Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More Nightmares... and an Excerpt...

I've had more nightmares the last two nights. Last night I was being chased and couldn't do anything about it but keep running, despite how tired I was. All I knew was that I had to keep running... and so I did. I didn't know where I was going or who/what I was running from, but I kept running and running and running. The night before last, I was watched or stalked by a faceless person. I knew what happening, but I didn't have hard evidence for anyone to believe me in my nightmare. I was unable to talk or yell for help (this happens in almost every nightmare I have).

I kept having those weird jerks that shake you awake out of your sleep. And whenever I woke up from these hard jerks, I would look around my room in the dark - too scared to move anything but my eyes - pull the covers over my head and try to sleep again. I always try to think of something else, but it never works. Anytime I have nights like these, my nightmare either picks up where it left off or it starts all over again. I am exhausted. Just so drained and exhausted. Even though my rape is over, it still feels like I have him on top of me. He is still too heavy for me to breathe or push him off and away. Even in my nightmares, I am still too scared to yell for help because I still can't believe it is really happening.

But it did happen. I can't deny it. I have to admit what happened. I have to admit I was raped. Jay knows what he did. I know what he did. I cannot keep runnning away from it. I have to stop running from it. That is what Jay did - he lied about everything and made me a fool. I can't let him keep getting away with what he did to me. You raped me, Jay, and you have to admit it, too. I will tell you when I find you.

My aunt called me after work today to tell me about this story she found on Oprah's website. It's about a playwright who had - what Oprah calls - his "Aha!" moment - the moment everything began making sense, the moment he stopped being so angry about his life and his past long enough for his broken pieces to heal:

Tyler Perry

My father was a carpenter. He used his hands to pour concrete and hammer nails. He also used his hands to beat me.

I was a tall child, but sickly—I had asthma—and when I went to work with him, the sawdust made me cough. I preferred staying home, writing and drawing. I conjured up other worlds: worlds in which I didn't worry about being poor, in which I was someone else's child, a child who lived in a mansion and had a dog. My father—a man with a third-grade education who was orphaned at 2 and sent to work in the fields at 5—understood only the physical. He thought he could beat the softness out of me and make me hard like him.

When I was 21, I left my house in New Orleans and headed to Atlanta to be a playwright. I got a day job as a bill collector and scrimped and saved to put on my play I Know I've Been Changed— a musical about recovering from an abusive childhood. But even though I was writing about recovering, I wasn't doing it. Every day I felt angry and bitter and terribly lonely. I rarely dated, and if a woman told me she loved me, I headed for the door. My play bombed; 30 people came on opening weekend. I put it on the next year and the year after that, and each time, it bombed again. Finally, 28 years old, out of money and months behind on my rent, I started sleeping in my car. When the car broke down, I asked my father to cosign on a new one, as he had just done for my sister (the light-skinned sister he adored). When he refused, I forged his signature. And when the car got repossessed, he called me, yelling. Sitting in that little room I'd just scraped together enough money to rent, listening to him berate me, something snapped. Something dormant in me woke up, and I began to yell back.

I told him that he'd hated me since I was born, that I didn't deserve the things he'd done to me. Everything I'd ever felt or thought—even things I hadn't been aware of—came out. When I was done, the line was silent for a long time. And then, for the first time ever, my father said, "I love you."

After we hung up, I felt light, empty, and exhausted. I knew that I would never again look at my father in hurt or anger. But in a strange way, I also sensed that something had died. I sat crying for hours, as if I were in mourning. My energy source, my fight, the rage that had moved me every day—it was all gone.

Slowly but surely, I began to fuel my days with joy instead of fury. That year—call it coincidence, call it karma—my play sold out. Then it sold out again, and then again. I began to write new plays, and the theme of forgiveness runs through them all. It's simple: When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.


Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Hi Missing Link,
Unique name, the healing of any assault take time, remember one day at a time. Your courage is there, you will see it. The blog is important to you and the readers. Hang in take care
healing, surviving from Holly

2/24/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger The Missing Link said...

Thanks Holly - I know you are right... I believe it, but I don't feel it. I don't feel much about anything anymore... just floating around through the days waiting for one to end, dreading the next to begin... It will get easier - I am certain you are right... I just have to find a way to fill this burning void inside of me - this void I let my rapist get away with.

2/24/2006 5:46 PM  

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