Abuse, Guest Posts, healing

Greg, Me, Pain and The Long, Soft, Green Grass

March 27, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88

TRIGGER WARNING This article or section, or pages it links to, contain information about sexual assault and/or rape which may be triggering to survivors.

By Audrey Freudberg.

Greg.

I met him at the outpatient psychiatric program at UCLA.

May, 1996.

He held my hand when I was afraid.

And I was afraid there all the time.

Afraid of the men, especially, because

of the rape.

The rape.

The rape.

The rape.

 

October 1990.

This Minister I was seeing for counseling,

he came to my apartment so I could talk, be comforted, be guided.

Only that afternoon, October 7th, he didn’t let me talk.

He didn’t comfort me and he sure didn’t guide me.

That afternoon he came to my apartment on the pretext of helping me.

He didn’t help me at all.

He helped himself to me, laughing at me the whole time I said No, I don’t want this.

He said, “You want this.  All real women want this.” and ejaculated his slime into my mouth and laughed again because he came in my mouth when I’d told him not to.

He spread himself all over and in my body and broke me into a million pieces of despair and hopelessness.

Hours later he glanced at his watch and said, “Oh shit, I have to go.”  He laughed at me, as he pulled on and zipped up his pants.

I stumbled off the couch and stood, bewildered, lost and no longer me.

He was me and I was gone, sucked up and into his drab olive body.

He laughed again and as he walked out the door he said, “You’re not a nun anymore.”

The screen door slammed behind him and I heard the stomping of his footsteps as he went down the stairs outside my apartment.

I stood, half naked, a few feet from the door, wide open, looking at the screen door.  staring at the screen door.  Soul rotted and stinking of him.

Where was I?

Looking down from the ceiling to where I’d escaped as he violated me in every way on that couch.

Dissociation.

It’s the only thing that kept me from going into the kitchen, getting knife and stabbing it into my chest.

The pain was

unbearable

The shame

was unbearable

The terror

filled my body

as it stood there

and I watched me

walk into the kitchen

to get the Carob Chip cookie I had bought at The Good Earth restaurant earlier that day.

Day?

Night?

It was dark.

The light was on but

it was dark in the kitchen

dark in my heart

dark in my soul.

I ate the cookie

every last little chip and crumb

but still

the pain was

unbearable

the shame was

unbearable

I felt disgusting.

 

Greg held my hand when I had to walk into the group room where the other patients stood chatting and talking or sat quiety on the couches waiting for process group.

 

I wasn’t afraid of Greg.  His soul wasn’t drab and murky olive.  It was shiny, glowing green.  Green like the leaves of the trees in the springtime.

He took my hand in his and as we walked into the room, the shattered pieces of my heart began piecing together, bit by bit.

 

One day we took a picnic lunch to the Botanical Gardens.  I was wearing a mustard yellow shirt with a red, mustard yellow, black and white jumper over it.

A dress.  I was wearing a dress for the first time since

the rape.

The first time because after

the rape

it hadn’t felt safe to

wear dresses.

Greg and I walked hand in hand into the gardens and found a spot on the hill on the west side with long, soft, green grass, green like the leaves in the springtime, green like the kindness of Greg’s soul.

 

We ate our lunch and then

Greg took me onto his lap and wrapped his arms around me.

Safe.

I felt safe with Greg.

Safe for the first time, since

the rape,

since maybe ever.

All I knew was my breath slowed to an easy rhythm, the palpitations in my heart disappeared, the cold in my fingers and toes warmed and I

snuggled in against his beating heart and warm body.

I turned and then we faced each other

and he kissed me

and I kissed him back

for the first time since

the rape

since the Minister bit my lips til they bled.

Greg was gentle, his lips moving softly

against mine.

My heart filled with love

For the first time since before

the rape.

The armor around it melted as I melted

into Greg’s embrace.

My heart opened and filled with love

and I

fell.

I fell in love with Greg

that warm afternoon

in the Botanical Gardens at UCLA.

 

We kissed a long while

and there was excitement

in my belly

for the first time since before

the rape.

Excitement and hope and longing

Greg fed my longings with loving kisses

and I fell

I fell in love again that afternoon

More in love with each moment.

My heart was full and

I didn’t remember the coldness that set in

after

the rape.

The warmth in Greg

warmed me up

and I felt

warm and loved and alive

for the first time since

long before the rape.

The kissing slowed to an end

Greg held me close and I

drank in the tenderness of his arms

and chest.

The slime that I had carried since

the rape

it vanished.

I felt clean

for the first time since

the rape.

 

Greg glanced at his watch

and he quietly said,

It’s time for group.

 

He kissed my

forehead and his arms let go

but the warmth of him

lingered.

 

We picked up the trash from our picnic and

tossed it in a nearby trashcan.

We walked to the top of the grassy hill

to the gravel path and out of the gardens

hand in hand

hearts full of love

for one another.

When we got back to the door to the group room

Greg walked me inside.

We hugged

and sat

and I could feel the shattered hearts of

all the other patients in the room.

I took a breath and slowly

exhaled

and the love in me expanded and spread.

I glanced around at the other patients and

small smiles appeared on their faces.

Greg and I had brought love in the room

and everyone felt it

and the broken pieces in our hearts and minds

healed up

as we sat and talked and shared and cried

the unbearable pain

just a little more bearable

the unbearable shame

just a little more bearable

the terror

subsiding, seeping out of our souls

and returning to

the Universe

where it could no longer hurt us

hurt me.

 

The after effects of the rape

came and went daily

Greg’s time in the program ended

and he went back to Nevada where he lived.

I was sad when he left.

The fullness of my heart a little less without his hand in mine.

But by then,

I was able to walk into the group room by myself

and that first day I did without him

the other patients gathered round

and one by one

they hugged me.

Greg was gone, but the

the love he had given to me,

instilled in me,

brought out in me,

had shifted the energy in all of us.

 

I found a spot on one of the couches to sit

before process group began

and I was one of the patients in the room sitting and chatting quietly, knowing

I would be

all right.

Audrey Freudberg is a writer, cartoonist, storyteller and kindness advocate. She has been writing since the age of six when she wrote her first poem. In sharing her writing now, she hopes to help others feel and, perhaps, be inspired to share their stories.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015. It is LIFE CHANGING!

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body? To get into your words and stories?  Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.  "So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff's Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing." ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body?
To get into your words and stories? Join Jen Pastiloff and best-selling author Lidia Yuknavitch over Labor Day weekend 2015 for their 2nd Writing & The Body Retreat in Ojai, California following their last one, which sold out in 48 hours. You do NOT have to be a writer or a yogi.
“So I’ve finally figured out how to describe Jen Pastiloff’s Writing and the Body yoga retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch. It’s story-letting, like blood-letting but more medically accurate: Bleed out the stories that hold you down, get held in the telling by a roomful of amazing women whose stories gut you, guide you. Move them through your body with poses, music, Jen’s booming voice, Lidia’s literary I’m-not-sorry. Write renewed, truthful. Float-stumble home. Keep writing.” ~ Pema Rocker, attendee of Writing & The Body Feb 2015

Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Lucero.

You Might Also Like

4 Comments

  • Reply Jamie March 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Wow…honest, powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Barbara Potter March 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Reply Mandi March 28, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Incredibly honest and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply Kirsten Wasson April 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Audrey’s piece is spare and gorgeous at the same time. She says so much with so little. Beautiful, careful writing. A pleasure to read.

  • Leave a Reply