Last night I saw the movie The Perks of Being A Wallflower with my good friend Joe. I had read the book countless times and was excited to finally see the movie. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie I would definitely recommend it. While it touches on some particular hard situations I think it tells a great story but definitely bring some tissues, you'll certainly want them.
I wasn't expecting the movie to hit me as hard as it did though and I left the movie feeling incredibly anxious, nervous and like I was in this weird haze. I wasn't my usually talkative self, in fact I had nothing to say. Joe and I walked around the mall for a bit and Joe tried to keep up a conversation with me but I couldn't focus. We walked, he talked and I nodded along with a few "oh yeahs" and "yups" added in for good measure. My mind raced with thoughts and I was flooded with this wave of vivid flashbacks that I tried so hard to bury down. I can't tell you what we talked about last night as we walked the corridors of the mall but I could tell you the things that raced through my brain. I can tell you about the images and experience I've worked so hard to bury down.
We eventually headed back to my parents so that Joe could be reunited with his car and so we could part ways and both head home. As I drove Joe talked and I tried so hard to listen but I couldn't shake the feeling I had. Joe knew something was wrong. I was antsy and I was nervous. As I pulled onto my parents street Joe requested that we just keep driving, I obliged and turned the car around and headed back out. My mind raced and I tried so hard to focus on the words coming out of Joe's mouth. I still can't tell you what we talked out, I just have no idea. We stopped at a red light and I remember closing my eyes and taking a deep breath in, trying to snap out of whatever was happening. But as soon as I closed my eyes I was flooded with vivid images of that night I was trying so hard to keep out of my mind.
Joe asked if I wanted to talk about whatever it was that was bothering me because clearly there was something wrong. I quickly mentioned that it was no big deal. I had never told anyone about it before and I didn't think that I wanted to talk about it now. We ended up walking laps around Walmart until 10 o'clock that night. Joe talked, we walked, and my mind raced. Joe bought two packages of these wafer creme cookies that my grandfather used to buy and when we got to the car he opened a pack. I was distracted from my thoughts as tried so hard to focus on something else. I reminisced about the memories that these cookies brought up and eventually we made it back to my parents. We solidified our plans for next week and as he hugged me tightly he told me that he was always around to talk.
We parted way, I said goodbye to my parents and headed home. I drove in this feeling of a haze and every time my mind started swirling with memories from that night I just belted Taylor Swift even louder. I tried so hard to push the memories back down but it wasn't working.
I walked into my apartment and stood there taking a few deep breathes. I could see my breath and I realized I had turned my heat off that morning. I walked upstairs and turned on the electric blanket in my bed to warm it up and eventually made my way in after I brushed my teeth. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror. I blamed myself for what had happened that night over two years .
I got in bed and texted Joe a quick thanks for dinner. He asked how I was and if I wanted to talk. Eventually I sat up in my bed, called Joe while fighting back tears and I told him everything. This time I talked and he listened. I closed my eyes and once again relived that night like I had so many times before. I told him how I blame myself, how when I said no and he didn't listen that I should have left. I shouldn't have lingered around, it only made things worse. I should have left. I've always blamed myself for what happened, I should have left as soon as things got weird and I was uncomfortable. It's been over two years and I still wonder why I didn't leave sooner. Thankfully I was able to get myself out of the situation before things got really bad, but I should have never had those bruises. I should have left before that happened before he tried to hold me down. I should have left sooner. I remember the feeling as I ran out of his house shaking so much I could barley open the car door. I remember driving back to my dorm that night after I fought so hard to get him off of me. I drove back in a haze. I felt numb. I remember sitting in the living room that evening while my roommates talked. I just sat there, I never told anyone. I remember getting out of the shower the following day and looking in the mirror. His hand prints were bruised on my thighs as a reminder of what had happened. They stayed there for weeks until they eventually vanished from sight. Truth is, they've never vanished from my memory. I can close my eyes and still seem them there, I can see myself looking in the mirror in disbelief of what had happened.
He tried to contact me later that night, and has tried to contact me every few months. I've blocked his number but he still finds a way to creep back in. I remember walking into Wegmans from a quick snack after a Tysabri infusion a few months ago and I saw him. My heart raced, he saw me, I turned around and quickly walked to my car. I remember sitting in my car reliving it all over again.
After talking with Joe I eventually able to calm down enough to get some sleep. I went to bed feeling less anxious and nervous than I had before that call and for that I was thankful. I woke up this morning for the feeling oddly lighter. Maybe this was the first step to really moving past it, I don't know, but I'm thankful I had someone there who was willing to listen last night. Thankful that Joe didn't prod for more details or ask me endless questions, he just let me talk and say what I've held in for years.
It feels good to finally get this out of my head. I'm hoping I'll be able to finally stop blaming myself for what happened.
There's a line from the movie last night that resonated with me so much, "We accept the love we think we deserve." I'm finally realizing that I deserve a whole heck of alot more. I contacted a Etsy jewelry designer today to get this stamped onto a necklace and soon I will wear it as a constant reminder of not only that message but as the night I finally decided to start moving on and working through what happened.