What the Body Remembers When the Mind Forgets
Written on 3/22/2017
I have read and have also heard about the body having a ‘muscle’ memory. Our minds may not have necessarily forgotten, but they have, in my case, at least suppressed certain memories that we want to forget. I never fully understood it or believed it, until this morning. I had been feeling anxious the last two days, and I usually know why, but this time I could not put a finger on it. I have a week off from school. I got a new assignment at work. I finished a feature length script. I have a super awesome girlfriend. So what the hell is the deal with the nervous stomach?
I woke up this morning feeling extra tired. I usually jump right out of bed when my mental health is stable, especially with being the morning person that I am. I opened my laptop and checked my notifications. A picture popped up with some friends I met for dinner 1 year ago. Then, I knew why I was so anxious this week. Thanks, Facebook.
He was a mentor to me in college, and we met for coffee to catch up when I was in town during my spring break last year.
He said, “I need to tell you something…before I die.”
“Shit. Are you dying?” I said…because he’s much older than me.
He laughs, then gets serious. He said, “No, no. I love you.”
When he said this, I immediately understood it as a love that a mentor has for a mentee and vice versa. So I said, “I know.”
“Oh. Well why didn’t you say anything? You’re hot. I knew you were special the moment I first saw you in class your sophomore year.”
I had been out of school for almost 2 years at that point.
Instead of responding with: “Good for you for getting that off your Viagra-induced boner before you pass on to whatever comes after you die,” I froze and tried to act as normal as possible while thinking: Oh shit oh shit oh shit. I need to get out of here now.
My heart fell into my stomach while its beat increased to the point where I was convinced I could hear it.
I don’t need nor want a much older man (or any man really) to call me hot and sexy. 1. I already know that I am. 2. I have a beautiful girlfriend that tells me that anyway.
The last time I checked, my clothes do not speak verbally. In no way am I asking for it now or asking for it then. I played soccer in college. So, like every other student athlete, I was decked out in shorts, t-shirts, hoodies and sweatpants. I usually rolled into class with my hair on top of my head, no makeup, wondering if I remembered to put on deodorant that morning.
God knows what he was feeling that day when we met because I had on jeans and a sweater — the same one that I happen to be wearing today.
I said I had to go, and he then insisted on walking me to my car, which — by the way — was not necessary for two reasons: 1. my car was maybe 30 feet away from the entrance to the Starbucks and 2. it was a beautiful, sunny day in a busy area. I thought I was safe.
We get to my car. I threw my bag in the backseat. I turned around and my body ran into his. I barely squeezed by him so I could close the door. Right after I do so, I go in for a hug, then he leans into me, backing me up until my back touches my car.
Did it make you feel better when you pressed me into my car, forcing an unwanted kiss on me WITH your tongue?
Excuse me while I puke.
Maybe you should have taken your confession to the grave because it triggered something in me making me feel anger that I have never felt before and hope to never feel again. However, part of me always will be a little angry about it.
After he shoved his tongue down my throat, I met some friends for dinner. I did not plan on drinking that Tuesday afternoon, but that’s the only way I knew how and wanted to deal with what just happened. Did I sleep that night? No, and certainly NOT in the bedroom I grew up in.
Fortunately, I am in a place now where I can channel my anger into something other than alcohol, but that day was the start of my last downward drunken spiral. In the days following the most disgusting kiss I’ve ever had (and there are many bad ones to choose from), I kept questioning the last 5 years. This was someone who encouraged me to go to graduate school — at a University where he teaches. Thankfully, I realized I deserved better and applied to DePaul for the following year instead.
Did he have an ulterior motive during the course of our relationship? Maybe. What did you expect — us to run away together? Probably. Was he only doing this for the sake of having me around for longer? Yes. I remember he said that in a class I took my senior year.
It wasn’t until later that I realized he could have pushed me into my car while I had the door open and done what I think he really wanted to do. I’m sure if he reads this or is called out on it, he’d deny that he would ever do such a thing.
I feel the anxiety and the anger from an unwanted kiss.
I cannot imagine what scale or level sexual assault survivors feel from their attacks. I will believe a survivor, even more so if he or she is assaulted by someone they know. It is the worst kind of betrayal.
I am an advocate for sexual assault survivors but don’t wait until you have unwanted contact to be an advocate, as well.