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TW: Sexual Assault

I’ve been trying to move forward in my creative work for the last six months but I’ve been stalled by my inability to accept that I have to share my stories of sexual invasion.

I HAVE to – because I can’t do anything else until these are out of me and into the world. I haven’t been able to create anything else or move forward because I kept coming back to these stories.

My stories.

No one needs another story of assault or invasion or harassment or however you’d characterize the things that have happened to me… but I don’t do this for you – you hold this space for me.

I can’t move forward into a world of creative truth telling until I tell you the truth.

This is my warning for what comes over the next month.

And my heartfelt thanks for holding the space.
~ <3 Lezley


 

Putting down the load

I think I may understand why I can’t move on until I get this out.

It’s the same reason that I made comics while my lover betrayed me and my father died – sharing our story helps us move it along.

Sharing gives us many hands to carry the load.

Emotional and mental trauma work the same way – we tell our stories so we have help in carrying them. We do this for one another. I’m asking you to help me carry this one final time so I can put it down for good.

Shame only hurts when it hides

For years I had a recurring nightmare of downward spiralling stairs into the darkness. There was a purple curtain on the right and total blackness at the bottom and I was existentially afraid of that darkness.

I would cease to exist in that darkness… or I would exist forever in that darkness – the fear was identical.

Therapy helped me go down the stairs.

It took months but I was able to go down the stairs and learned, that they were real stairs. They were real stairs that existed in my invaders house, and the purple curtain was an actual curtain on the window of the side door on the way down the stairs to the basement.

In the basement was his workshop.

He made stuffed animals for children and they hung above his work table. Ducks and frogs and bears and bananas.

He had glasses that made his eyes look abnormally big and he smelled like alcohol and his lips were always wet.
 
 

We didn’t die.

Holding this secret felt like we would die if it came to light.

I look a little crazy in this – it’s appropriate.

The chair was yellow and he got up and went to his work table when he heard his wife open the basement door and start down the stairs.

I was alone in the yellow chair and when she saw my underwear hanging from one ankle she looked at me with scorn and contempt. I had done something wrong.

It was my fault. I was bad.

When I think about it now I waffle between thinking “her” and “me”. I see her and I see what she sees, and when I can, I imagine being there with her – as an adult, as who I am now.

“Look at me.” I say from the doorway, “it’s okay – you’re okay. We’re okay. Look at me. Look at my face.”

“It’s not your fault. You didn’t do this, it wasn’t you.”

And I smile at her for real (in a not crazy way), so she knows; we’re okay, we really are okay, this didn’t ruin us.

We didn’t die.

It wasn’t the end of everything after all.
 

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At 33, on my therapist’s table, I re-connected to the emotions of my childhood sexual invasion. That moment is the line between the before and the after I became a witness to my own life. Up to then I had lived with odd and unexplained instances of depression, guilt, and shame that would leave me lying in bed with soul-weary heaviness and a deep desire to unzip myself from my flesh.

Walking home with friends through the ravine, I spotted a man under a tree exposing himself to us. He had dark hair and a dark moustache and wore a dark baseball hat. I pointed it out, we all squealed and ran and told an adult in the park walking her dog. She said she’d call the cops. I don’t know if she did.