believe me when I finally worked up the courage to tell them that the man they allowed to live in our house was sexually assaulting me. I was only seven years old when it started, eight when I told my parents.

By the time it ended, 12.5% of my life had been spent believing that no one can be trusted, and that love meant being tied up and gagged while objects were stuck inside of me. Eight years of total life experience is not enough to process something like that by yourself. I’m not sure that eighty years is even enough, but eight definitely isn’t. It distorted my views on absolutely everything. It’s better to be alone than to be hurt again, so it says.

Sometimes, I wonder who I would be had I not been sexually assaulted for a year. Had he never discovered me… had my parents believed me and made it stop… had he been prosecuted for what he did or even accused… had I gotten some psychiatric help and not carried this burden alone for so long… but the what ifs never solve anything.

That was so long ago. It’s not the focus of my life, but it is the foundation. It is the bedrock on which my entire life was built. I didn’t deal with it then–I forgot or ignored its existence long into adulthood–so I’m still struggling with it now.

I still have so much anger in me. I cannot forgive–neither the pedophile nor my family for not protecting me–so I cannot move on. I’m not sure that forgiveness is necessary in that process, but acceptance definitely is. I acknowledge, but I do not accept. I deny a world that would allow a child to go through that, so I skirt the periphery. I survive on the edges, never thriving as part of the whole.

I have always been alone in this. I carried it around with me all by myself for all but the first seven years of my life. It’s only been in the past few years–really, since I started this blog–that I realized I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who has carried this kind of weight.

Male understood. He didn’t have the same experience, but he had a parallel kind that allowed him to see into my darkness and understand. Since he disappeared from my life on March 16, 2015, I have one less person who understands me. I have one less person whom I trust and the number of people I trust was embarrassingly small to begin with. It now amounts to one handful of people and a dog.

So, I’ve been coasting. When Male died, I effectively died, too. I haven’t been alive for 587 days. I’ve just been going through the motions. When I consciously think about it, I want to stop coasting, but I don’t know how.

When I try to convince myself to make an action–any action, no matter how small–I freeze. Calling around to find a therapist again, which I probably desperately need… putting my résumé together to get out of my dead-end shitty job… these things are enormous when I’m already carrying so much.

I need to start somewhere, so I’m writing about it. It’s funny how one little action can change so much. At least, for now, I’m still coasting. It’s better than stopping altogether.