Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take Back the Night

I woke up late today, and it's a blessing. I ate a lot of chocolate in the middle of the night, and woke up with my mouth tasting like the business end of a garbage scow. It's a lovely consequence of my meds.

The unicorn meat eating cats are out and about hunting. Tired of that, they come in for a respite to eat Cat Chow now and then. My corgi mix is waiting at my feet. He is used to this writing thing early in the morning now, and moves freely about, instead of moving like a machine slaved to me.

And the zinnia? What of the zinnia, Alise? It's too dark to see them now, but I can hear a small hum where they are singing. I have all colors now, pink, orange and cream, and they are a glory.They sing lullabies to the small lavender plant nearby.

Yesterday, I spared time to talk about my disabilities. I don't mention them for pity...although it's a noble sentiment and kindly taken. I pity many people and don't feel it's derogatory to my character. I mentioned them because I now feel I have the skill to talk about them. It's an odd world, sometimes, having mental differences, but I now feel safe in it. I am set free knowing I can't depend on the voiced world for it's opinion of me.

So here's something else I will mention, since it's my blog. I usually write generally and try to write with a sense of humor to appeal to the general audience. But I would like to address a specific audience today.

 Hollins University is a private, women's school in Virginia, known for it's excellence in the Arts, especially Creative Writing.  It's also known for the beauty of it's grounds, and I have spent a lot of time there, during my illnesses, recovering.

Once a year, the front Quad is decorated with a clothes line, and hundreds of t shirts. On the t shirts is written the history of the sexual assaults and rapes of various young women at the University. I cannot describe the feelings I had the first time I saw this event. It was dark, with only the lamplights burning, and the dark had a profound silence about it. T shirt after t shirt spelled out these young women's encounters with strangers, fathers, brothers, boyfriends, friends.

The silence seemed to fit but had a quality of horror about it. I couldn't read all of them; I was overwhelmed by their voices. Their quiet voices. I became them. I was them. I have an unwritten t shirt to hang there. I was surrounded by the memories of my sisters. With only the body of a t shirt to mark their time here.

Here is my t shirt: I was stalked and sexually assaulted by a still-practicing M.D. To answer your questions: he has been accused four times, not including me, and been to trial twice and acquitted. This isn't the horror bit. The horror bit is: he came to my house one time, after the sexual assault in his office, and convinced my mother to let him in. He was her physician at the time, and was treating her with acupuncture. You see, no one believed my accusations at the time. I was simply crazy from the grief of my father dying.

Back to it: I was drunk as a louse in my apartment downstairs and remember nothing but him walking down the stairs, and then waking up the next morning. I was in terrible pain coming from my left leg. Did I mention he is practicing now as an osteopath? That's someone, like a chiropractor, who manipulates muscles to strengthen the bones.

It turns out that I now have permanent damage to the groin muscle for that leg. I rarely bring this memory out of hiding. I like to think of it as something Jim Beam dreamed up for me. But there is the evidence in the folder of my own osteopath (a woman), and the constant problems I have with that leg.

Why? Came to me out of the darkness from the voices and the shirts.  Why?

My only answer is that Evil does exist. Just as the zinnia sing and the tomatoes hum. The evil exists just as my cats do, and the unicorns they hunt. The evil exists just as those united, lonely t shirts do every year, waving in a breeze, waiting to be read and understood.

I am not asking for pity; although I do believe it is a noble emotion and something very old. I am asking for your horror at the start of this new day, in this ancient world.  I am asking your acknowledgement of Evil and your refusal to participate in it by ignoring it.

Do some small, kind thing today. Be gentle, if you can. Tell a friend with a mental illness you love them. Take back the Night.