Tuesday. More long hours writing the grant proposal. I realize the deadline is getting close and the director is still changing things. It feels stressful. The finance manager is getting worried as well.
I take a break to write to the girl. She says she wants to talk about what a liar she is. She talks about taking painful things that really happened and trying to turn them into stories that were innocuous and telling them to her friends. She says what happened to her wasn’t really rape, and she still doesn’t want to use that word. I tell her that I hear a lot of judgment in the way she talks about herself. She says that is fake empathy and tells me not to say anything, just to listen.
I am an idiot. I have no sense of myself. I don’t know what my values are. I flip around my ideas from one day to the next. I want something–some attention, some place to fit in, but I have no sense of what that might look like, so I just make myself up in the moment. I pretend so much I don’t know who I really am. I say or write things that aren’t true. I let people do whatever and go along with it. I let Caleb keep going–
You said no, I tell her.
I did say no, true, and I tried to keep him from taking my clothes off. But I didn’t fight him. I didn’t make a lot of noise. In the end I stayed and he kept going. And don’t forget I had an orgasm so BE HONEST that’s not much of a rape now, is it? Is it? NO. So you have been lying too. And probably about a lot of other stuff. Like about Dad. I do not believe he molested us. That is just crap.
Don’t say anything. I said just listen! Just realize that I lie and you lie so when we talk about trust, there isn’t much there, is there?
You’re really angry, I tell her, not knowing what else to say.
Shut up. Shut up shut up shut up! I don’t like what you are doing. I don’t want to do this therapy work. It is stupid. It is more pretending. Just be HONEST. And then forget about it.
Go away. Just go away.
I’ll go away for now. But I’ll be back later. I see how frustrated you are, how angry and unhappy too, I think. When I come back, we can go in a different direction…
Okay, I tell her. I still love you.
*** * ***
Well, that went brilliantly. I don’t think that’s the way it was supposed to go. I text E. that afternoon.
The teen told me to shut up and go away.
She is rattled.
Let her know it’s okay for her to be mad, but that you’re not going to give up on building the possibility of a relationship with her–or something along that line.
Message, “I care about you even when you don’t want to connect with me.”
Am I still connected to you? There’s so much crap that gets in the way of connection.
I’m right here. The above message was a suggestion for a message to the 14-year-old, right?
Yep. Am I being confusing? I feel confused, so that would make sense.
I think I am talking about two different things.
1. The teen started writing about herself and how she sees herself as bad and a liar.
Then she got mad and cut off the connection. I felt she disappeared or something.
2. I am missing something from our conversation yesterday.
That’s where I am checking on our connection.
Our connection is solid!
Sometimes I need that reassurance.
Feel free to keep asking.
My book group meets Tuesday evening. I feel reluctant to go, but I do, and it’s a lovely couple of hours. I had planned ahead of time to stay only briefly so I could come home and write more on the proposal. But I’m seduced by the conversation about the book and Iceland and the primaries and the wine, and I stay late.
As I get ready for bed, I start to read the Brene Brown book E. lent me the day before. It’s quick and easy to read. But her example of shame is about an unsuccessful presentation to parents at a school. She reaches out and talks to her sister about it and finds comfort. Shame can’t last when it’s shared with someone you are connected to. I’m rolling my eyes a bit. I think the shame I have will need something more than a phone call to my sister. In fact, I love my sisters, both of them, but I can’t begin to imagine sharing any of this with them.