Friday, July 9, 2010

Regrets, I've had a few ...

I have regrets, certainly I do. Many of the things I regret most, no one will ever know about, because I am too embarrassed to ever admit to them to anyone. For the most part they are small, non-life changing events, where things could have gone either way and neither would have been of great impact. Yet there are some that linger. That no matter what I do, they have small impacts on my psyche day after day.

I do have some of Ash's views about regrets, that really, they are moments that have passed us by and dwelling on them doesn't accomplish much. Like Charlotte, I've regreted moments with my writings, either subs I never sent out or ones that I did when I knew they weren't ready. Like Garce, I have sat in an airport and regreted the route I chose (especially if it ran me through O'Hare). I agree with Lisabet on infidelity - it's more guilt than regret that I feel. And like Kathleen, I regret fear.

And fear leads to my biggest regret, the one that I almost hate myself for some days. My one major regret, that I still feel such shame about it that it hurts to even think about it sometimes, is never telling anyone who could do something about it that I was raped.

How's that for a week-ender. (Yes, I knew I would be addressing this when I proposed the topic).

Although, I am sure it doesn't come as a surprise to those that know some of my stories (both Diggin' Up Bones and a story in my Kinky Girls Do deals with a rape survivor), and who have read past posts of mine.

The shame doesn't come from having been raped. Please, let me say that right now.

Rather it comes from having been too damn terrified to do a single thing about it. I was so broken over it, since it was a boyfriend that did it, that I kept dating him for a while afterwards, forcing him to be the one to break it off. Hoping with every day that went by that finally that would be the day he would tell me we were through.

I was 16 at the time. I was the shy geeky girl that none of the guys really noticed, and I was naive as hell. I had only dated a few guys, and only been serious about one other. And up until this night, he had been kind, caring and loving. I still don't know what set him off, and I doubt I ever will. Certainly when I tried to bring up the subject, he never viewed anything as wrong.

It shaped me in ways I don't like thinking about. It's been more than a decade and a half ago, and I still have nightmares.

Thankfully, when I met hubby, we were able to work past it together. He was patient with me, and understanding, and mature enough not to push me past my comfort level. Instead, he let me more or less set the pace. I say more or less, because well, he did coax me out of my shell. Then again, he had to. If he hadn't, I am not sure that I would ever have dared trust again.

The regret lies in the knowledge that if he did it to me, he could have later done it to someone else. I have to live with that, wondering. Hoping and praying that it was an isolated incident, or that at least the next woman was strong enough to do what I wasn't.

I wish I had had the kind of relationship with my parents that I could have told them. But I never felt confortable. I always felt that somehow, something I did caused it to happen. And that would be pointed out to me by them, and that the pain and shame would destroy me.

The only thing I can do now is to try and raise awareness, through my writings. Through posts. And through conversations with my daughter, and one day, with my students.

So yes, I have regrets. And for the most part, they are benign. But that one ... it's a soul eater.

13 comments:

  1. Michelle!

    You know, there are times like this when this is a hell of a blog. I wish more people read it.

    I was surfing around a little, I saw an invitiation for a guest blog and took a glance. But it was all book promotion - read my book - read my book. Which is okay, writers have to do that, but they weren't talking about STUFF. OGG here, we talk about stuff. You were raped when you 16. Jesus. That is STUFF. That is so powerful. Such a sensitive thing to open up about. You don't read that kind of thing in other blogs, this blog is a good blog.

    Thank you Michelle. That kind of thing is hard to talk about, and I'm glad you would write about it here with us. This post has soul.

    Garce

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  2. Also your comment about it being a soul eater, that this is something you carry. That's powerful. Thank you.

    Garce

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  3. Dear Michelle,

    No one has the expectation that a 16 year old child has the power, alone, to handle events any differently than you did.

    To play the would've, could've, should've game is to give fear and self-doubt squarefootage in your heart, squarefootage that could be used for something else, like happiness.

    Let it go, baby. You're the only one who can. The situation happened, it's done and you are using it in your writing to a positive end. Now, let the rest go.

    My suggestion is to write it up, sign it, set it on fire and let the fear dissipate in the atmosphere, never to return.

    Hugs.

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  4. Michelle,

    A brave and touching post. Thank you.

    Ash

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  5. Michelle - I'm so sorry. Thank you for being brave enough to share.



    BTW, you might want to get in touch with Jen Cross who guested several weeks ago. I think you two could have a meaningful discussion.

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  6. Garce -- Thanks.

    I worried that baring myself this way might be a bit too much for the blog, but I have gotten to the point where I can actually talk about it.

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  7. Donna -- Thanks so much.

    I have given it so much of my life, mostly in indirect ways, because I was afraid. Am afraid.

    Having such a betrayal happen showed me that I couldn't trust anything. It was a rude awakening that made me afraid of life.

    If he could do that to me, then why should I trust anything anyone says? In anything?

    I have battled depression since then, and I am finally getting help. After more than two years, I am starting to feel like I am actually alive. I am excited about things. I am willing to try things.

    So in small ways I have started to let it go. But I can't help the worry, the fear, the guilt ... what if there were others?

    That's going to take longer to let go of.

    I can say now though, my daughter will never have to question if telling me something like that would make things worse. She knows, and will continue to know, that she can come to me.

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  8. Kathleen -- Thanks hon. I'll have to give some thought to getting in touch with her.

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  9. Michelle,

    It is just as possible that even if you had stepped forward, he would have done it again. It is possible that the process of trying to confront him would have put you through terrible challenges and changed nothing in him. Hell, it could have made him worse. It is possible that he never did it again.

    The one thing that's for sure is that he was the criminal. What he did is 100% on him. You shouldn't bear a burden for his crime for even another minute.

    There's no way you can know what might have happened differently, but you shouldn't keep second guessing that sixteen year old girl's actions. She was dealt a terrible hand, and she played it the best she could.

    And sharing your experiences is something that needs no second guessing. It's a brave thing, and it can only do good.

    Craig

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  10. Craig -- Thanks. I really don't know what to say. Thank you.

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  11. Michelle, dear,

    After having Internet problems all yesterday, I finally got on today to read your affecting post.

    Thank you for trusting us enough to share this terrible chapter in your life. Clearly it had awful consequences for your own happiness, but the fact that you can talk about it now means that you are leaving it behind. Or rather, that it is starting to become part of who you are, something that made you stronger.

    I agree with Craig--you bear no responsibility for the actions of the guy who raped you. Given the way things are, it's quite likely he would never have been prosecuted or punished (he was your BOYFRIEND, after all, they'd say), your word against his. In any case, even conviction and punishment wouldn't necessarily prevent him from raping someone else. All you can do is take care of yourself.

    I'm tremendously impressed that you've been able to heal enough to be able to write erotica. I would expect that your experience would have associated sex with fear and pain rather than pleasure.

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  12. Lisabet -- As much as I thought it had been a bad idea at the time, I had lost my virginity to my first boyfriend. Before what happened happened, I had been with a total of one guy and two girls. And while the experiences weren't the worlds best, they did give me a basis of comparison. I knew intellectually that it wasn't always a painful and shameful experience. Thankfully hubby was patient enough to coax me out of the lingering terror. I am still not the most daring of people, and I still have knee jerk reactions to some things, and I still don't trusy easily ... but in my imagaination, I can control things to such an extent that fears are never an issue.

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