assaultive memory

Trigger warnings for sexual assault, trauma.

my mind is stuck on one track, repeat, chanting, monotone. assault, assault, assault, it says. it's not like flashbacks. it's like the event has moved itself in to the front of my brain, where it sits, interrupting every thought like it owns all this space. it is exhausting to navigate around it. I try to make small talk. assault, it reminds me.

I remembered the event in January. I'd buried it for several years. one night, completely uninvited, it invaded my body. I was immobile in bed while I relived it in real-time. every sensation had been in my skin, recorded precisely. I've never experienced anything like that before or since. I immediately retold the event to my roommate, shaking on her bed. I had a long bath to try to calm myself while a friend kept talking to me on facebook until the morning.

since then, bits of memory have peeled back into my conscious brain. the name of the attacker. things that were said to me afterwards that made me keep quiet - I was told off for "ruining the night" by people in school. a few weeks ago, I found out that a friend and probably the most prominent person in The Oxford Student Left is a rapist. since then, the memories have been creeping out of flashbacks and into my normal mind, where my normal thoughts sit. they intermingle. the worlds that previously were kept so separate are beginning to fold into each other.

I want to talk about it. but I'm scared. the more I think about it, the more space it seems to take up. I'm scared of remembering my attacker's face. I know it's there; I can feel it, clouded by protective forgetting. but there. I know it will come out eventually.

I'm dissociating a lot of the time. it's hard to keep my mind in one place. I can't remember the day, or season, or where I am. I keep losing things, which is unlike me. I keep forgetting where I am or what I was doing just ten minutes ago. it's as if as this memory forces itself back into remembrance, the rest gets pushed away. I'm worried that it will take up my whole head. I'm working towards being able to retell the event in my own words, so I can put it back in the linear chain of memories. so I can structure my mind in a way that makes sense, in a way that allows me to function.

this is all I can say for now. I want to talk about how our spaces can become toxic, how narcissistic and entitled people find it easy to rise to the top, how no liberation space can ever be safe if it's hierarchical. I want to talk about rape apologism and how reacting in an inappropriate way to disclosures of sexual violence can irreparably damage trust in friendships. but trauma destroys energy; it destroys memory; it destroys language. there are some conversations I can't have just yet.