You’ve probably seen it. The story that showed up on Jezebel, (and mentioned our little blog) and was mentioned on Salon. It may blow up into a Media Thing, it may get buried behind other Media Things in a day or so.
I started to email and ask Jill, “Should one of us writers do a post on this particularly?”
Meaning, I wanted her to do it, or one of the other writers. Or maybe we could just link this awesome, very thorough piece by Navelgazing Midwife also mentioned on Jezebel and be done with it.
Because here’s what I thought: I can’t do this piece, I can’t write about it from my personal experience anymore. I just can’t, right now. I can point you to the story I don’t often go re-read, written days after my son’s birth, though it’s a confused story, as I was a confused and hurting person. I’ve linked it before; it seems redundant to keep doing so, but I’m superstitious about editing that story, about retelling it a different way.
It is what it is.
And hell, lots of women have worse stories than mine when it comes to their experiences. Should they qualify as stories of rape or assault? Does mine? Am I being whiny, as this author thinks?
I don’t know. Does it matter?
I’m a tough person in many ways; I’ve lost both parents, always struggled for what I wanted, made hard choices, lived alone, moved to new cities without a job or friends and succeeded there. Taken risks. Worked hard. Don’t really think of myself as a complainer.
But it’s been five years, and I still grieve. Not every day, not all the time. Not because I desired perfection or painlessness or prettiness during my son’s birth. But because when I went in to the hospital, I was full of joy and confidence. When I came out, I was broken and hurt, mentally and physically. I was scared of doctors and flinched when touched by them. I did not want to touch my own body. I sometimes did not want to be alive.
What does that make me?
Would anyone but an assault victim make this image?
I don’t know that either. But when I found that image (at a now-defunct Web site, done by an illustrator who has asked not to have her real name linked with the pieces due to the harassment she got about them), I identified with it immediately.
So..I guess I did write a piece. It’s not very polished, because this is not a topic which I can talk about from a distance, with good prose and interesting anecdotes.
My story is what it is.
Whatever we call it.