I was raped when I was 22 years old. Just home from college, living with my parents, stymied about my future. I was walking through the neighborhood on the street next to the railroad tracks. I had my headphones on, listening to Soul ll Soul, Keep on Movin. Time to lose the freshman 15. A sunny, hot July day. Not a soul in sight. A man came up behind me and put a plastic bag over my head. I had just walked under the highway overpass. We struggled across the road and, talk about things going downhill from there, fell into a drop on the side of the road. Deep brush hid it from the road. It was where the drainage tunnel ran under that street and the two roads on the other side of the railroad tracks.
I remember four things very clearly. One, that I couldn't believe this was how it was going to end. So much life to live and it's over, like this? In a drop on the side of the road? I didn't see angels. I didn't feel the presence of the spirit, any spirit. No fear anymore, just blinding carnal anger that it would end like this. I remember clearly the musty smell of damp earth; damp smells bothered me for many years after. I remember my ear bleeding from the impact of my ear and headphones hitting the ground and, strangely, the rapist expressing concern. Asking if it hurt. But my clearest memory is after the rape. Right after. He told me to crawl through the drainage tunnel and not to look back. He wouldn't kill me if I didn't look back. I didn't look back. The light at the end of the tunnel was, blessedly, just that.
The police caught the man who raped me. They told me that when he was arrested he looked like shit, bruises and scratches and scrapes. They told me that he looked worse than me. I think they were just being kind, but it made me smile. Take that! His lawyer (damn lawyers!) said it was consensual, then quickly dropped that claim. He pleaded guilty. He was 18 years old and ended up spending the maximum in prison for 1st degree rape, 15 years. Registered sex offender for life. I fought my demons and my anger for a couple of years after the rape, but got over it with help. And time. I rarely think about it anymore. Truly. Even on the anniversary, July 2. Today.
I've been thinking about it, please not for sympathy, but in the context of Movin On. Life moving on, people moving on, even though you're not ready to or you just can't, for whatever reason. My low point after the rape was after the trial, after the "My God, you're so strong's", after the "what can I/we do to make it better, safer, easier, more comfortable's for you." At the point when the world goes about its business, as it does, as it must, but you haven't. How can everyone go on living, happily living, when my world is falling apart and the anger is making me toxic, I thought? Ok, fine. Then stop the world and let me off. Just for a little while.
What does this have to do with infertility? Absolutely nothing. Everything. Infertility, like any major life event, has the power to knock you to the ground, fixate you, obsess you, tie you in knots, cause you to fling open your arms and scream to the world "Are you kidding me, why ME?" Indeed, I've found myself perilously close at times to doing just that and then collapsing on the floor in a self-induced puddle of pity, soft underbelly exposed to the world. Life can really, really be a bitch.
At 22 I learned that shitty things can and do happen to good people. Lesson: Life's not fair by any means. I was older when I learned that you can deal with anything, violence, sadness, divorce, joy, disappointment, uncertainty, anything...given time and acceptance. Sometimes you deal by letting the world spin for a while without you until you're ready to get back on gracefully. Othertimes you just fight it out. Take that world! But the key, I think, is Movin On. Keep on Movin.
One more cycle and I'll take the outcome, whatever it is. For sure, I won't be immune from sadness or disappointment or joy, whatever the case may be. But I am going to keep Movin On.