Understanding Ohio

I left session yesterday and set off for a long run. The session was weighing heavily on my head and I could not settle. Instead of just finding my breath and rhythm, I was looking around. In the bushes, behind me, anything but the trail. I never found my groove. I had to claw and fight for every last mile. It was miserable. I realized how far outside my norm I was treading. It wasn’t just the running, it was where my head was at. I take for granted how I had trained my body to relax into the work. To lose the world and only run in a blank mindful state. Running in a hypervigilant state disrupts everything. I’m not saying you need to concentrate hard to run, but you have to focus. How much energy is put into each stride, how fast you are going all need the brain to work. Yesterday none of that was working. My run was irregular, and uneven. That takes more energy as it is less efficient. Changing your stride does nothing to help. So I just kept struggling to find that click. Hints of it came thru, but it never stayed. My long run this week was supposed to be 15 miles. That wasn’t going to happen. I could have run that far, but as I got out around mile 6 there were some abandoned buildings and I just said fuck it and turned back, I didn’t think anymore anxiety was going to help my effort. The run back was rough, and my head just would not let go. I actually found myself counting off each 1/2 mile. trying anything to keep myself running. 12.68 miles felt like an eternity.

The true issue was not the distance. It was not my ability to train that day. I can blame the fatigue still lingering from racing the half marathon distance, but that isn’t really it. I’m distracted. Even more so, I was fearful yesterday. It didn’t register as such. Though when I go back and make notes for the training log it becomes clear. I know that the rape case kicked up some dust and that I need to let it settle again. I had not though about why I was reacting to this case. In session we talked thru some of it and it became clear there were some parallels. I identified with this kid. I could not imagine what it might be like now. The day after I was date raped in high school word had traveled far and wide (without the aid of texts and video). I didn’t know it. I came in late, as was often the case when I was hung over. I walked into a school wide student assembly in our large gym. I couldn’t quite understand the looks on my friend’s faces, or the steady hushed whispers of everyone as I walked past. The laughter, and the snickering. row after row after row. I started to understand that I was the brunt of the joke. A cold sweat laced with alcohol was trickling down my back. I made it about as far as halfway before I turned and fled. That got them all laughing. I was running for the bathroom. I sat on the cold tile floor staring blindly at the contents of my stomach. Barely aware of the long sticky string of drool still clinging to the worn old black toilet seat. I could tell you the temperature, the textures and the smells. I was so acutely aware of everything. It is seared into my memory. It was the day I learned what it felt like to be publicly humiliated and shamed. It was worse than any abuse I have ever experienced. Far worse. This was insidious and venomous. It worked its way thru the student body before I ever saw it coming. I was labeled a slut, along with a lot of other ugly words. He was held up on a pedestal. The jock football player who had gone on a conquest and come back triumphant. The victor, and the one they all looked to. But he wasn’t done. He had to talk about it. He had to tell them how awful I was in bed. Well gee it is hard to perform when you are handcuffed and are begging the person please don’t do it. But those were the details he couldn’t share publicly. For then he would be a rapist. Only he and I knew what went on behind that closed door. As the days went on the furor died down. Strangely one of the main reasons was my brother (yes the rapist. the one that pinned me beneath him not 3 years before). He put the fear of god in this kid. I never saw bruises, so I don’t think he beat the shit out of him. He did something because the chatter stopped. Cold. I was blessed in some weird sick way. I had someone to look out for me. That day I sat beside my puke and cried I thought my life was over. I didn’t care. I would rather have died than walked back out that bathroom door. I stayed there. Frozen in place on the tile. My mind rewound that night and it replayed it over and over again. The bite of the steel handcuffs on my wrist as I struggled against them. The smell of his desire. The hush of the room when I stilled against the coming pain. It lasted but a moment before his breath and the swish of the cotton sheets became a dull roar in my ears. It was the loudest quiet I ever heard. Even now if I close my eyes I can hear it. I can feel his fingers yank and pull before they find their way into me. so rough and mean. yeah, even fingers can feel mean when used as weapons. I can feel my eyes snap shut in an attempt to block it all. To think the simple act of closing ones eyes might protect them. There is no reason in those moments. There is only pain and horror. This case came close to home. It pounded on a door long since closed and pushed away. I could not help but respond to the calling. They hurt that girl, but beyond that they humiliated her. Just as I was publicly shamed and humiliated. I could tell you what she is going thru. I walked that path. I can imagine her, wounded and small thinking death is far better than here. It only gets worse to push the thoughts and images away. I let them filter in and skitter away. Trying not to look to hard, or examine each one. To write seems to help. Here will be my place to dump them, cold and hard in fits and starts. If it doesn’t make sense it is because there is no sense to them. Only their existence and the need to put them somewhere.


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