Me too…

CW: sexual assault

My grade eight teacher was particularly strict. We had rules for how to line our paper and we had rules for how to line up before class (in order of height). There was always a bit of a jumble as kids found their spaces in line. This day I was standing a bit away from the other kids when it happened. Lloyd reached over and grabbed my breast in front of everyone.

The teacher came out with the resulting noise and asked what happened. So I told him. He immediately got Lloyd and I then took us down the hall. My stop was first. I got put into the little room beside the science room. It was probably designed as a photo lab but all it had was a stool, which I perched on.

The teacher told me to stay in there and wait until he came back. Then he left. I had no idea what was going on or why I’d been put there. I felt like I’d done something wrong. I sat there, staring at the blacked out window, and wondered what was going to happen to me. All the while I could feel Lloyd’s hand touching me.

Eventually the teacher came and led me back to class. No adults asked me any questions or even mentioned the incident to me. I sat in silence, trying not to look at any other kids.

When I got home, my Mom sat me down and explained how Lloyd was having a hard time. His Dad had died recently, crushed under the car he was repairing. Lloyd was the one to find him. I should have some sympathy for him. He had a lot on his plate.

I didn’t want to here this. I wanted “I love you”, “I’m sorry this happened to you”, “It wasn’t your fault”.

Lloyd was back several days later. I noticed him in French class and made sure to sit as far away from him as possible. The teacher told us to put our finished work on the back table. I placed mine down then a body pushed and ground himself against me. Lloyd whispered harshly, “If you tell on me ever again I will fuck you up the ass.” I’d learned my lesson. No one would do anything. I didn’t tell.

Soon after he invented a song, “Ah Kath-a-leen, ah Kath-a-leen. She’s my honey, my Playboy Bunny. Ah Kath-a-leen”. The song made me feel horrible inside but there was noone to tell. Yard supervisors ignored it and I didn’t think anyone else would care. This went on for months.

I also figured they wouldn’t care about the lies the boys were loudly telling. Claims of what I’d done to them the night before. Some things went right over my head. The rest were horribly embarrassing.

I have face blindness and struggle to recognize people. Which made the next stage of abuse even harder. Boys would walk up to me and touch me somewhere, usually my shoulder but sometimes my backside, and tell me what I was going to do to them that night. Then they’d slip away into the crowd. I didn’t know who I could trust because I didn’t know which boys were involved.

As we all aged the form of abuse changed. Now they had cars. I’d be walking home from school, or just around the neighbourhood, when someone would scream my name and what I’d supposedly done that night with him. I still jump if someone yells from a car and that happened in the 1980’s.

The day before yesterday I watched as my Facebook newsfeed filled with statuses and comments reading “me too”. I’d held this secret for so long, only my ex-boyfriend Lenny knew. But I wasn’t the only one assaulted, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Remember, if you were sexually assaulted, you have value, meaning, self-worth, and dignity. They took nothing from you. You matter so very much and people care about you. I care about you.

They didn’t take anything from you. You are still you. You are still whole. You will recover. We are phoenixes. We will burn into ashes and rise again even stronger.

The butterfly…

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I was in the hospital for two weeks back in September and it was such a positive difference. Two doctors checked me over and changed my medication slightly. But that slight change made a huge improvement.

The next thing I did was buy a Fitbit Flex 2. I love it. It’s small, comfortable, and waterproof. Plus it automatically logs all my exercise, including swimming. And I’m determined to get my 10 thousand steps in every day. Which is a bonus because I have to go outside to get those steps. Depression and going outside don’t often play together well.

I talked to someone from the Canadian Mental Health Association about getting a therapist and, voila, she had information in her satchel. Not only that but I only had to wait a week. I talked to the therapist yesterday and think we’ll work well together.

Then today I got to meet my new psychiatrist. I liked my old psychiatrist but he didn’t think he was doing much to help me… that we just didn’t click… so he transferred me to a new doctor. And the new doctor and I clicked. We obviously had serious topics to discuss but I left him laughing which seems like a good start.

I feel like a caterpillar now. I’m changing into I don’t know what. All I know is it will be beautiful.

Feeling dizzy…

“Mom, I’m dizzy,” Emma informed me yet again.

I paused, unable to tell if she was trying to shirk chores or if she really was feeling unwell. The odds were 50/50.

I settled on, “You can tell that to your doctor when you see him.”

Emma was satisfied with this, especially since she was seeing the doctor that week. The doctor was very thorough. He checked her blood pressure (which was low) her ears, her heart, and wrote out two sheets for blood work. One for then and one in two weeks.

Her complaints of dizziness concerned me about as much as her diet. Emma lives off cup of noodles, SideKicks Singapore Curry Noodles, frozen hash browns, and not much else. She hates all vegetables except potatoes… all fruit except for the occasional grape and apple… oh, and she’ll eat mushrooms.

I’ll make pizza from scratch and put hers on a plate then, a couple of days later, I’ll find three quarters of it in her room. I’ll make spaghetti and remind her she has a jar of plain tomato sauce. She’ll make cup of noodles instead.

She’s seeing a nutritionist, whom I’m sure is pulling out her hair. I know the nutritionist tried to get her to eat more fruits and vegetables instead of garbage food but it didn’t work. Finally she asked Emma to start eating meat.

The first I knew about this was on Friday night when Emma informed me that she was “‘thinking of eating meat again”. I believe I said “Oh okay” or something equally witty. Then we went out for lunch with my parents and Kait and Emma proudly announced, “I’m not vegan anymore. I’m going to eat meat”. She ordered the butter chicken.

I find myself torn. On one hand she insists the dizziness is gone (placebo effect maybe… it sure happened quickly) but on the other hand she’s not eating any healthier. She’s replaced her previous junk food with canned ravioli, Kraft Dinner, and some sort of thick and chunky beef stew.

I am absolutely no help for her when it comes to meat. I switched to being vegetarian when I was in college and have no real idea of how to cook it or how long it stays fresh. Neither do I want to. This is something Emma will have to learn on her own. Maybe she can find a cooking channel.

She’s been vegan for about two years now so it’s definitely going to take a bit for me to get used to seeing cheese on the fridge door and milk on the top shelf.