“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate the crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders.” And Batman. There’s always room for Batman. DUN-DUN!
Blood spatters. Rape kits. Horrific crimes balanced out by the most humane cops I’ve ever not met. (I’ve actually had dreams where I’m talking to Olivia Benson/Mariska Hargitay.) Plots twisted so far beyond reality that “ripped from the headlines” is more a threat than a promise. There’s a lot to recommend Law & Order: SVU, really.
And yet: “Why are you watching that?!” my husband asked me about ten times. “You know that show gives you nightmares.” He’s right. In fact, I’ve told him not to let me watch it. I didn’t answer him: “I already have the nightmares. Now I want the company.” So here I sit watching reruns back to back. It’s why I couldn’t write a (decent) post tonight – not because I have nothing to say but because I have too much – all caught up in how worse it could have been. And wasn’t. But was bad enough. It was, right?
In the past when I went on these seeking-for-sympathy media binges, I had no idea why I was doing it. I scared myself with this insatiable desire to think the unthinkable and to see how others came out of it. Or didn’t. Especially because normally I can’t abide even reading about these types of things much less watching them. But this time, 7 years older, I’m less surprised and not scared at all. I’ve learned that assault victims deal with things in a myriad of different ways and this just happens to be part of my process. And a latter part, at that.
When I decided (or, rather, realized) several weeks ago that I couldn’t fight the memories but had to just ride them out, that meant I had to let myself go through the whole process. I finished the worst of it two weeks ago and so this darkness-seeking I now know is finite. And necessary. And I don’t need to be afraid of it. It means I’m healing. Wanting to hear other people’s stories, even fictionalized, means I’m doing better at listening to my own.
Some things we do and we have no idea why. Some things we do and only we know why.
The question I’m asking myself now is about resiliency. Specifically, am I lacking it because I’m traumatized by something that so many other women have experienced, and worse, and yet do not seem to be as affected by it as I am? Or do I have it in spades because no matter how many times it knocks me over, I keep getting up? I know that I’m trying really really hard to learn from it, to be better, to do better. I know that I want to be resilient. But is that a trait that is born or made?
I’m hoping it’s the latter. I’ve always thought of myself as a brittle person. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like change. (Except in my workouts but even those are just variations on a theme.) I don’t know how to be water. But maybe I’m doing better than I thought. I wish I could ask Detective Benson. She’s always got all the answers – in 60 minutes or less. Maybe that’s why I keep watching.
Do you consider yourself to be a resilient person? Any tips on how to cultivate resiliency? And any thoughts about Rihanna going back to Chris Brown? That’s been on my mind all day but I can’t seem to get further than “When you think you’re broken, sometimes the thing that feels the safest is to return to the one who broke you. Because at least they understand the damage and aren’t afraid of it.” but then I don’t know her from anyone. Is Rihanna resilient or insane? Although maybe this explains it? Some things we do and we have no idea why. Some things we do and only we know why. (Also, some things are not my business. Duly noted.)
*I know this type of post bothers some of you and for that I’m both sympathetic and sorry. So if you are wondering when these posts are going to end, I assure you it won’t be much longer. Perhaps this will be the last one. At least for a long while. This writing, it’s part of my process too.
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