When the rug made up of the fabric of who you are is pulled out from under you, what is left?
This one is a hard one to post. But it's real. And I think it's important to share. I think it's important to share what's real and true and ugly and painful, and because of all of that, the ugliest of accounts can be incredibly helpful and encouraging.
I had the bipolar breakdown in June, 2017, and I struggled horribly for a very long time, all the while involved with Married Man. That relationship ended Valentine's Day, 2018. Can you fucking believe that? I'll never have a decent Valentine's Day again! And neither will Jeff, and neither will Jeff's wife... I digress. The fact is, I was a mess when I wrote this.
The date rape happened the same week as the last time I was with Married Man, late January 2018. I finally filed a police report in January 2022, four years later, after finding out there is no statute of limitation on rape.
I speak with my Louisville detective about once a month. My rapist has refused to speak to the police, and the file is sitting on the DA's desk.
It doesn't really matter what happens at this point. I did my part. I filed a report. I championed myself. He knows I know what he did, and he knows the police know, and that it's on record. Really, that is all I really wanted. For him to know I know and that the police took me seriously, in spite of the fact I was insanely promiscuous at the time of the rape.
When I filed the report, I told the detective, over and over, I hadn't reported it previously because I knew I had no credibility. I was not only incredibly promiscuous, but I write about the sex I have, and it's on my blog, available for public consumption. Hell, I've turned some of it into erotica, and it's on literotica.com.
The neuropsych testing was done about that same timeframe, in fact just after it ended with Married Man. It absolutely threw me for a loop. I had serious brain dysfunction related to the bipolar which manifested as issues with cognition and memory.
Am I still of average intelligence? The thing that so mortified me then? Well, I think my brain has healed a great deal in four years. But if I'm of average intelligence, so the fuck what? What is average? What is normal? Is my worth based on my IQ? Well, I'd like to say I'm free from looking at it that way, but shit. Who am I kidding?
I still like it that I'm smart. And I am smart. I don't doubt that. Perhaps not as cognitively able as I was before the bipolar breakdown, and I do have memory issues, but I'm still me. I'm still SMART ME!
The difference now, is, I'm more than my SMART. I'm a whole big wonderful, wonderous, incredible, fascinating HOT MESS of a woman. And I love this Coco. Because I worked hard to become this COCO. And this COCO is GOOD.
But more importantly, I make a difference in the lives of others through my writing. Which is the thing I aspired to accomplish my entire life. I'm doing it. If I weren't here, doing what I am doing, there would be a hole in the universe where I was supposed to be. So. I stay the course. I choose life. I Persevere.
And it wasn't the IQ thing that was eating me up, putting me so close to death. It was the RAPE. Emma knew that, and that's what she addressed. She knew the truth all along. And I just only now figured it out putting together this post.
Smart girl, that Emma. I'm honored we are still in touch, still friends. I love you, Emma. You're My Tribe.
February 28, 2018 Journal Entry
I am supposed to go to the doctor and have an STD exam. I can't quite bring myself to do it. I am supposed to do an STD screen every three months now. I'm still engaging in high risk behavior. I had all the blood work done three weeks ago, all negative. And I've been using condoms.
Don't think I've always used condoms. I haven't. Particularly not with men my age. But I've become a real condom Nazi since I was date raped. I was date raped. Not officially raped, it won't hold up under prosecution. I was complicit, I was compliant, I was even appropriately responsive. I was afraid. He led me to believe he had a gun. So I didn't say NO. I lost my voice. I lost my adult woman voice, the one that I have been building and strengthening and using my entire adult life. My woman voice that can and will and does say NO. I lost her, I lost my NO voice. It devastated me. Who am I without my NO voice?
Since I got my neuropsych testing results. I've taken enough Klonipin to put a horse to sleep, so I'm not remembering much from the last two days. On a scale of one to ten, ten being I'm going to go ahead and off myself, I'm hovering around a six. That means I think about it a lot but have no plan. And I usually try to stop myself from thinking about it too much because it's a waste of time, I'm not going to do it, and it just makes me more anxious. Then I take more Klonipin. Then more of the Klonipin Hamster Wheel. Another way to run myself ragged emotionally. I want off the Klonipin Hamster Wheel. I want off all the hamster wheels in my life. I want off.
The most ridiculous thing I can't stop obsessing about is that my IQ dropped from 124 to 98. I'm normal. I'm in the normal range. For fuck's sake. I've NEVER been normal. I've always been smarter. Always always always always. I pinned my self-esteem, my self-worth on the fact that I'm smarter. It was the one thing I thought I could count on never changing my whole life.
I HATE normal IQ people. They make me SICK. I'm so much better than them! I wouldn't date one, I wouldn't even be friends with one. They're small and petty and narrow minded and they have an incomplete world view, if they even have a world view, and I want nothing to do with them. Consequently, I want away from this Coco, I want nothing to do with the Coco with the 98 IQ. I hate her.
The doctor explained to me that IQ is not a measure of intelligence. It is a measure of how well the parts of the brain are working together to process information. I did not know that. I thought IQ was how smart you are and that it doesn't change and if you're smart, you're born smart, and God bless you and God bless God for making you smart.
I understand intellectually what the doctor said, and it makes sense. But for someone to tell me "Your IQ falls within the normal range" is probably one of the most devastating things I could hear. It makes me want to just die, actually. With my high IQ, I believed I could accomplish things. Meaningful significant things. Now my high IQ is gone. What is my worth? I feel it is nothing.
I can't get my apartment in order, I can't keep my apartment in order. I'm overwhelmed by the simplest tasks. I'd say I'm 85% able to take care of myself and my home. But that 15% that I am unable to master becomes the sticking point for my self-esteem, for my ability to feel "OK" about my surroundings, about myself. For my ability to ward off deeper depression.
I don't shower, change my clothes, or leave the apartment for days. I'm not able to take the garbage out by myself because I'm afraid of rats. This is a new phobia I've developed since living here. I made it up in my own mind! I'm not afraid of rats! There is no basis for this phobia. Rats do not climb the fire escape to the seventh floor to find food. They likely stick to the first or second floor. There's a catering business on the second floor. Plenty of food there! They'd have no need to climb higher than the second floor.
I compare myself to who I was "before" and the difference is shocking. Horrifying. Then I feel as if I don't know who I am, who I've become. And my self-hate flourishes. My self-hate is like cancer that is growing rapidly, gorging on all the pieces inside me that make me Me, that make me Special Me, that woman I've always believed myself to be. Self-hate is eating up all my goodness and leaving behind just pain and emptiness and an overwhelming desire to cease. I'm terrified.
I’m losing all the things about me that made me proud of Me. My intelligence, my career, my income, my self-sufficiency, my ability to manage and control my own life. Those were the things upon which my self-esteem and my self-worth have been based my entire life.
When the rug made up of the fabric of who you are is pulled out from under you, what is left?
February 28, 2018 Email from Emma
What you articulated here was perfect. I am so sorry you are going through this... but if it helps I am going through it too. I was drugged and raped in June. I know exactly how you feel. To know what is happening, but to be completely unable to say no. It sent me in spiral too. I still don't feel right. And the head stuff, the brain... doing the simplest shit...
We are smart fucking women. We know how to clean our house. We know how to handle our business. But for some reason there is something in our head telling us that we can't. People like us, achievers... we struggle with patience. Because patience means not doing... and we suck at that.
I started seeing a therapist in October, and I stopped end of January. I thought I was handling everything okay, but I was falling apart. She made a world of difference. My head still isn't back.... the simple tasks are so fucking hard... and they take everything I have... I am so nervous that I am going to get fired... But I feel more like myself... I feel less... I feel less less. If that makes sense.
I completely relate to feeling... overwhelmed with my own stupidity. I can't speak any more... I can't focus... all I do is watch TV and play on my phone. I am gaining weight. I feel so bad about myself.
But something to keep in mind, we didn't choose to have this happen to us. We didn't ask for this man to do this. We didn't make plans with the thought, "Oh I am going to get assaulted tonight".
We are smart strong women. And it’s so fucking hard to remember that. Each day we do something that is hard for us, is a day we throw in that fucker’s face. The past us was a strong, smart woman. The present us is a strong smart woman. We need today, so that tomorrow we can be stronger and wiser.
Honestly, fuck the men that make us feel that way... what gave them the right to make us doubt us?
It’s really hard to type all this... I am just sitting here crying...
But really... When did we allow someone else to dictate our intelligence? Our worth?... We know who we are. We know who we can be.
Should is relative. Fuck "should".
Coco, every day we just have to ask ourselves what will I do today? And sometimes it is just take a shower. Sometimes it’s bigger, go to the grocery store. What is important, is that we allow ourselves to be proud of our "small" accomplishments... because they really are big ones right now.
So to answer your question. When the rug of fabric of who you are is pulled out, what is left... We are still left. And over time, we will make a different but better rug. But we just have to be patient and kind to ourselves.... and we are just not very good at that.
It fucking sucks.
[Original publication 7/27/2022]