The day was hard. The work was harder. Being present in those moments was hardest. I did a project on the dilemma of disclosing past sexual abuse. My past sexual abuse. I understood that I would have to explain a bit about what happened, but then transition to the mechanical ethical theories. I planned to discuss it in a manner that would cause me to distance myself from it, as if I had not been the victim (oddly, that is the first time I’ve ever referred to myself as the victim). What I failed to calculate was the toll having to then lead a discussion with my classmates and professor would have on me.
I got through the presentation portion. The facts were laid out. I had ethical egoism in the bag. I knew it, I used it. I was proud of my project. I then was tasked with asking questions and engaging my peers in a discussion. I had to invite them in to this series of violations. I had to then listen to their responses and answer them. I had to be present. There were a few moments I had to pause, but I controlled it and continued on like the A student I need to be.
Then I found myself hunched over the podium sobbing. Glasses off. People attempting to comfort me with hugs and fearful looks. Snot was everywhere. I left and found the bathroom and let myself sob. The cold water from the cracked sink soothed my reddened hot skin. I took off my tie, breathed deeply, and headed back into the room.
The room met my return with applause. My professor asked I wanted to end class or if we should go on. She gave me back control, which is one of the many things my abusers took from me.
There is still an uneasiness that hurts my chest, a lack of peace that won’t allow my brain to relax.
Today, I laid down on a grassy hill in the middle of campus. I let the sun warm me and feed me. I let the earth hold and support me. I let God whisper to me. My chest is beginning to unclench its fist. My brain isn’t there just yet. My heart wants to be done, but I don’t know if I ever will be. Until then, I know I have cracked sinks, the sun, the earth, and my God.