Proposition 1: enjoying sex is a political act for a survivor.

Our bodies were violated, scorned, spat at, twisted, prodded, touched, felt, grabbed, pulled, wrestled, poked, man handled, slapped, pinched, injected, infected, squeezed, fisted, spanked and gripped in ways that no child could or would say yes to. We left the experience, leaving the body, as a shell, a mechanism for which other bodies could intersect with. Our minds split, neural pathways diverged and fragments emerged, setting off for high country adventures and escape tunnel digging.

Now, as an adult, to find someone you can be with and indulge in consensual, safe, healthy erotic love making that actually turns you on is a revolutionary political act and a big F**K you to your abusers. Celebrate it when you can.

Wrapping things up…

Christmas time is a false lie wrapped in tinsel. It’s grief and disgust baked in ovens. Burnt. Hot naked fiery overtures. It’s my body shuddering and praying for it to be over. It’s red pain, black hearts and limp smiles. It’s dissociated touching and unwrapping of gifts. It’s a time I tried to reframe and make good but then memory came and I gave up. It’s fake drama with celluloid happy endings. I removed myself from the family and then became a third wheel in all situations and was increasingly on the outer. I only have myself to blame. They destroyed Christmas for me. I never want to celebrate it again. I long for a silent retreat and to sit quiet rocking my body back and forth to comfort the ones who I lost and who were taken from me.

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I’ve gone away with S to a small cabin in rural Victoria. It’s super hot and dry here, but the place has a bath and should be just good to chill. It’s not fancy or anything, but it is just nice to get away. I had nightmares last night and aches and pains down my legs and back due to having the flu. It hurt so bad. Hoping tonight it does not strike me again but I have taken ibuprofen so thinking that will work.

Despite being grateful to be away, I feel stressed and anxious. There is so much going on and I just can’t shake these feelings that I am a failure and a loser. I know it’s programming. My thoughts are very negative and shame based- I’m ugly and disgusting and worthless. It’s sad I know. I don’t tell S how I am feeling because I don’t want to burden her with my negative thoughts. They just sit with me, underneath all that I do.

I am trying to pray and reach out to God. I will do so tonight before I go to sleep and imagine His loving arms around me and my parts, asking for Him to help me let go and to receive.

Letter to my parts 7 of 7

Dear parts,

Last night I wrote dead parts instead of dear parts! I managed to edit it, but it did make me think that this is how many of you feel. Inside me, many of you are dead, yet to be woken and healed. When you come out I don’t mind as sometimes it makes me feel as though I am not crazy or making things up. It makes me feel like I’m discovering more about you and myself.

I wanted to write these letters just in the lead up to Xmas and its aftermath to let you all know I am here and want to get to know you all. I also wanted to remind you that we are safe now and life is very different to what it once was. I know that’s hard for many of you to believe but if you watch me, you will see that things are simple and safe and relatively carefree.

Today I was sick. My body was full of aches and pains and I threw up! I must have a virus from being sick with a cold recently. I wondered too if it was remnants of the memory you shared with me. My hips and back hurt so much today. It is too unbelievable to share but I want you to know I believe you and hear you. It was good to rest and do nothing all day, although it is not nice feeling unwell. Tomorrow we go away with S for five nights to a little house built by an artist! It will be good to get away and we all need to relax. It’s been such a big year. Sometimes I wonder if we will make it through life and sometimes I know there are many inside that really don’t care. The world seems so complicated and mean. It’s hard to battle through it I know. But we need rest now and get our energy back. I’m sorry you are sad and hurting and I want you all to know I am listening and that I love you.

Love me.

Letter to my parts 6 of 7

Dear parts,

I’m sorry today was so hard. We woke so sore but went for a run, even though our body was in pain and then I felt your memory and it was hard to hold it. When we got back, we told S that we just needed her to hold us for a bit and we shook our body whilst she soothed us. You asked if she hated you and if you were bad and she said no. These are the lies of the programmers and I am sorry they said such evil things to you. They are the bad ones. The family environment was good today, although I know everyone inside is over feeling like a third wheel. We wonder if we will ever feel comfortable on this day or how we can make it our own. Back at home it was nice to take the dogs for a walk and then finish watching the movie “Elf”. It is such a funny movie and you cried, because the spirit of Christmas has been destroyed for you all and it can now only be found in movies. I think it’s like that for lots of people little ones. You told me you feel scared and sad. Tonight we will just hold our toys and stay in bed. Each day is a new day.

Love me.

Letter to parts 5 of 7

Dear parts,

It’s Xmas eve. Today I rested and relaxed. I went for a run and cooked and even did some work on my PhD. Tonight S and I watched the Christmas carols and opened our presents. She got me air pods and a beautiful elegant ring. I bought her perfume and a massage voucher. Things are different now. You told me that the little ones were a big decider for marrying M. It makes me laugh that the little parts wanted to marry M. I understand they needed to be looked after and that he offered that for them. I’m sorry I couldn’t do that for you all at the time. I hope that you will communicate with me more to tell me what you need. Tomorrow will be a Xmas lunch at S’ nanas and nannus with all of her family. It will be safe and you can leave for a walk at any time and do your own thing. There will be lots of good food and her family is very caring and nice. They are good people. They love children and have faith. Tomorrow is a day that is hard for many people. Let’s think about them and pray for those without family or friends or without love in their life. Let’s pray for families to care for each other and help each other grow and be kind.

Love me.

Letter to parts 4 of 7

Dear Parts,

Today I feel your sadness. Your heavy heart. I know you miss M and it’s our first Xmas with S and a whole new environment. I want to remind you that you are safe and loved and free now to share or talk or draw or write. You can break the silence. I believe you.

Love me.

Letter to Parts 3 of 7

Dear Parts,

Today I went for a 2 hour run and yes it hurt our body. We need to stretch more. I know i thrash our body, I just struggle to sense it otherwise. Gentle things have never been my forte. S says that I am rough with things. She’s right. We’re just impatient I guess and finicky things annoy us. I can sense it all within. Like, wrapping gifts or craft work/ not my cup of tea. There are some people who are skilled in this area. Their brains work different and their hands. I am gentle with S tho. I don’t like to be rough with her as she is precious. And I’m gentle with my fur baby. She needs lots of love and attention and kindness.

I cleaned today and we also watched a movie. I’d seen it before with M, but forgot most of it. It was one of those compelling American crime thrillers, big cast, captivating story and acting, but just not memorable. I didn’t tell S I’d already seen it because I could remember so little of it. And we watched the third episode of the L word. S is really enjoying it and I am too. There are very strong and positive representations of gay women on the show and it is empowering to watch. No shame based identities playing out. It’s refreshing.

That was our day and I wanted to tell you that so you can see that I live a healthy, relaxed, easy lifestyle now. It’s nothing real special, but it’s safe and happy and there is no drama or fighting or scary stuff. And I’m in bed with S and the dogs and everyone looks out for each other. So if you need anything, I’m here.

Thanks for listening.

Me.

Letter to my parts 2 of 7

Dear Parts,

It’s me again. I’m reaching out to let you know that I am still here. Life is different now. We are no longer in danger. We live in a quiet and safe community. It’s nice around here. There’s a park across the road where I take the dogs for a walk. We go running along the river. There’s good coffee and food along the strip and friendly people in the neighbourhood. Work is also safe and there are really interesting people who work there. They are creative and highly intelligent and open minded and interesting and funny. We can be ourselves there and people like it. It’s a place where people believe that art and the creative arts can heal and transform peoples lives. You are part of that. Life is easy and relatively quiet and busy with projects and getting things done. Anyway I just wanted to say hi and remind you that if you ever want to talk or share anything that I am here and wanting to listen and get to know you all.

Sleep well. Me.

Letter to my parts.

Dear Parts,

this time of the year is difficult. I want you to know that i have your back. Things have changed. You are all safe now, here, in this apartment, with our dogs and S and a quiet local community. Christmas is low key and relaxed and just about people coming together to spend safe, friendly, loving time together. You will not be taken from your home, no-one will be hurt or told off or frightened or confused. If anybody needs anything, then I am opening up this space for you to share or talk to me. You can ask me anything or share anything that you feel comfortable with.

Much love, me.

Big day

Difficult day, great night. Allow me to explain. Woke tired and sore. I’ve strained my gluteus medius, basically the side of my butt lol. Anyway no running for me today, hopefully tomorrow. Went to large shopping complex to get some Xmas stuff and just found myself getting dissociated and anxious. I think it was over money. I’m feeling the pinch this Xmas and I know it’s gonna sort itself next year but it’s been tough going out on my own. I’m certainly not in dire straights but I am dipping into my savings (at least I have some). And then I just started getting so tired, came home and tried to sleep but couldn’t and I was just out of it. Blank, dissociative and feeling disgusting, ugly and absolutely drained. S was getting ready for university graduation, I was going to be joining the procession later but honestly wanted to crawl into bed and never come out. Pride can be my best friend as I would never let that happen, so I just sucked it up and caught an Uber to the ceremony. More on that later.

I ended up having this massive acting out moment with my ex husband. I’d organised to meet up with him this coming Monday to see each other before Xmas. It’s a big thing, our first year apart and I suggested we buy something nice for each other to wean off and then next year just do something silly like socks and underpants or something. I said I’d buy him some nice jeans and he could get me some perfume, but we’d go shopping together for it when we meet.

He texted me to say he’s already got my perfume and let’s meet at a Japanese restaurant on the Monday. I’m like, okay but then we’ll go in to MYER and get your jeans and he’s like, no I’ll give you the size. And I responded saying, no let’s just get you to try them on quickly (I’ve been shopping with him a few times, it’s always a painful experience because he hates it so much, but it’s necessary because some things don’t look that good on because length is a problem etc). Anyway we’re back and forth basically trying to get our own way and I just cracked it and said, don’t worry about it. I’m tired of everything having to be on your terms. I’m asking for one small freaking thing to make sure we get you something nice, that fits properly and you can’t even bend a bit to do this for me, and with me, so basically I’m over it. I’m not going to see you, have a nice day. And I just fought with him on text because it really pissed me off. It made me think about all the times I had to argue with him over stupid things just to get him to do something that really wasn’t that hard. It was always about him not wanting to be controlled or being petulant or him wanting to have the power. And I’m talking stupid things. Like me having to get cranky for him to go and get a haircut or shave his beard when he knew facial hair was a trigger or even put on deodorant! Yep. And this stuff made me feel like shit. Shit that I had to even push for that, shit that he didn’t respect himself or me or want to look after himself for me. Shit that that’s what I had chosen and a constant reminder of how worthless I thought I was. My conversations with him on text brought it all back.

Went to graduation and it was a very beautiful event. I felt so honoured to be watching hundreds of students graduate and celebrate their achievements. It was so special! The event was like a big royal ceremony with processions and gowns and funny hats and long speeches. I was so proud of my students. Such a big accomplishment. I had lots of photos with them which was really cool. Then I had to go to a farewell dinner for a big wig at work and it was all the leadership team and the Dean and I was the youngest person at the table. I was told more about the “plans” for me, and I’m just thinking, the job sounds really big and I am completely under qualified but of course I will say yes and just pray for sanity at each and every moment.

Tonight was the first graduation ceremony I had ever been too. It was emotional. I never went to my graduate ceremony for my undergrad. I actually took out the award for best undergrad student and I received it but I never knew you had to sign up to actually graduate. I was so not present to the world, probably didn’t read emails or letters or take information in. So I just thought once I got my transcript that was me done. Seven years later, I went to apply for my masters and needed to show my certificate. I had to go back to the university, only to find out I never graduated. Of course I paid what I needed to in order to get my certificate, but when I received it; it had 2013 as my freaking date of graduation, not 2006, when I actually did, because I had to have the actual year I applied for graduation on my certificate. It was really disappointing. So tonight reminded me again how worthless I thought I was for so many years. How I didn’t even honour the achievement of my undergraduate and winning the top student award. I saw tonight how much of an achievement study is and getting a degree and it is something to be celebrated. When I get my PhD I will go to my first official ceremony as a student. Everything I do is backwards. My first ceremony is as an academic not as a student. Backwards programming.