I am worthy. I am so worthy of life. I am worth something. I am worth so much. I feel it, right now, in this moment. I am practising self-kindness. I am being gentle with myself. I am not downgrading my self esteem with negative thoughts against myself. I embrace my body, almost every inch of it. I am allowed to cry when I want to. I don’t always have to smile if I don’t want to. I am fundamentally a good person. I forgive myself for those times that I was less than perfect. I seek good in other people. I am allowed to have a future. The future is mine and no one else’s. I can create happiness from within. I have the capacity to be at peace with myself. I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.
I don’t want to generalize and then jump into specifics, and therefore interrupt the idyllic nature of the above paragraph, yet I must. It is Thursday night. On Tuesday I am going to the district attorney’s office downtown. I will be there before 9:00. That’s when my interview starts. It’s not really an interview. I believe, officially, I will be giving my statement. I’ve been calling it a dissertation in my mind. Calm before the storm, only I hope there will be no storm. Biting my nails. How do I go on? It’s a statement. I will be telling them everything. I don’t know if I will be able to tell everything. They will be directing the conversation. It may be recorded. “They” refer to the district attorney and the sheriff. The two of them and the victim advocate will be there in the room. The victim advocate will be there for support. They are all female. I am so grateful for this. There will be no men in the room. I imagine the room is going to feel cold and stark with bare white walls and a table in a middle with chairs around it. This is where I am going to be spending up to three hours. I am going to tell them everything.
The district attorney’s job is to seek truth and justice. The justice part I may as well lay to the side because it is probably unlikely that this case will ever see the inside of a courtroom. The attorney has to be able to prove to the 12-person jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that these things that I am saying are the truth. The fact is that I have very little proof. I have some photos, some old emails, an old Craigslist account that I was able to log in to. But the valuable part of the case is me. This is all about me, not about a justice I cannot hope for. Without my testimony this trial wouldn’t stand a chance. There wouldn’t even be a trial.
I didn’t think that the DA would be willing to reopen the case. But she did! It was a surprise to me. I am therefore grateful that I get to tell my story to someone official in the justice system. Because that’s all I can do. I cannot do more than that. I am not the law. I can’t make someone go to jail. But I can bring light to what happened to me rather than keeping it in the dark. My therapist knows every intricate detail. He probably knows more than I know even though I lived it. That’s because I forget things because I compartmentalize my memories in order to live with the knowledge that these things actually happened to me. There are shitty people in the world but I am not one of them.
It’s next week. I have been fretting about this case since I first contacted the DA’s office two weeks ago. It has been torturing my mind. Often this week I have found myself at work staring at the screen, and in my mind I am somewhere completely different: I am in the room where I was gang raped, I am dressed up in nothing dancing on a pole at the Porn Convention, I am trying to fight him off and saying no and him climbing on top of me anyway to do his business (because I was an object to him and not a person), I am in a bar being fed more alcohol than I can handle. I am not at work concentrating at my tasks at hand and making the outbound phone calls I need to be making. I am pretty far behind at work, at least a week behind. On good days I am only two days behind, but not these last two weeks. My mind has been occupied with something else and it has been very distracting.
I keep wanting to tell people, and then reminding myself that they don’t need to know, and that it’s better to not know. Plenty, or enough people know already. The DA, the victims advocate, the sheriff, my aunt abroad, my new coffee shop girl friend, my therapist, my theater friend, my mom. They all are aware of what I’m going to be doing on Tuesday. It is a big day. It will be a marking day, a significant day in my life. It has been just over four years since I left. I walked out and drove away and never saw him again. The divorce was finalized a year later. Now I am going back to then, reaching back into my memory, and telling my story so I can find closure to this chapter of my life. I am not actively suicidal any more although the thought still crosses my mind briefly at times. I didn’t want to kill myself. I didn’t want to end my life at all. I wanted to end the pain and mental torture, and escape the mental prison that I was being held in. I didn’t want to leave him and I couldn’t bear what he was doing to me so the only logical conclusion was to kill myself. I fought that for five years, from 2010 to 2015. Now it’s 2016 and things are different. I know I can choose to live. I know I don’t have to kill myself. I choose life.