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Therapy notes: Watching the movie

There is a sculpture in his office. She is graceful, without legs, just a torso extending backwards in an expressly female gesture, the top of her hips flaring slightly.

I stare at it when we talk, sometimes. I wonder if I would look that graceful, if I would share those lines, if I would dance like that, standing still, if I hadn’t been raped. It’s always a fleeting thought, and I point my eyes to other places when it comes to me. To the little Kachina dolls dancing in glass cases, to the cactus right outside the window, to his collection of impossibly fashionable shoes, to his kind face. To memor’s opal, to my hands.

Today he wasted little time in getting down to business. I had always talked matter of factly about the reality of my rape. I didn’t use cute euphemisms for the event, or burst into tears at the mention of it. So when he was equally as blunt in his questions, it came as no surprise.

So are you ready to really talk about the rape, Christine?

I glanced over at her, her curving hips catching my eye. Yes.

Give me some background..

I told him the where and why, in detail the likes of which I have never gone into before. Down to the color of the tile that pressed into my cheek when I was shoved into the wall. I remembered the shape of the light that shone over my head. I remember 22 thrusts of the knife, the “S” motion it made inside of me. I surprised myself by keeping my voice completely even but looking at that sculpture through a face laden with 15 years of pain. 15 years of not having my story only half told.

He thanked me. He thanked me for trusting enough to let it out.

Are you ready to try to get rid of some of the nightmares?

Without hesitation, Yes.

Do you feel safe to close your eyes?

I closed my eyes to his kind face, and his wonderful shoes. To the tacky Kachina dolls, and the cactus. Closed my eyes to the woman carved of stone, to get in touch with the woman made of flesh. The one with my soul.

We played mind games, he and I. I went alone to a movie theatre and sat alone in the seat. Guided only by his voice, I envisioned myself before I was raped. I placed that girl on the screen, and looked at her, as someone in the audience.

Turn it black and white and turn off the sound. Come out of your body, leave yourself in the audience and come into the projection booth.

I watched myself, watching myself. This happy girl, in a satin dress, in varied shades of grey. I was acutely aware of people moving around outside of the office but I looked back at that smiling girl and watched her move, with her slightly flaring hips.

You’re going to watch the rape happen to her, on that screen. but keep yourself out of it. Keep yourself in the projection room.

Without the color and the sound, the images played out like the scenes of a sadistic silent film. Something dreamt of by the Marquis De Sade. I saw the girl cry, I saw the knife, I saw the grainy texture of the light on the screen. I saw him take her, her body, her innocence, and I saw a black pool of blood.

Tell me when it’s over.

I found myself running my fingers over my grandmother’s opal, to keep myself calm and found that without color and sound, that it was easy to separate myself from the drama played out before me. Ok

Good, open your eyes.

Breathing and meeting that kind face, I found that I was calm, centered and grounded.

Round 2?

I laughed and closed my eyes.

It would be the last time I would laugh in that hour. His voice guided me through the same steps, and my calmness remained. Then his instructions changed.

Freeze frame the end. Come out of the projection booth and come into your body.

My heart began to speed, and my mind jumped to the torso, with no head, no legs. He could have left me for dead, I thought….

Walk to the screen and climb in.

I walked the empty theatre of my mind and hoisted myself into my own horrorshow. I stood in the black and white freeze frame, in the dark pool of blood.

Put the color back in.

At that moment a sob escaped me as color flooded every inch of the twisted scene. Every pore of my 17 year old self and every pore of my 32 year old self engorged with disgusting hues of flesh and blood, copper penny smell filled my nose and all was lost. I sat, mourning the fear of these colors. I wanted to gather her up in my arms and protect her, to wrap her back in her protective cloak of black and white. Into the silence that made the attack just a bad movie.

Open your eyes, Christine, open them.

When I did the subtle colors around me were an assault. The slate blues attacked me. The reds were running rivers of blood from my womb, and my flesh was torn from the silver of the mirrored table. As tears fell I remembered the gray tile on the bathroom wall scratching my forehead.

38 Responses to “Therapy notes: Watching the movie”

  1. Chani Says:

    Good on you for walking through this! Each time… each time.. it will lose some of its power in your life.

    It’s a very, very brave thing you’ve done.

    Rak (love),

    ~Chani

  2. Maria & Stefano Says:

    I’m crying, you u for that little girl…I don’t have words…just tears right now…

    I send you a big big big hug!!!

    Maria

  3. heartinsanfrancisco Says:

    I hesitate to comment because I don’t know you well, but I am so moved by your story, your courage and honesty.

    From what I do know of you, this horrendous incident in your life, which took so much from you, did not take away your kindness and compassion for others.

    The beautiful qualities that truly make you who you are have never shut down, so you are still you. And we are all richer for it.

  4. hel Says:

    I am so moved by your story my words are trembling, wondering whether they will do honour your words appropriately.

    What moved me most was how you never let go of the tread of beauty running through your tale. And the honesty, bravery and hope of you.

    Your words inspire me to be more courageous, honest and vulnerable.

    To keep trying, to be real.

    To write.

    Still my words are trembling. They rush out to say. I love you Flutter. All of you. Because you make me feel something more than just words. I wish I could meet you.

  5. slouching mom Says:

    oh, flutter.

    this was so important, i think.

    but no fun, hmm?

    i am awfully sorry, and i am here.

    (hugs)

  6. Julie Pippert Says:

    Vivid, horrible, courageous, beautiful. You shared this with us. That’s humbling. It happened. That’s heartbreaking. And your beautiful words break the heart a little more.(HUGS)

    Julie
    http://theartfulflower.blogspot.com/

  7. Mrs. Chicken Says:

    My respect for you is indescribable, and my grief for that girl you were is real.

    You are a survivor, and we only now now exactly what that means.

    My God. My sweet Jesus.

    I’m so sorry. But I don’t pity you. I respect you. Your courage is huge. Huge.

  8. super des Says:

    Steps.
    YOu’re such a beautiful writer about this horrible experience.
    I don’t have anything else to say – speechless.

  9. Jonas Says:

    No one, NO ONE, has the right to violate a human being like that. I am grief struck and speechless.

    I wish I could hug you right now.

  10. Oh, The Joys Says:

    No right words, none. There are none.

    I’m here.

  11. mitzh Says:

    I just want to hug you so tight.

  12. Susanne Says:

    Chani is right. You are courageous and it will lose its power over you. Thank you very much for writing this. These stories need to be told.

    Hugging you virtually and thinking of you.

  13. Jenn Says:

    No words, Flutter.

    They all fail me.

  14. Paige Says:

    My heart just broke reading this, Flutter. My heart just broke.

    The only solace for me is that you are a survivor and that you continue to have the strength to work through this.

    Big hug to you, my friend. Big hug.

    XO,
    P$

  15. CamiKaos Says:

    I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said, about how strong you are, and brave and beautiful and how good it is that you are working this out… See don’t know what to say, but felt like I couldn’t just wander past without saying it.

    Sooooo. All that and some hugs and love.

    xoxo Cami

  16. Kyla Says:

    Oh Flutter. You. You and that sweet innocent you who was violated. I wish there were words enough to heal those things…to change them. You are doing something powerful here, for you now, for you then, and for other women who have experienced something similar. My heart reaches out for yours. Hugs.

  17. pgoodness Says:

    Oh my friend. You are the very definition of strength and hope. I am so sorry, but so proud of you for working through it.

  18. Melanie Says:

    I can’t think of a damn thing to say here that would even touch the depths of what you’ve endured.
    Just know I think you are wonderful, amazing, and beautiful, and as someone said up there, a survivor.
    All respect to you, and all love.
    (((Flutter)))

  19. LawyerMama Says:

    This was powerful, Flutter. And horrible and beautiful all at the same time. But I hope that writing it and retelling that awful moment made it have less power over you.

    ((HUGS))

  20. Aliki Says:

    I can only echo what others have said–that you are beautiful and courageous and powerful.

  21. KC Says:

    Oh my god. You are working through this. Your strength and honesty are inspiring.

  22. deb Says:

    I can’t imagine living with that for fifteen years, carrying it around everywhere. How do you set it down and walk away from it? I guess that’s what this is, the start of it. I cant do much other than send you a hug and hold out a hand for you. Don’t get lost and take care sweetie.

  23. Finn Says:

    {{Hugs}}

  24. jen Says:

    you are so brave. you are so brave. you are so brave.

    you will kick this in it’s ass.

    i love you. thank you for trusting us too.

  25. Blog Antagonist Says:

    Such a horrible thing, so beautifully and courageously told. It’s out there now. It’s out of you and in the world. From there, I think, it will get better.

    You humble me with your strength.

  26. liv Says:

    I have a million thoughts racing, but no good words. You are so profoundly brave. I honor you.

  27. ms chica Says:

    I’m a stranger, but I wanted to de-lurk and tell you I am in awe of your strength. May peace be with you.

  28. MsLittlePea Says:

    This post took the breathe right out of me. I don’t have the words to say. It’s so brave of you to share that with us and I’m grateful.

  29. ewe_are_here Says:

    There are no words except …

    You are so incredibly brave and strong to confront this so.

    Be well.

  30. maggie Says:

    Delurking to say, oof. I’m sorry you have to go through this. Be strong.

  31. Angharad Says:

    thank you for writing about this. i hope you are ok.

  32. carrie Says:

    Just wanted to lend my support to you and your vivid words about something so painful . . . I’m glad you were able to get through that session. So. glad.

  33. Emily Says:

    Oh, shit. How had I not seen this post? I am sorry it took so long for me to find it. (Thanks for linking back). Oh, shit. Oh, oh, oh. Oh.

  34. flutter » Blog Archive » You know someone. Says:

    [...] You know someone who has lived the fear. [...]

  35. Mary Says:

    I’ve only recently started reading your blog.
    So I’m late here.
    I don’t know what to say. I’m just crying. This horrible thing should not happen to anyone. I am going to go to my little girl’s bedroom, even though she is asleep, and just hold her.

  36. Defiantmuse Says:

    there are no words.

    ((hugs))

  37. Stimey Says:

    I hadn’t read this before. I’m so sorry.

  38. Nikki B. Says:

    We talk so often about people who have been through this trauma as “victims”. We say things like “I don’t know how you survive”. We discuss, either to their face or to their back, how we understand that they are jaded. Broken. We expect them to be. We expect them to never be the same.

    Rarely do we talk about them as SURVIVORS. As someone who can go through that horror and come out the other side. Surely, they are not the same, but they do no need to remain forever a victim.

    On one hand, I think it is a need we have, to make clear the absolute destruction and violation of rape, of assault. As a woman, I understand the impulse to make a rape survivor always a victim, so we never forget her crime and so we take this violation seriously enough. I get it. I do.

    On the other – this dialogue, this mantra, means we never let *victims* become *survivors*.

    I see your pain, only in the pain I have felt from my friends who have experienced it. I can never truly understand.

    I am also humbled by your strength, and the reminder that we must always help the victim become the survivor. It is always possible – and we can start with leaving being the idea that they will always be broken.

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