Holy hell! Anyone else find yourself wondering what it was like in the Before Times?
Did I really love the the Before Times life as much as I thought I did while experiencing a global pandemic with the rest of the world? I mean FUCK. Talk about seeing the world through rose colored glasses pre-Rona.
I was fortunate to be able to work from home most of 2020, returning to an office in January of 2021 part-time that did not enforce masks. In fact, almost 90% of employees chose not to wear them (which was like living an episode of the The Twilight Zone since the rest of the world was still on high Rona alert). As soon as I knew I would be returning to a maskless office this March, I made every effort possible to get the vaccine. Fortunately, I received it with Prissy in tow, my partner-in-crime turned stage five clinger due to endless months of quarantine together.
I still wore my mask at all times in public and while at work. And then one afternoon, President Biden came out and leisurely announced that those of us who chose to be tracked by Bill Gates (I kid, I kid but how do people seriously believe that shit?) could carry on with life like in the Before Times.
WHAT THE WHAT?
Did I hear that correctly?!
After 14 months of following the Centers for Disease Control and my boyfriend, Tony Fauci’s advice, this announcement seemed like a miracle of sorts. A beacon of hope after a year of uncertainty and fear. But then, my anxiety kicked in. Do I still wear a mask at work? Or in public (I live in a state where leadership flagrantly downplayed Rona, costing lives)? What about if I’m around an unvaccinated person? The questions swirled like a tsunami in my noggin. What about people who were lying about being vaxxed…was it OK for me to be around them maskless? As a person with already severe anxiety, this should be fucking fabulous announcement sent my brain into overload.
On top of that, I was used to being able to skip makeup and any sort of regular beauty routine, hiding behind a mask, greasy hair in an up do and sunglasses 24/7. Major pandemic glamour.
I thought maybe we’d be easing back into the Before Times but instead (for those of us that took this shit seriously, wearing masks and caring about our neighbors and community continuously for 14 months) mask mandates were being ripped off as harshly as a band aid stuck to arm hair with no countdown.
I’m having a hard time recollecting what was so fabulous about leaving the house at 7am only to return at 7pm (after a commute, eight hour day of employment at a desk in a cube and post work yoga sesh), every week day. And, after working from home nearly a year, I absofuckinglutely DO NOT MISS getting up hours before arriving to my job to shower, (washing my hair on a regular basis is STILL a pre-Rona trait coming back at a snail’s pace), feeding my zoo (of six indoor pussies, four outdoor pussies, one high maintenance Pomeranian), taking the dog out, scooping cat shit, taking said shower, blow drying hair, putting in contacts, trying to remember how to apply makeup, making coffee, chugging down my vitamins, meds and supplements, attempting a quick breakfast (still a microwaved egg, slice of cheese on a piece of toast – my first meal of the day since college), not forgetting a fast packed lunch on the counter to rot the day away, and sitting in traffic all before getting to the office at 8am.
I do not miss any of that one bit. My work from home lewk was a greasy, casual, wait to shower until after my lunchtime workout, roll out of bed and take my time making my way to the computer anywhere I wanted in the Mini Manse unappealing, not easy on the eyes but easy on my mind routine I’d come to adore.
Of course this news was fabulous. But I had to get my shit together overnight (like the rest of folks like me) and start giving fucks about my appearance again (I mean, I guess I don’t have to) once I was going to be recognizable in public without the lower half of my face covered. I had to remind myself what it was like wearing lipstick again, paint my face with at least tinted moisturizer so I didn’t constantly get asked “are you sick?” at work (I got serious dark circles gang), and work on not letting my facial expressions get out of control since again, they’d been covered up for the better part of 14 months.
Once I had my mind straight on the ground rules, being out in public and seeing others at the grocery, liquor store, post office, etc. without a mask made me want to put mine back on or ask them to stop breathing unless they were across the room from me. Turns out after talking to friends and fam, I’m not alone in the post Rona panic. It’s a discussion that comes up with peeps in my ‘bubble’ (those I know who took Rona with the same seriousness and are vaxxed or on their way there). Adjusting to the new (but really old) norm is gonna take some time for most of us.
BUT this also means hugs, kisses, seeing loved ones again, drinks at Dalts, leisurely trips to my mothership Target just for shits and giggles, no more maskne (zits caused by the cloth covering), and almost most importantly back to the Hair House to see my Elf on a Shelf who works hair wonders on my mane.
So, if I have yet to see you in our new post pandemic world, the only reason you’ll need to panic is if I haven’t yet seen you. Prepare yourself for a major mauling by moi. In the meantime, I’m taking baby steps back into the maskless universe with the first stop being my pool. Surprise.
Adjusting to the new (but really old) norm is gonna take some time for most of us.
Today marks the five year anniversary of being raped – my rapeversary if you will. Last year was the first time since January 29, 2016 that I felt even a sliver of my “old” self on this day. I declared the 29th day of this month the official International Day of the Badass, making all things related to rape and the aftermath of trauma my bitches. No apologies. Sorry not sorry.
Always and forfuckingever nasty.
I was feeling really fucking fabulous. Seeing the world through my pre-Rapegate rose colored glasses again and ready to celebrate any and everything but most specifically, honor all things ME. This motherfucking badass bitch was back.
And then, that cunt Rona showed her ugly face a little more than a month later and my entire world (along with the rest of the global population) went to shit a matter of days.
Who the fuck invited you here?
My trauma ticks (as I call them) that I worked so fucking hard to kick in four years of therapy cropped up whenever the fuck they felt it inconvenient. Stuttering, leg and foot bouncing, incessant itching at imaginary hot spots on my skin, stress induced cortisol dumping into my system, insomnia, the severity of my anxiety was back at its skyscraper height and my stomach hurt 24/7 with a deep side of sciatica (a new place my stress manifests itself in my bod).
Fun self inflicted times on my wrist, inner arm and ankle.
Feeling these regressions bubbling up sent me on a downward spiral so fucking fast, I was constantly treading water that was circling the drain. For me, it’s been the hardest part of Rona because I was JUST feeling foxy again, ready to strut my stilettos and resurfaced sassiness all over the pace. I hate the feeling of going backward (but who loves it unless we’re talking about aging?) and the grief attached to my trauma ticks, along with being isolated when I was ready to mingle with the world again about did me in.
Thank fuck for emotional support animals.
I had a four year out-of-body experience where I had to mourn the loss of my pre-rape life, the death of myself as I knew me – as well as construct my resurrection. I’d trudged my way through an avalanche of the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But Rona took me straight back from a happier place of acceptance to the prior four stages any time she felt like fucking with me.
I think I chose my closet as my panic attack recovery space in 2016 because it’s small and sparkly for comfort.
Then, I was reminded that grief (and all of the shit that comes along with it) isn’t linear.
Queen of the pivot turn.
I gave myself grace (or at least tried – still trying) and remembered Superhero Sheila’s sound advice. If you wouldn’t say it to one of the twins (that woman goes right for the dagger when she needs it), don’t say it to yourself.
It’s like Superhero Sheila is good at her job or something.
So I got my self talk back on some semblance of a cordial track and proceeded to make my way through the additional perils that 20fucking20 threw at every single citizen of the world in its own unique, shitty way.
I choose to wear sunglasses and fancy headpieces to cope.
But even as I try to forge ahead on this International Day of the Badass, my body and mind are constant companions leading up to this dreaded fucking day, kicking my PTSD into the highest of all gears. I wish there was a WD-40 for the bones because the worst is being in your body, not able to control it.
All because one thousand, eight hundred and twenty five days ago, I was raped by my best friend’s boyfriend while I slept on her couch, in her 600 square foot apartment after a wine and cryfest, grieving the sudden death of a young friend. I woke up to her boyfriend of five weeks on top of me, pajama pants at my knees, arms at my sides, his face in my neck. That was the moment the me as I knew her, died.
Later that day, I sat with my ass cheeks on thin paper, protecting me from any other prior ass cheeks that unfortunately found themselves sitting on the same exam table in the rape kit performance room. The overwhelming fumes of bleach almost resurrected me from the protective shock in which my body had retreated.
“Do you want a rape advocate?” Detective Stupka (soon-to-be renamed Cuntka) questioned me after she recorded my statement of the illegal, intrusive sexual assault that took place several hours earlier. I couldn’t recall Shane the Rapist’s last name (that was listed in my phone, which was dead from being at the hospital waiting for eight hours on a rape kit), how was I able to know if I needed an advocate? What was an advocate? Did I need one? Detective Cuntka said she could not advise me and I somehow communicated that I did, in fact, want an advocate.
I still can’t wrap my brain around my bff not believing me nine hours after being raped, do I look like I can make a goddamned decision about anything?!
I believe rape victims should be assisted with an advocate, period. No questions asked. Just have one show up and let them do the talking because it was a good three years before my typically decisive as fuck ass could make any decision about ANYTHING.
I will just have one of everything on the menu because what do I want?
When Barbie the advocate tenderly walked into the room, careful not to touch me (when I just wanted her to sweep me up in her arms and tell me everything was gonna be OK – although that would have been a disservice on her part because nothing about being raped is ever OK, so, therefore, no hug took place). She spoke with the same amount of tenderness she used when she was inching toward me.
Where was one of my goddamn pussies when I needed them?!
Barbie resembled more of a Skipper than the actual Barbie doll with a petite frame, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag (that naturally, I admired and wondered if she had a phone charger tucked inside I could use) and was such a pleasant sight after the day kept spewing like uncontrollable bowels. After a few minutes of fill-in-what-horrible-thing happened to you, she looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Honey, there is going to be a before rape and an after rape moving forward in your life.”
It was one of those moments that you just know what’s being said is true, no matter how much you want it to be a lie.
My immediate thoughts of life after rape.
Barbie left the room to sit with Dada CBXB who was most likely wondering how in the fuck his Friday turned out so inexplicable. I sat waiting for the rape kit exam to commence after yet again being hazy on decision making when asked, “Do you want the Plan B pill? Did he wear a condom? Do you want to take the HIV preventative even though it will rob you of 30 days of your life since its effects are so brutal? Do you want to be tested for every STD in which science is aware? Have you eaten anything today? Here are crackers to take with the handful of pills we are giving you.”
I seriously can’t compute.
Upon completion of my rape kit and consumption of no less than 51 pills, I was handed a folder of information with numbers to national hotlines I could call, pamphlets of what to expect in the coming days, and instructions of when to take the next round of pills to rid my body of any other foreign substance left behind when Shane the Rapist raped me. It was like onboarding at a new job or getting every class syllabus on the first day of college. It was literature on what my life after rape was going entail.
I had no inkling of what the fuck I was up against.
Open ended ticket for one, please. @deepfriedfreckles
Nobody wants to be in this club. Nobody wants to be an expert on matters in which we never want to be associated. But rape happens. And there I was and here I am.
All too familiar when I wish I had no clue.
I miss my pre-rape life in the way your heart breaks when someone your world revolved around dies. The me I’d always known, died on January 29, 2016, and I had no idea how to bring myself back to life. Thing is, I was still breathing. I wasn’t dead. I just had no feeling left inside, which made me feel like a shell. Hollow, empty and alone.
You don’t have to cry for me because my eyes leaked enough fluid for nine lifetimes.
I found out who could withstand the shell of myself and who needed an exit. I immediately realized I was going to become a walking, talking rape victim stereotype (the victims that report, anyway) when interacting with Detective Cuntka when she told me 37 days after being raped over the phone that I was “one of 29 other cases she was working on. This was a he said/she said case so not much will come of it.” Oh sorry, this is my first time being raped and dealing with anything that accompanies. Please excuse my incessant questions about how this shit works. Chasing my case and any details became a second full time job.
Daily routines ceased existing and the depression bombarded its way in. Brushing teeth, washing my hair, applying make up (I was Ronafied ahead of the times), no polish on my claws because they became unbearable chores.
This is my version of silent screams for help.
No more hot yoga. No more running. No activities where I was alone with my own thoughts. I couldn’t get off of the couch and into my bed for six months to sleep, further exacerbating the endless cycle of depression, anxiety, nerves, self-loathing, shame, blame, fatigue and stress leaving me empty. Literally dead inside.
I gave zero shits.
Therapy has given me life-saving coping mechanisms. Medicines have made my daily life manageable. The kindness of human beings has been astounding and reinstated the belief that simple acts and words of love can do some serious healing. The outpouring of support once I was able to openly talk about my rape case after the grand jury found insufficient evidence to take Shane the Rapist to trial was astonishing.
After all of that recovery, after all of the therapy, after the shit show of 2020, now more than ever I understand that we all carry invisible wounds. And Rona brought all of my luggage back but this time around the baggage felt excruciatingly heavier.
Others can’t see the shame I carry. Others can’t see the guilt I hold (did I somehow ask for it?). Others can’t see the blame I assign myself every single second, minute, hour, day, month.
The year 2020 made it achingly obvious that people I love haven’t been listening to me and can’t – or worse yet – DON’T WANT to see mental anguish caused by society and the normalcy of rape culture.
Judgment is a fucking beast and after rape, it becomes an unwanted daily acquaintance at your breakfast, lunch, and supper table. I started eating at this fucking buffet again last year.
One thing I know to be true is that people who love you – really love you for you, don’t waiver. It’s been my family, my rock-solid friends, the folks who have come to my rescue via virtual friendships (silver lining of 2020!), the people who have re-entered my life to lift me up when I was sure I was going to drown…that all exists.
Here I stand five years later, my heart beating the last 1,825 days, feeling like a motherfucking badass once again. I now understand that grief is an emotion that exists even when life still is within. I died but I lived.
When I think about the people I love and the fur babies I’ve lost, I choose to celebrate them. Drink their favorite drinks, watch a favorite movie, look at photos, read old cards, love on my current Pussy Posse, share fucking funny stories with others that loved them, too. After forfuckingever five years, I am back to celebrating ALL THINGS ME again.
Sorry not sorry.
Join me in celebrating the International Day of the Badass.
This pussy grabs back.
“I won’t back down. I will stand my ground.” – Tom Petty
What are you celebrating on this International Day of the Badass? Because if you’re reading this, you’re one too.