LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION
I am a sophomore at Queens College and I have a s***-ton of exams next week. But right now I am just sobbing as I write this. To blow off steam before hunkering down to study, I went to a house party hosted by the Hodges twins — a great, trusty pair of guys I grew up with in the neighborhood. My boyfriend Noah couldn’t make the party. When Noah acted like I shouldn’t go without him, I just ignored him. He’d be happy if I just stayed in the house, got drunk with him every night and played Call of Duty XP. He has no social life outside me and classes when he even bothers to go. Well, a couple of strange jock guys at Hodges party were doing shots of Jager and getting grabby. At one point, two of them picked me up bodily and tried to carry me into a bedroom. The Hodges twins two-pieced each wanna-be rapist and threw them out. I was glad it turned out okay and got a ride home. When I called Noah and told him about it, he had no sympathy: “You went to that party dressed all sexy after dark. You were drinking, weren’t you? You were asking for it!” First of all, I wasn’t even drinking. I don’t heart Noah any more.
I met Earl on a call when I was an EMT working the nightshift on a rainy Monday. He had called an ambulance at the local Murray Hill frat boy BBQ spot when drunken brawling got bloody after the Indianapolis Colts lost without their star Quarterback. Things between Earl and I escalated pretty quickly from dating to exclusive to love to eloping and three babies. Our twin boys Devin and Derek and then our baby girl Dana completed our happy new family. Then his Mama came to live with us after her mastectomy and while her chemo was ongoing which is what families do for each other. Or so I thought. My husband Earl left me last year 2 months before our 3 year anniversary, and we stayed apart for 5 months. The whole time I was with his kids and his Mama alone, and he constantly claimed he didn’t want to be married anymore. Even before we separated he had been trawling the ‘Net for barely-legal porn, lurking in chatrooms with young girls, and even talking with some girls on his disposable cell phone after I went to bed. Now’s he’s confessed he got a Ecuadorean high schooler pregnant out in Bushwick. And now just as suddenly he’s also talking reconciliation. And he’s asking if she can come live with us to raise their baby. I’m like, what?! I been talking to my Mom, his Mom and his sisters about it and they are unanimous in their criticism: “It’s your fault for marrying that down-low man who cheats. You should have known.”
Good masking is just good disguising of the self. It’s a social skill even our best and closest loved ones can perpetrate.
You’ll say, “But I thought you cared about me.” They’ll blink and reply, “Oh, well. Guess you were wrong.”
Part of the cold, harshness of adult life is the lack of sympathy from other people. It’s especially hard to take when you have undergone trauma. But you have to weather it and keep on keeping on.
Thankfully there are writings by other survivors of sexual assault and infidelity. And support groups at colleges, churches, therapy offices and beyond.
Like with this blog, seeking out community of thought to talk, share and disagree is often the best therapy for understanding and moving past your pain. The Feminist community has been tremendous for helping to bring these issues and discussion of them into the light through women’s story circles.
I urge you as a woman to find out more about supporting women undergoing this type of crisis even if it hasn’t personally touched you yet.