open letter

I Don’t Sleep, I Dream: An Open Letter To My Rapist

“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again.” That’s a line from a Frank O’Hara poem. I first heard it recited by Don Draper in an episode of Mad Men. Draper was a character haunted by his past. Both that character and this bit of poetry resonated with me. But, thankfully, I no longer identify with that specific line. I’m in a better place.

Sure, I did go off the rails for a while. Fortunately, I have a friend who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s my redheaded Comfort Eagle and I would take a bullet for her. A friend who said “I have the time” when I said “It’s a long story.” She made me realize that I have a message to offer rather than a past to be ashamed of. I can tell her anything, without sparing the details. Of course, the very first person I felt that way toward was you.

I wonder if you have anyone in your life willing to take a bullet for you. Perhaps. It’s not like the people in your circle know the things you’ve done. They can’t. That’s where I win. You’ll never get to experience the joy of letting someone know the real you.

There was a rage that consumed me for quite a while. I wanted to kill you. I wanted to smear your blood on my face like war paint. But taking your life would have only given you power over me once again.

Power is an interesting topic. Think about the lengths you went to just to feel a moment of power. How small you must have felt in your day to day life if you were willing to indulge such extremes. Pathetic. And I thought you were cool. Remember how we bonded over Thomas Harris’ novels? You made me feel so goddamn intelligent. Until the day you made me feel duped.

“If I didn’t break you, someone or something else would.”

That’s what you told me when you had me drugged, on the floor, unable to move. You said it like you were doing me a favor. And then you took my virginity.

Psychiatrist of the Year.

I used to get hammered before sex so I wouldn’t see your face when I came.

Fuck you.

Years of PTSD and denial ensued. But I’m still here. Do you know how many suicide attempts I survived? That’s right. Attempts. Plural. I survived because it seems I have a purpose here. I have an artist’s soul. Long after you are gone, nothing more than a corpse beneath a vandalized grave, I will still be here. Creating. Making a difference.

Whatever someone did to you, I guess you weren’t strong enough to handle it. Well, I am. You didn’t break me. Not permanently at least. I picked up the pieces. The glue has solidified. I know who I am now. Do you?



To hear a speech I gave at UNCC on PTSD, click here.

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