Ok, so I thought tonight I might try and write a bit more about what happened to me in that awful year. My other big secret will probably be revealed, if I can talk about it without wanting to cut. I’ve done very well since the awful A&E incident and I don’t want to relapse and kill the butterfly my beautiful, amazing sis drew me. That girl is a legend.
So… Where was I…
I was excited at the prospect of that summer- a long one, with lots of opportunity to see old friends, have my boyfriend round, spend time with my sister and family…
However, I wasn’t thinking about how it went when I was home at the same time as him. I spent a lot of time at his, and I went on holiday with him… it was a good one, as far as our relationship went. He had a lot of time by himself with me to just do as he liked, and I enjoyed being the centre of his attention and not simultaneously torn apart by guilt.
This, however, so was not about to last. I moved back into my flat and it all started again.
The girl I was sharing with had her own issues. I think she may have been a secret bulimic. She ate more than I’ve ever thought possible in one sitting, and she started to do very odd things like trying to lock me out, waking me up ridiculously early in the morning when she left for ‘The Gym’… she’d never come back looking as if she’d worked out, though. On top of that, she had been my boyfriend’s friend and she wasn’t the world’s nicest person, so when they fell out, I was treated with the same spite, and a whole lot of jealousy.
That was so not the worst part.
I tried applying for auditions everywhere. I literally sent my CV off to over sixty different companies, and barely any even bothered to reply, to say nothing of actually offering me an audition. The auditions I went on were fun, and I saw a lot of the people I’d already danced with at several of them.
The boyfriend hated me going for auditions. He hated me leaving the country. He hated the expense. He hated the fact that I was ‘still tied to my mother’s purse strings’, and that she ‘held my flat over my head’ as a warning to do well. Moreover, he was always telling me that I couldn’t keep doing this and not getting through. He said he was more than willing to let me go, but I had an earful of guilt-tripping each time I came home.
The worst time was in February. I went to Denmark- a place I’ve always wanted to go, a place that houses (to my mind) some of the most beautiful dancing I’ve ever seen, and a rich historical culture that still thrills me. I was really really excited- I wrapped up super warm, because it was February and icy cold, and off I went.
He barely spoke to me all the time I was there. I sent texts, I tried to get him on facebook, I even rang… I had no answer when I arrived, and several of my texts went completely unanswered. The eggshell feeling was back.
I visited a couple of friends that evening, ones I hadn’t seen since leaving dance school, and he rang whilst I was there. I talked for a while to him, and then I didn’t want to be rude, so I asked if it was ok for me to hang up. He said he didn’t mind.
Idiot, girl. Idiot.
Dancing-wise, the trip was a huge, fantastic success. I was so so thrilled to be taking company class with my favourite ballet company, and I was glowing with happiness- I had a boyfriend who loved me, my dancing was going well…
Only, I got worried when i sent a massive long Valentine’s Day text and never got a reply.
I decided to head for the airport for two reasons: one, because I was so so cold, and two, because I hadn’t heard a word from him.
I rang, and was greeted with no response. I tried calling again, then texted asking if he was all right.
I had a barrage of stomach-churning hate back.
“You should have been more ready to talk, you always get so damn selfish when you’re abroad, you have this stupid dancer-brain on that gets you all concerned with how you look and what you wear, you can’t think of me for a minute when you’re like that, you permanently think about yourself with dancer-brain on, I hate how selfish and inconsiderate you are when you get like this, how do you think I felt when you blew me off last night on the phone…”
I’m not writing any more of that.
I had a nervous breakdown in the airport, after a massive long phonecall where I cried, apologised a million and one times, and he shouted at me, then hung up. I bit my nails to the quick, ate and drank nothing, and I was so distressed I couldn’t remember the plane home. I remember ringing him at the airport on the other side and telling him I couldn’t stand to see him so upset, and I was going to quit dancing, and I’d never really wanted it in the first place. I told him I was a selfish bitch who hated herself, and I wished I’d never left England.
Of course, exactly what he wanted.
So I went home and locked myself in. He was still away back home visiting relatives, and I was on my own in London. Depressed, at rock bottom again, and with no other options than trying to get a proper job.
I was too frightened to leave the house. I slept all the time and cried even more, faking happiness on the phone when my parents called and then crying when they were gone. I got my job, and I worked all the hours god sent, and I was exhausted.
Ballet class went by the wayside. I just worked, saw him, and slept. He used to come back after uni to my flat, where we’d cook, he’d get me to help with his essay, and we’d usually sleep really late at night.
That was when the lines got blurred.
I was his little wifey. I kept house, money-wise. I worked so so hard, and I was a prisoner in my flat.
I felt sorry for the couple next door- he’d row with her, and she’d lose it at him, and they’d fight really frighteningly. I was convinced I’d never have to deal with that from him.
The reality was that, of course, I was dealing with the same shit on a more subtle level.
That’s when IT happened.
I used to escape from being exhausted, and then him initiating sex and me going on with it, by visiting a lush rainforest in my head. That wasn’t too bad, I used to think. That was compromise between couples, and I started faking it so that he wouldn’t get angry and call me selfish.
Two things, however, have scarred me.
He had a joke that he was some ‘big horrible scary man’ and he was trying to rape me. I used to find it funny when he was really joking, and when he was sticking his tongue in my ear to gross me out. That was a joke. What started to happen was that it changed, subtly, to a lead in to sex.
The first couple of times it was still kind of a joke, and we laughed about it. The time that I broke in two so I didn’t have to deal with it was the time where he decided to carry on despite the fact that I wasn’t up for sex, I was starting to feel really uncomfortable with it, and the fact that he kept saying that word. And then it actually hurt, and I was lying there, silent, pretending I wasn’t there, and it just happened despite me saying that I was in pain, despite me saying he had too firm a grip on my arm, despite me saying I wasn’t comfortable with it…
I just lay there afterwards, blank. Void. He went off to the loo, and I just lay there, violated. I put my clothes back on, and I went off and did something like ask him if he wanted a brew. I can remember feeling relieved it was done, that time, and I never really equated it to rape. To me, that was more compromise. There had to be some times where he didn’t want it too.
Fucking lies, that. I know for a fact when I initiated sex he humiliated me.
The second thing was that this event made me remember the time when I was 18, and we were messing around, and he started to humiliate me again. I was crying so hard. I was choking, my throat was sore, and he only noticed when I tried to gasp for air but came up with a sob instead.
I shoved those awful, sordid things to the back of my mind, and I did a good job because they stayed put til now.
The rest of the year was hell. Arguments, a slap to the face over some trivial thing, degradation, separation from my parents… and then I lost my flat because the landlady decided to sell it and conveniently forgot I had a contract that informed her to tell me she had sold it. I packed up and left London, and he waved goodbye with a twisted smile on his face, as if he knew what was coming next.
I slotted back in at home pretty well. I started taking private dancing lessons for keen children, I taught, I danced, I started going to more classes… gone were the worries about ‘do I eat or do I dance?’ It was all gone.
Or was it? Don’t be daft.
I was in the middle of telling him how well it was all going, on the phone a while after I’d left. It was June, he was coming home soon, life was great… and then he exploded.
It was my fault I was not getting work as a dancer. I wasn’t actually that good. I wasn’t really trying to get a dance job. I was getting sucked into my manipulative, controlling family, and the purse strings were tighter than ever: a noose around my neck. He was sick of my promising to change and then not doing so. We weren’t going to talk until I came to see him in a week, and then we were going to be talking as friends, and we were going to try and sort this mess out.
I was in meltdown. I was scooped hollow and raw once again. I braved through the week, dashed to London, and we talked.
I had an audition that week, so that was the reason I was coming. I went to see him, and it was horrible: he so angry and cold, I so willing to please. I asked him outright whether we were breaking up, and he agreed.
I was destroyed. I was torn in two. I didn’t get the job, we spent that last four days as a couple… and then I left and I was plunged into the depression that had been lurking there all year. I was permanently upset, and all that kept me from self-harm was the prospect of getting him back.
This is difficult to write, so far, but the other secret still kills me like the first does.
I must have skipped a contraceptive pill, or they just weren’t working well, because I was so choked up and upset one evening, that through my tears, I suddenly noticed that I was in a huge amount of pain. I’d been ignoring it for a couple of hours, but now it was building over my hipbones and lower back. I just made it to the bathroom when a hot gush of blood stained my legs. It was agony. The waves of pain went on and on, and I bit into my hand to stop myself from crying out. I literally heard my bones crunch against my teeth.
I only realised what it was that had happened to me a week or so later, when it hadn’t quite gone and there were far more clots than usual.
I was so broken by it. He hadn’t just left one person. He’d left two.
Wherever you are, sweetheart, I miss you, and I wish I had you in my arms right now. I am so so sorry I didn’t see you. I wish I had.
I’m sorry. Two traumatic things in one post is a little too much right now. Write more later.