More present than the present, more real than the real, I re-live what happened to me, as some of the blackouts, some of the blanks, fill themselves in... I find myself triggered and suddenly transported back to it all in all its technicolour detail. I'm waiting to be fetched downstairs to perform for them, to entertain them, and I'm shaking and rocking myself backwards and forwards, disconnected from my body yet strangely aware of its every sensation. It's like I'm in two places at once - in the sick fear I feel vibrating through every cell of my body, but also at a distance, observing, in a mind empty of anything but fear. The fear is all consuming.
My mind and my body stop working for me. I feel simultaneously numb and out of it but also more solid than usual. My body seems to have become a dead weight, not responding to my commands. It feels strangely heavy, while my mind feels floaty and light. My mind can't process, can't think straight.
It goes beyond tears, beyond movement. I sit and stare blindly: nothing else is possible. When he orders me downstairs, I can't move. Observing this scene in a detached way, I see that it's going to go more badly for me because this he will view as disobedience. Until my mind reattaches itself to my body in that jolting way that it does, I am a helpless observer. In that jolt, I suddenly find myself seeing through my eyes, hearing clearly, no longer a voyeur, back inside my body, a rush of physical sensations both disorientating and nauseating.
Sometimes the drink and drugs are responsible for this. But fear, at the pitch I experience it, has the same effect. I have some idea what's coming.
And now, years later, I find myself feeling some of the things, seeing some of the things, that my mind fought so hard to distance myself from at the time. Disconnected images, like projections on a big screen, appear before my eyes, obliterating my present reality. I am transported back, I find myself quite without warning there again. Staring at the inside of a toilet bowl and the nausea as I vomit before they use me. A man moving a blindfold towards me. A semi darkened room and bright lights and shadowy figures around the room. A particularly disturbing image he's showing me in a porno magazine to teach me how it's done. Staring uncomprehending at this reflection in the mirror, a woman I can't even recognise as me, bruised and bloody, as he holds me up by my hair and shouts and shakes me like a rag doll.
Painful then, painful now, me but not me, present but past. My mind and body battling between their partly chosen, partly unconscious, separation, and the knowledge that we are one, and need to integrate to heal. At war with myself, I struggle to eat, struggle to accept my body as it is, with its scars, its past, its associations. Common sense tells me to lay the blame, the anger, where it belongs - with the men who abused me. But sitting outside myself, as I so often find myself, dissociated, I struggle and hurt, feeling the dual betrayal of a mind and a body which couldn't rescue me, couldn't keep me safe, couldn't stop what happened.
Pain doesn't even begin to describe it.