“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”    -Nietzsche

“I was a young woman in a new job, in a new city and one real friend. My boss invited me out for a drink. My one friend was working the swing shift. I didn’t really know I could say no, so I went. It was my boss.
I remember one drink.
I never made it home that night.
I’ll probably never know what was in that drink. I only know where I came to and what was happening in that moment. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I cried in the shower as I desperately tried to get clean. I put on the clothes from the day before.
And then I was taken to work.
He was my boss, after all.”
I’ve been walking around all day in a fog. I feel like a visitor in my own life. It’s hard to explain the unsteadiness of that. The last few days have triggered a very physical response. Tears and fears. I thought it was all safely behind me. I was wrong. Enter: snowglobe.
To be clear, I am not looking for sympathy or attention. Neither is an adequate prescription. I am not haunted, as I know others are, by violent memories. Maybe that’s why I had so much shame. It wasn’t like that. Truth is, I remember very little of what happened at all. There are no nightmares.
But there are reverberations.
It is the constant reminder of what was taken from me that does the haunting. When I witness my own awkwardness in making friends, when my boundaries blur, when I try too hard … these are things that stay with me. These are the thoughts that come cascading down when I try to sleep. These are the thoughts that bring me to full-on tears when I’m alone with them.
That is why I’m sharing this story. There were other stories too. There was an element of bad judgment with all of them. Even so, I did not deserve what happened to me.
Telling this story will not turn the tide. It may or may not help me begin to heal. But it joins a thundering chorus of other voices.
Back in the early 80’s when I flirted with activism as the angry voices of another movement “ACT UP” rose, the motto was: Silence = Death. It feels equally pivotal now. People need to know that this isn’t about three women and one judge. This is about ending a culture that blames the victims.
This is about all of us.
Tomorrow I will do what I always do. I’ll face my fears and take back another piece of my life. I’ll find some solace in wild places. And I’ll know I’m going to be okay.

11 Comments on “Triggers

  1. Bonnie,
    I am not a poetic writer and this will not be an attempt to be that or profound….I thought that after 40 years I knew everything there was to know about you-that notion is wrong. Your retelling of this event makes me deeply angry and…I can not find a word. I spent a wonderful day hiking yesterday with you and we covered many topics and I did not even know this was shared by you. I wish I had read this because I would have given you the embrace and comfort that I could not give you at the time this horrific person did this horrific thing to you. I love you and will save my embrace for the next time we share the woods and a hike.
    Always, Laura

    • My dear friend, the telling and re-telling of the story have had their day. It’s really not a time I readily talk about. Therapy served me well and sobriety has been a real gift to me. Our day yesterday was perfect. It was exactly what I needed when the week let the memories creep back in. With you I always feel safe and loved. I can’t imagine two greater things. That is the threshold these days for the people I allow in. You are in fine company.Thank you for the day ♡ We are luckier than we can even know.

  2. I am sickened. I feel that in tuning in to this rolling travesty, I am opening a vein and shooting poison directly into my heart and psyche. All the machinations currently in play are meant to placate. Your story could and does happen nearly 40 years later over and over and over at all levels of society, and regardless of the more public spectacles, the end result is the same. Shame, tears, recriminations and the wholesale silencing of 51% of the population. Bon, I applaud every thing and any thing you do to continue to have faith in where we are going. I am glad you dont have nightmares, but sleepless waking aches can’t be much better. Yesterday broke me. To my core.

  3. And also these crimes make is feel invisible, so we must be heard and seen in our words. I see you and hear you.

    • Thank you so much for those words. I have been feeling a bit afraid to listen to these hearings. The patriarchy is angry. Hearing angry men, in and of itself, is a trigger for many. The snowglobe has been shaken. We found our voices. In the midst of all of this shame and uncertainty we ram on. May we be loud and clear and persistent. Thanks for writing, Lotta .

  4. Well done – what pitifully small words- need to grow some real bigger ones. Telling your story and telling it just so is critically important. Trauma and pain is an unusual land, it goes quiet then awakens at the drop of a pin, to resettle again. Perhaps it is like your mountains. Peaks and valleys that you can travel in different ways on different days. Abuse of power to inflict this harm, and in such a cowardly way, is vile. But tell these stories? I think we must, and we must tell the longreaching shadow of their after effects to do honour to the survival and strength of spi

  5. I am horrified and angry that in 2018 this behavior by men is still okay. At least if you are a Republican. Thank you for telling your story. It shouldn’t have to take courage to be a truth teller, but it does. And then there is the backlash. It is so wrong.

    • Horrified is exactly the right word. I couldn’t listen today for many reasons, but I am grateful to everyone able to bear witness to her courageous decision to share her truth. My heart goes out to everyone who has been forced to relive the horror in their own lives. I hope this makes us stronger. Blessings to the thunderous many who have shared and said #metoo. We, none of us, are alone and together we will rise. Hear us roar !

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