If I could write to you to tell you about what you have left me with, I think this is what I’d say. Firstly I’d wonder if I was going to be listened to, and then I’d wonder whether it was worth it, because to offer words of honesty to someone who has hurt you beyond repair takes real guts, real strength and real belief in something beyond the immediacy of who and what we both are and once were. I think I’d want you to know that I wonder for myself whether you think of me, whether you think of that afternoon, whether you take time to allow that moment to come into your mind, however fleetingly. In some ways I want to know that it occupies your mind and keeps you awake at night; and yet in other ways I don’t want a space within you or around you, you don’t deserve to have me in your space.
I wonder too if your body has been rocked with memory, if you have felt pain in your flesh, in your skin, within you and in places that it’s hard to say to others ‘it hurts’. I wonder if you have felt your body shaking with memory or when something brings that afternoon to mind. I wonder if you have felt your mouth so dry that words don’t even work anymore, that you can move your mouth and begin to try and speak to someone again and again and the words just don’t come out, however hard you try. I wonder if you have been caught in a wire web of silence and tension, wanting to reach out to one who cares for you at the other side of the room, but not knowing how to break out of the shell that you have built so carefully around you. Or I wonder if you talked of that afternoon, if you felt proud or strong or powerful; I wonder if you told someone what you’d done. Yet I hope that you cried in anguish when you recalled that moment, for you wouldn’t have been the only one.
I want to tell you that I’m strong in spite of what you did, that my life carried on, that you can’t hurt me and that you won’t have the power over me anymore. And yet I can’t tell you that, for you have for too long. You’ve taken my energy as I’ve pushed that afternoon away, you’ve taken my confidence as I’ve recalled it in my mind, and most significantly you’ve taken my body as I struggle to control my reactions to words, to memories and to sensations. You left me with my skin, and I should be thankful, for there was a time when I wondered if my skin too would be broken or if my bone would be crushed beyond repair, but my skin holds my body, my body which is full of memory, full of hurt and full of pain and longs for that memory of invasion to be removed.
I wonder if you planned it, if you meant to go that far, or if you meant to stop. I wonder what it was within you that meant you needed to touch my body so violently, to pull my clothing from my body, to force your body within my body and to push a part of that which was me from my body forever. I wonder what you were thinking when you were crushing me to the floor and allowing the path to indent my back and my legs. Were you looking into my face and wondering who or what I was, did I mean anything to you or was I just an end goal, a thing to be mastered or violated, a means to an end or was there a purpose. And when you grabbed at my breast and pushed it within your hands, did you think of my body, did you think of life that might grow within me that would see the breast as life and nourishment. And did you hear my cry and did you feel my struggle and did you not wonder whether you were doing the right thing. Did you ever wonder, did you ever want to stop. And then when I gave up my fight and you were within me and my pain was beyond anything I’d ever experienced, my breath taken from my body, my fight lost and my fear-filled grief so intense, did you wonder what was happening? Did you wonder what you would leave within my body, or out with my body? Did you know that that experience would become so singular and so hard to replace.
And I wonder how you felt afterwards when you pushed me back and threw back to the floor, when you took away my last fragments of worth. Did you wonder whether I’d make it up, did you care? And did you feel remorse, feel anguish, feel anything that meant that I was the last and not the first. Did you feel empty, desolate, lost or broken; did you body ache in a way that is both of mind, body and soul. Is it possible that my body leaves any memory with you, or is the memory all mine to bear.
And I wonder too, if so far along the journey, so many years down the line, whether it still pricks you, even just once in a while and you think of that afternoon, that moment, that time when life changed forever and a body was irrevocably changed and imprinted with memory.
“So now I fight…So now I walk and work to leave you behind…Now I choose others to walk with me, there is no space for you.”
Too long you have lived in my mind and my body and I long to shake you away, to push you to the ground, and to be the one to stand up and walk away. Too long I have waited for words, for voice and for a space to speak. Too long I have carried it within my body and my heart, too long it has been a thread through my soul, and too long it has pummelled my energy. Too long it has been part of my life. Too long you have been part of my life, and too long I have let you stay there. So now I fight, not to throw you to the floor, for my throwing and your throwing are not worth each other; but now I fight for myself, for my space and for my body. And now in my fight you have no place, you have no right to be part of who and what I am now, you have no invitation to walk this part of the journey with me.
So now I walk and work to leave you behind, to leave you in that place. I don’t know if you’re still there or if your mind and body have travelled so far already, but it doesn’t matter, for now I choose to walk away, to open the space and to show the scars, to walk with it, and now I choose others to walk with me, there is no space for you.