Backspace/Delete

Rewrite the story.
you’re tied to you and not someone else.

I discover this scribbled in a folded corner of my idea journal, a cloth enclosed book I ambitiously started jotting and connecting dots for blog posts in before returning to the comfortable memo and notes on my phone.

I re-read it a few times, perplexed where my mind was heading back in February. Was I ashamed of my past relationships, embarrassed that the “survivor” label was etched on me by men I didn’t want anything to do with? Exasperated that there is approximately a 10 year block I want to carve out, throw away, start over? From giphy, PBS, and the bawse creators of Dora Winifred Reed

Goddamn it. Phuck.

Stumbling across it again, I was upset with myself, assuming the only trajectory was to  deny my past self in the name of growth and new chapters.

Deny myself. Obliterate and nullify. That sounded familiar: I shoved rumblings of trauma clawing their way up back down into some nondescript “I have other things to deal with” box, scrubbed and chiseled at my past self until I thought she was erased along with everything she had experienced.

That was a path of self-denial I no longer wanted to travel. The abuse, assault, insults and mockery of my mental health happened and are integrated into who and why I am. Not the totality of my identity, but she is a part of me.

From the ages of 15 to round about 25, my identity was tied to a man. Then another, another, a different man. A sense of worth and purpose I found in the moments they switched and murmured ‘you’re smart, oh you cayute I see you, I see you out here, sheeeiiittt I’m tryna get like you.’ A welcome change from the knives and whispered insults, I threw myself into living up to the type of woman they wanted me to be. He likes sassy girls: roll another comment off your tongue. Add an extra switch and neckroll when you walk. Wants em quiet in public: roll your shoulders forward and make no eye contact.

That was my narrative. Was.
I’m now tied to me and my needs. Having sex after assault: I have certain boundaries that can’t be crossed and might need to stop to check in with myself. Some smells trigger flashbacks, and on those days I need more french fies, deeper and slower breaths, a gentler reassurance that I’m safe in my relationship and secure in my space.

Re-write the story: now that I know what I need to keep the internal tornadoes at bay, there are non-negotiables present that didn’t dare exist before. A defiant proclamation of my standards.

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