a healing journey

Hello all! I am so happy to be back and writing. I had a good break, but I really missed my me time. A lot has happened in the last couple weeks. My friend, Kitty Sopow, who you know a little something, something about from a previous post came to visit. We had a blast exploring the city and being all around basic. This included a photoshoot in Brooklyn Bridge Park, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, tons of shopping/eating, and seeing Hamilton. Hamilton was a bucket list item and I can’t believe I got to cross it off the list #blessed.

Lately I have been in a pretty good headspace. I mean Hamilton was really my peak so it may all be down hill from here, but I digress. I am still riding the waves of my human emotions because I am not AI, but overall I feel grounded and it is amazing. As I feel this sense of grounding I find it more difficult to write. Comedians and artists alike often joke about their best work coming from dark places. So, when I am not in a dark place in can be harder to find inspiration. I thought about this as I geared up for another new blog post. “What can I possible write about today” I pondered and then I thought if I can write a whole post about my 5 hours at the DMV, I am pretty sure I can find something meaningful to write today.

In fact, when I first sat down to write, I wrote a ton of different things, but none of them were the story I wanted to tell. I probably could have made them work, but I don’t like to force things. Then this voice kept showing up. There is a story that I was never sure I would be ready to tell, but my head keeps saying today is the day. So, I guess today is the day. This is a story that I have alluded to many times over in previous posts, but never really said outright. I am ready now. Today’s story is about my own experience with sexual assault, so please read only if you feel in the right place to do so.  

C/W Rape, sexual assault, suicidal ideations.

Today I want to talk about the time I was raped. *I originally wrote assaulted here, but I want to name it exactly what it was, it was rape* A moment that really shaped the person I am today. I don’t really want to talk about the details, because I don’t think it is necessary. I think there are enough movies and TV shows that depict the horrific things that can be done to a persons body without their permission. I have no desire to further that aspect. What I do want to talk about is the aftermath- the hardship and confusion I experienced for many, many years.

When I first started writing, like way back during my first blogging days, this was the story I really wanted to tell. It was actually the first story I had ever written about myself, I just never posted it anywhere. I saved it to my desktop and still have it hiding in a documents folder titled ‘extra school work’. Sometimes when I am feeling confused or lost I go back and read it. It reminds me of how far I have come.

My experience was my first time, I was 20 years old and it was with someone I liked… well if I am being honest, who I thought I loved.  I spent a long time confused about the entire situation which in turn made my whole understanding of sex and relationships confusing. When I told a previous therapist about my ‘first time’ I told her a lie. I talked about how sweet he was and recited a scene that could have been placed in any romantic comedy. That lie morphed over time and depending on the person asking I would share different versions of what happened. I was disappointed in myself and scared to tell the truth. Alcohol was involved and so for a long time I blamed myself. Actually for a long time I didn’t even consider it rape; it was just sex that I didn’t remember. Throughout my early twenties I would sometimes close my eyes really tight and just whisper “remember, remember” over and over to myself, hoping that I could get one glimpse of what happened that night. What I do remember is that next morning. Every single part of it. I know what I was wearing, what we talked about. The exact words exchanged. When I would close my eyes and try to remember that is what I would see.

After that, I spent most of my early 20’s drinking a lot. It wan’t too unusual to people though because it is so embedded in college life. I was exhibiting normal early 20’s behavior, which now that I am a bit older is entirely alarming. I would drink to the point of blacking out, more often than I would care to admit and still this was pretty mainstream in the college scene. The thing is I didn’t want to remember things anymore. After that first time blacking out and with everything that happened I wanted to be this alternate universe Sarah who, in my head, was promiscuous and confident and attractive to others. I didn’t know who showed up when I was blacked out of course, but I remember she would make my friends laugh and they would give me stories that I didn’t know about my own life. I couldn’t be intimate with people unless I was drunk. I didn’t know how to feel safe any other way. My vulnerability was stripped with alcohol and I could hide behind her and block out the truths that would shout at me in the daytime.

Many weekends would be filled with alternate universe Sarah, but as time moved, the more I drank the less I would black out and the higher my tolerance became. Instead of becoming alternate universe Sarah, I became sad Sarah. I would drink and I would cry and my friends would take care of me. And then next time we drank I would begin the nights with promises that I wouldn’t cry this time and of course I would and the cycle would continue. My only saving grace was school. Just as school saved me as a child, it saved me as a young adult. The more immersed I became in school the less I could drink and the more head space it would take up. School has always been my safe space.

The first time I really talked about it to a professional was at the counseling center in my college, junior year. I was 23 at the time- 3 years after it happened. I was extremely depressed, suicidal, and my binge eating was at it’s worst. My best friend said ‘I think you need to go talk to someone. I’ve never seen you this bad’. So I did and I told her everything. I told her about my first time, my real first time. After I let it all out she said “Sarah, what you are telling me is rape”. I remember feeling taken aback. My first thought was that ‘that can’t be right. I don’t even remember it. I don’t know if I said no or fought back.’ She went on and said she experienced the same thing with her ex-husband. She broke down the stigma’s that I carried around like they were a part of me. She lifted each one off by saying what I needed to hear- “It wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter if you were drinking. He had no right to do that to you.” I connected with her in a way I never had with my previous therapist. I never went back after that first session. It was too much to process, too much that happened. I wish I could remember her name  or send her a thank you card though because she was my first step in a long healing journey.

The assault happened when I was 20 years old. It has now been 8 years and for the first time in those 8 years I truly feel at peace. I think this is why I couldn’t write about it before. It was too raw and I hadn’t done the appropriate healing to write about it in a way that felt healthy. I didn’t want to write this story and not be able to end it with a sense of hope because I needed the hope when I was in the beginning of my journey. I didn’t need the detailed stories or even what the healing was supposed to look like, I just needed to know it was possible. I get to now say that it is possible. I went through this really awful thing and there is no erasing it. However, I also got to do some pretty amazing things through that. It drove me into my career choice. The older I got the more I wanted to help people that had similar experiences. I now get to sit with people who have experienced similar situations and I am able to be that therapist that is sometimes their first step in healing.

Over and over again I have read from all the brave and honest people who said #metoo and told their stories. I read poems that stuck cords with me. I listened to stories that I played on repeat sometimes. I want to continue the movement of shedding the stigma, breaking down barriers, and keeping the conversation going. To know I wasn’t alone was another part of my healing journey. Most friends I disclosed to shared their own stories. Little by little I let go of that pain. Today I write this with a scar that will never fade, but one that I look at with gentle love rather than pain. It marks the beginning of journey I never expected to be on.

If you are on a healing journey or don’t know how to start a healing journey you can reach out to me for support on my contact page or you can go to RAINN the largest anti-sexual violence organization that has a 24/7 hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673).

A[wo]men

i had a dream last night that you apologized for all the ways you hurt me.

you listened to what I had to say and you heard all the bad you had done.

you owned up to it. you accepted it. you cried.

it was only a dream, yet it was the closest i felt to closure.

we swam in the moonlight.

you kissed me like I deserved to be kissed when i thought i loved you.

it was a goodbye kiss.

goodbye, forever.

-healing

Breaking the Cycle

Writing right now is hard for me. I’ve put it off for so long because I don’t know where to start. I have gotten multiple requests from people for a new blog post. When I hear these requests, a little voice in my head screams “I CAN’T DO IT, OKAY?” This voice sounds off about 50 times a day. Gotta, go brush my teeth: “I CAN’T DO IT, OKAY?” These dishes are really piling up: “I CAN’T DO IT, OKAY?” I’m sure you get the point and the point is that life is hard sometimes.

And you know what? We all go through hard times. Humans, animals, aliens, plants, the atmosphere… We all struggle and we all continue to go about as best we can. I find that quite beautiful. So, today I woke up and I thought about how today was the day that I get back to it. That I take my struggle and I put it out there for the world to connect with and that maybe, just maybe, we can recognize that we’re all in this together. *Cue High School Musical cast*

So, I guess I’ll start from where I last left off, with my anger. My anger was a refreshing journey for me. An emotion that I bottle up so often, was finally sent pouring out of me and for that I am grateful. My anger, since my last post, officially morphed into depression. I traded Megadeth for Adele.  (Yes, I had to google angry band names). Good, faithful depression. Now, that, as you all know, is my comfort zone. The ebb and flow of “I’m not good enough. I deserve this. I will never find love…” I welcomed it with open arms. I hugged the negative thoughts of myself like long lost friends and told them to never leave.

Of course, I didn’t mean this, I just feel safe in an abusive relationship with myself because that is what I know. I went to school for social work and I know the cycle of abuse like the back of my hand, but this was the first time I applied it to myself. I was playing out my own cycle of abuse. 1. Tensions build: Getting out of bed is hard. I am scared. I don’t recognize myself.  2. Incident: I start to criticize myself. Everything I have done lead me to this mistake. How can I be so stupid? I am not good enough. I deserve this. I will never find love. 3: Reconciliation: I write a blog post about how I have been mean and how I have to forgive myself. I say I am sorry for the way I have treated myself. I vow to be better. 4: Calm: The “honeymoon” phase. I am a body-positive queen, who loves who she is. Look out world. *Repeats cycle, over and over and over again*

So, this time I had to do something different. This time I wasn’t going to just let me get away with a promise of a new me, so I can end up in the same position I have found myself in. I started therapy. Like really started therapy. Like no holds barred, let everything out therapy. I tried therapy in the past, but most often I lied out of my teeth. Why did I lie? Because the truth was scary. The first time I went to therapy was because of a boy that took advantage of me. I couldn’t say that though, that was scary. So I said I was sad and of course it didn’t work and I moved on, back through my own cycle. Another time I went to therapy I said that I was binge eating.. which I was, but I didn’t say why. I didn’t say eating was the only time I felt like being alive. Instead I said I just eat too much and I would like not to. Another time I went to therapy, I was like yeah, I’m sad and stuff and I drink too much, but I am in college and this is normal, right? All of these times I went for a total of 3 sessions. 3 sessions until I hit my honeymoon phase and made everyone believe I was good.

This is not how I am doing it this time. This time I’ve already noticed a difference in the way I interact with my therapist. Actually, since I live in a small island in Alaska I am essentially doing Skype therapy. I video conference with her once per week and I am happy to report that I LOVE IT. I get to have therapy from the comfort of my own couch, with my coffee in my hand and a screen between us, which feels way less invasive. I am honestly surprised at how comfortable it feels to do therapy this way. I have already opened up so much, like truthfully opened up, and I’ve noticed immediate changes in my mood. It feels really powerful to tell the truth… the whole truth and nothing but the truth, A[wo]men.

That’s how I am going to break the cycle. That’s how people across the world are breaking the cycle. They are standing up and saying “me too.” Because we are all just humans, trying to find a semblance of peace, and we can’t do that without recognizing our likeness. This is not to say that our differences aren’t powerful, because they are, but it is more to say that together, hand in hand, our fight becomes much easier.

I would like to end this post with honoring of our veterans, who fought side by side. It is their bravery and ability to fight together that shows us we don’t win a war alone; we win a war by standing together.

P.S. the other difference is that I have Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, next” on repeat, which is basically like free therapy post break-up. “I’m so f****in’ grateful for my ex.”

A Fresh Start

Guess who’s back with a brand new blog, she got everybody on the internet going mad? It’s me, you guessed right. For those of you familiar with my writing, I enjoy being dorky and it’s not going away #sorrynotsorry. Oh, I also enjoy all things pop culture and that will be here to stay too. However, I have switched blogging venues and content for two very important reasons:

  1. Tumblr reminds me of high school and I hated high school.
  2. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY WEIGHT/FOOD ANYMORE.

See, here is the thing… while talking about my weight loss journey was helpful at times, it also became obsessive. Go figure, when your diagnosed with an eating disorder obsessive is your middle name. “Hi, I’m Sarah Obsessive Robinson. I constantly talk about, think about, dream about, and cry about food. Will you marry me?” Sounds like a great Tinder bio, don’t you think? (This may be the reason I am single…) I digress. I’ve decided that part of my recovery from binge eating disorder MUST involve making time for things that do not involve what I am eating this week. Instead, I would like to take time each week to focus on other important things to me like my new move to Alaska, why Kesha is my hero, the #Metoo campaign, and what color nail polish I’m really into this week. Okay, maybe not a whole blog on what color nail polish I’m into, but I will say matte top coat is my new favorite thing.

I am currently writing this post on the ferry to Alaska where I will begin my journey as a real life social worker. I FEEL LIKE SUCH AN ADULT. 4 days ago I packed up my car, appropriately named Amelia Rodham Robinson, and hit the road for Washington, where I caught the ferry to Alaska. Let me tell you, I’ve met some pretty cool people along the way. Including, but not limited to, a woman named Sarah Lee, who swears she is a terrible baker, a little boy that hopes he see’s the pigeon he was feeding again because he is going to bring him a dessert, and a guy that moved from California to Washington, quit his job of 10 years on a whim and went fishing in Alaska and now hopes to open a gym. This trip has reminded me that people are spectacular and resilient. Hell, it reminded me that I am also those things. Since I have had so much alone time, I’ve gotten the chance to really get to know myself. Things I like about me, things I don’t, things I regret, things I miss, and things I can’t wait for.

Aside from pondering my life, I also had the chance to scream music at the top of my lungs for an extended period of time. Most played: Hamilton Soundtrack.

‘Look at where you are,

Look at where you started from,

The fact that you’re alive is a miracle.’

These lines swirl inside my head over & over again.

If I can stay alive, that would be enough.

And to me staying alive doesn’t mean my pulse is beating and my lungs are breathing. To me, staying alive is feeling alive. As someone who lives with an ebb and flow of depression, sometimes feeling alive is watching 12 hours of “Are you the one?” on MTV and drinking a bottle of red wine. Sometimes, it means that I travel halfway across the country to follow of my dreams of being a social worker. And of course, there is everything in between. The most glorious part is that I know what I need to be alive.

So, this blog is about me, a 27-year-old single (get at me), white girl, recovering binge-eater, social worker, intersectional feminist, pescatarian, Sagittarian, ocean lover just trying to make it in the world as best as I know how. I know, just what the world needed, right? Probably not, but that doesn’t really matter to me. This blog is my place of worship… this & goodwill. Therefore, I would like to end this first post with a prayer:

Dear Female Yeezy,

Thank you for this life.

Awomen.

PS. I hope to keep this blog much more mixed with content, so any suggestions, requests, or tips are greatly appreciated.

PPS. You can be critical, but also be nice, because I’m super sensitive. As my dad would say (well actually Wayne Dyer because he is #obsessed) “if you have the option of being right or being kind, choose kind.”