It may be because I am sick with an awful cold or it may simply be my truth. We all have our own truth; we all walk down different trails in life and stumble from time to time. But I am lonely. I am lonely if I am in a room of people. I am lonely when I laugh and when I smile and when I have loved and have made love.
What has made me this way? What has caused me to earnestly believe that life outside the very small and intentional life I have built does not exist? Why do I isolate myself?
I wake up early, 6 a.m, after long nights of tossing and turning. This is my normal. I have a large bed and when I look to my right my chocolate lab, Keaton, sleeps beside me. Sometimes he is lying on his back, his legs in the air, and I smile. At the end of my bed is my cat, Ozzy, he’s 9 years old now and a fluffy Garfield of a cat. But I wonder how much longer I can sleep without another person beside me.
I have been in love twice. I recall waking up to a warm body and arms around my torso. I remember a masculine hand toying with my hair before I fell asleep. I remember being sick, as I am now, and having someone love me enough to buy me frozen yogurt and kiss me on the cheek. I remember feeling safe.
So, what happened? Why are my walls so high? It’s almost cliche for me to talk about sexual abuse and the impact it has had on my ability to form new and healthy relationships. After all, it’s all over the internet now. Women – and men – stating simply “me too” to indicate that they have been the target of sexual abuse and/or harassment.
But those two small words – what do they mean? What do they look like? What do they fucking feel like?
They mean something different to each person who states them. But for me they conjure up memories of men from my past. Bad men. Men who kicked me in the stomach and forced me to do things I no longer ever want to do again. Men who called me words like “Cun*” and “stupid fucking bitch.” Men who told me I was ugly, fat, worthless.
If you are told you are something for long enough you start to believe it. So I pulled away. I’ve locked myself inside of myself because I am scared. I tell myself, every single day, that it’s better to be alone then to be hurt.
And my mother and sister tell me, “date someone nice” and so I do. I go on dates with nice men but as soon as they simply rest a hand on mine I pull away. I don’t mean to – it just sort of happens. I am scared of all men now. But I want so badly to have a relationship and life outside of the little box I have built. Outside. of. Myself.
But I cannot blame them – not entirely. I understand that those who hurt others were often hurt themselves. I could have left these situations earlier. I could have and should have gone to the police. But I was too scared. I thought it must somehow be my fault. I thought nobody would believe me.
So, me too.