Staff, Opinion Writer
Editor’s Note: Author’s name purposely retracted due to sensitivity of article
Staring at the white metal door, I can still feel the throbbing on the right side of my head. I slowly run my hand down the cold metal, looking for the dent from the impression by my head. I’m confused, where is the dent. Rubbing my head, there is a lump the size of Mt. Saint Helens. I can still smell the blood, the faint iron factory order that creeps out of blood. I turn around to see the emptiness of the apartment. There is nothing; no furniture, no food, no plates, no boxes, nothing. I feel naked standing here in this unfamiliar new place that I must call home.
How did this happen to me? This doesn’t happen to men. I was strong, had a great career, a force that was unstoppable in the world. At times I was mother nature, you mess with me and I will show you my fury. Other times, I was as gentle as a new mother holding her first; careful, loving, and protective. Now, I stand a shell of man asking two questions. Why did this happen to me and how was I going to survive?
If I had to hear someone else tell me to buck up and move on, I was going to take a gun and shove it down their throat. Who are these people trying to tell me how I should feel or what I should do? Friends in the gay community would brush it off, “Girl, that is what men do, they fight, hit each other, and then screw like rabbits.” No girl, that is not what men do. Men do not rev the car as if at the starting line of the Indy 500 only to attempt to run you over. Men do not view a pillow as a fully sized marshmallow to shove down your throat. Men do not give you black eyes or bruises like in an MMA fight. Worst of all, men do not try to take another person’s identity for control.
Straight friends were just as bad, “Do not tell anyone about this. This is a woman’s issue. Do you want people to look down on you? You know, because your different.” Different how? Different as though I am not a man but an alien from another world? I know, it is because I find pleasure with other men. People think gays are weak and womanlike. That was not me, I fought like a lion in a den with only one piece of steak for the entire pride. I could not understand how they could not see my pain. I hurt not only physically but emotionally. I reached out to my friends for support, I knew I was falling apart, all I got was hushed whispers similar to the 90’s when we would talk about someone who contracted “HIV”.
I was alone, no help, and emotionally rock bottom. Only a scarceness of friends were brave enough to come out of the shadows for me. If I wanted to survive, I was going to have to figure this one out on my own. It was not something that happened over night, it took about a grueling decade. The first step of healing happened one night in the apartment. My smooth fox terrier, Rhea, climbed up into my arms while I sobbed on the floor. Rhea placed her head on my shoulder, like a child gives their mother a hug, and took a deep breath in only to let it all out. It was right then I knew I had to get up and figure this out. Rhea had accepted some of the pain and anguish I was feeling.
If I had not picked myself off the floor and started the healing process, surviving this horrific ordeal could have ended badly. Just when I was at my lowest point, a sixteen-pound dog, climbed into my arms and made me feel I was not alone. Even when you think you it is over, it is never over. There is always someone or something providing you strength to move forward.