i think i gasped a little when i read this because it’s almost word-for-word my therapist’s explanation of why i learned to be anxious as a child (“if your dad might blow up at any minute then your anxiety protects you”) and why it’s not helping me now (“he’s not here anymore”).
Ooh my therapist talked about talking about my life as exploitation and I went bone silent
The things we we learn to survive don’t always make us thrive
wow. this is hittin home for me in so many ways~ Wishin everyone good luck on their journey of unlearning~ (via kenyabenyagurl)
Everything the body does is through an attempt to survive, even the fracturing of personality and memory through PTSD, for example—but yes, it is in order for you to live, but not live well
oh. damn.(via youarenotyou)
EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS
what the actual FUCK
I wish I could even be shocked
“Just get over it.” I fucking would if I could.
You only feel that way because you want to feel that way. Really? No fuck you.
“Forgive your family.” Not gonna happen.
you always feel like what you went through is never bad enough to warrant how fucked up you are.
[Image description: Survivor rat meme. Text: Need love and support - refuse to accept any because you don’t want to be a burden.]
[trigger warning: child sexual abuse]
I really like the perks of being a wallflower but today I realized—
a significant part of its success is because it is ugly, but not too ugly about child sexual abuse.
like I understand that a large chunk of the csa storyline is rarely said directly, only implied, so that the reader can connect the dots at the big reveal at the end.
but this literary decision also has the effect of giving us basically nothing about how completely terrible Charlie’s experience was.
we are given this message that Charlie has fond feelings for his abuser, not conflicted or even some reasonable semblance of anger.
Charlie is this polite, docile survivor who has crises but never acts out too much. he is never too loud or too angry or too bitter. someow he maintains this perfect, unblemished idealism even as he starts to figure out how fucked up things really were.
we get this nice, full circle story that resolves itself and makes the reader believe that Charlie is going to be okay, precisely marketed so as to not offend a broad audience with how ugly and disgusting and terrible child sexual abuse actually is. instead, this hipster kid “coming-of-age” oh-look-i-made-a-cd-with-the-smiths-on-it bullshit overshadows everything.
and indeed, growing up, basically all the kids my age who read this book never once mentioned child sexual abuse or rape. this book let privileged white kids feel “less alone” but it didn’t make anyone angry and make them want to change things for the better. it’s an apolitical text that gives people warm fuzzies with a child sexual abuse plot point as a tacked on afterthought for better marketing.
no seriously I can’t believe I didn’t realize this until now.
fuck this book and the pretending bullshit it is. it meant a lot to me as a kid. it did. it helped me feel less alone. but it offered very little guidance. it barely even tells the reader that what happened is not okay. in fact, it even normalizes it a little and casts it in this nostalgic, rose-colored haze. that alone is fucking dangerous and unacceptable.
you might say it’s only one book but do you know how many realistic, insightful, and well-written texts there are about child sexual abuse? barely a handful. out of the sea of books I read as a kid, only one book of 100000 others ever tackled this topic— Speak. one single book.
so when another single book becomes elevated in the way this one has, and its message is half-assed and possibly dismissive…that is not okay. that is the mass market yet again deciding that the concerns of survivors matter less than everyone else. that is our very ugly and horrible experiences being compressed and sanitized so that people can read about what happened to us and even enjoy it vicariously in a fucked up voyeuristic way.
I mean I am talking about things so horrible that when non-survivors hear about them they fuckin puke up their guts. but I’m not even asking for a book to delve into that darkest of darkness. I’m just asking for a book that doesn’t happily tie together the story as if everything is going to be okay, because it rarely is.
I’m asking for a book that is about child sexual abuse that is written for survivors, not written with us as a tertiary (not even a secondary) concern. because if I’d had a book like Bastard Out of Carolina when I was twelve then maybe it wouldn’t have taken me five more years before I could even name my experience as child sexual abuse. yes, it took me that long because there is such an immense absence of this type of content available for people that you pretty much have to get lucky and stumble upon it. this book could have been one desperately needed text to fill a little place in that void, but instead it became just another book written for everyone except people like me.
fuck this. this book is bullshit.
solidarity with survivors whose narratives are inconvenient
solidarity with survivors who do not elicit pathos or sympathy
solidarity with survivors who nobody rushes to protect
solidarity with survivors who have grown teeth and fangs
solidarity with survivors who do not want you to fucking touch them ever
solidarity with survivors whose boundaries are like guillotines
solidarity with survivors who do not want to tell their stories
solidarity with survivors who live alone
solidarity with survivors who choose to hide their vulnerabilities rather than share them
I am over this confessional culture, where the more vulnerable you make yourself the more credibility you are considered to have, and concepts of “community” that have no significance to my life.
This is why there are and will continue to be less and less personal writings on this blog, less focus on the things that I feel and think and more focus on the things that I do. But this is something that I wanted to say.
Even in the sense of “moving on”, being told to “forgive” someone who hurt you badly is no different to being told to “just get over it” which is, y’know, impossible.
forgiveness is my choice when i have been wronged
While it often has problematic articles, my therapist sent me [TRIGGER WARNING: graphic depictions of sexual violence behind link] this article from Psychology Today about the power of non-forgiveness and how the cultural tendency to tell people that forgiveness is the only way they will get over something isn’t always accurate or appropriate. I found this article really helpful.
reading this article later