Why Jessica Jones is important
It’s odd when it feels like a television show is looking at you. Staring right at you.
It will be invisible to a lot of people. But I’ve also seen this recognition all around me. It only takes a few words, but we all just sort of know that the show sees us.
And then we see each other.
Sometimes my throat tightens up at night. I don’t know why it happens. But my brain jumps to conclusions now that it never would have jumped to before. Someone is choking you. Wake up. WAKE UP. And I sit up, and I see that I can still breathe, and in a second or two my throat relaxes and I can swallow again. It happens over and over again some nights. I realized at one point, that if I didn’t do something to try to fix it, that I would not be able to sleep anymore.
So I started laying still. I can feel my throat squeezing, and my brain screams, Sit up. SIT UP. Instead now, I just lay there, I wait until I hear another voice. I believe that you can breathe. I believe that you are safe. I believe that you will get through this.
We are all superheroes.
I had good friends after I left him. Friends who said I didn’t need to be afraid. That they would stop him from getting to me. And I said, no. He would never come after me. It’s not like that. He would watch my every move for a mistake, and then he would fall apart like I had orchestrated an attack. I cannot play a part in that story again.
I have trouble holding onto faces. It was a blessing when I realized that I couldn’t quite recall his anymore. But I can always remember his eyes, like they were burned into my brain. I remember his eyes as he told me that every time I pulled away, he put a gun into his mouth.
Go ahead, his eyes said. Go ahead and walk away. Show me that all your kindness was a lie. Betray me again without remorse or caring. Show me what a monster you are.
I started seeing a therapist for anxiety because there was nothing they could do in the emergency room. Eventually the shaking always went away, and my heart always kept beating.
My ex-husband used to beat me, my therapist said after I had been seeing her for some time. People think that the physical assault is the worse, but it’s the emotional assault that eats you alive.
I remember her eyes too. Looking right at me. It’s hard for people to say that they believe you when they don’t know. It’s effortless when they do. When she believed me, it changed everything.
Abuse locks you in a fortress of shame, convinced that no one can know what you experienced. And yet I have learned that the experience is often so similar. Similar in what it does to us, and similar in what we must do to untangle it.
And maybe everyone reaches that point where they realize that they have to do something or they will never sleep again.
Maybe that’s when we become superheroes.