i just don't trust myself
In the Mondo-Beyondo prompt, we were asked to consider intuition. As I started thinking about moments when I've let intuition take over, I tensed up and was almost immediately overwhelmed and upset. So I began to write and the following is what came out.
I've written numerous times before about the difficulties of trusting myself, and of paying attention to my intuition. I've also explained how I'm not always hyper-aware, least of all to my own instincts. I find it difficult to make decisions about where to eat dinner because I take responsibility if something goes badly and I realize now that much of my struggle stems from the fact that I just don't trust myself. I haven't allowed myself to make mistakes and place way too much pressure on almost all of my decisions. I have a sense of when this mistrust began and though I've tried to process and forgive myself and not hang on to the baggage of my less fantastic decisions while understanding all of my choices have brought me to this point in my life and that I could be a completely different person given different decisions, I still struggle.
I've mentioned before that I was raped by a boy I knew and trusted and thought was my friend. The decision I made to go to his house that afternoon instead of hanging out with my usual friend after school has weighed on me for most of my life. The decisions I made afterward (not to press charges, for example) also gnaw at me. There is a part of me that wonders what my life would have been like if I had not gone to his house, if I'd noticed sooner that the group of people we'd been hanging out with had left, if I had poured my own Sprite... what if, what if. I've lived those what ifs out in my mind more times than I want to imagine. One of the reasons I enjoyed LOST so much was watching the debate between free will and fate play out. When terrible things happen we want to understand why. I've spent so much time trying to understand the violence this boy enacted on me and ultimately I have no answer that helps me. No answer would be enough because there is no answer. Sometimes things just happen; paths diverge and you take one route and it changes the entire trajectory of your life.
I can say with certainty that when I look back at my girlhood, there is a division in my recollections of life before I was raped and life after. I know I have been shaped by the moment that boy took my innocence from me and as many times as I wish that weren't true or as many times as I want to ignore the influence he had on my life and on decisions I made, I just can't. I also can't deny that who I am has been shaped by violence. I want to; you have no idea how badly. Giving this event that significance gives it power that I don't want it to have and yet, it is a defining moment when my entire life shifted. Nothing was predictable, anymore. Nothing felt safe. It was the moment I realized that real darkness, real violence and real monsters existed.
It's also the moment I stopped trusting myself; because this guy manipulated me, I no longer trusted my own instincts. I felt I should have noticed something was off, that my instincts should have said, "Leave!" Maybe they did, but as a teenager what other people think of you, what boys think of you often overrides anything else. I don't actually remember much of that afternoon (I was drugged) so I cannot be sure what I was thinking or feeling. However, when I "came to" I tried to hide what happened from everyone, a decision, which would also define my teenage years and much of my early adulthood. The consequences of such a decision still weigh on me.
And yet, I like the person I am today, and the person I am becoming. To refuse my past means refusing who I am and that's not something I am prepared to do. So while, I often mourn for my innocence, I'm aware that there is strength and compassion that emerges from my experiences. I know that I cannot live in the world of past, present or future what ifs. Even though I make small, minute decisions everyday without difficulty, there are times when trying to make a decision will almost paralyze me. I overthink it, ask advice and drive everyone around me (M) crazy.
I think we all have doubts about ourselves, about what to do next. I think some of us are better equipped to believe in our decisions, to trust, period. I'm learning. I'm learning to be open to possibility and to take advantage of moments that present themselves to me. But mostly, I'm just trying to cut myself some slack and to finally, once and for all, let go of the self-flagellation I've been giving myself for almost 20 years.