Friday, May 9, 2014

Behind the Scenes

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, in case you don't know it already. Sometimes... sometimes things happen and you don't know it... or didn't know it at the time. I mean BIG things, game changing things... life lessons.

Things are always so much harder in the movies or TV. Wait... that's not true, exactly. The bad things are SOOO HARD to get through, and the accomplishments are as easy as saying you're going to make that (whatever your that is) happen.
OK, well that last bit I kind of agree with... but it's still never quite as easy.

Sometimes I forget that I'm going through something tough because my perception of just how difficult it is is skewed by Hollywood. That's actually kind of handy, really. Perhaps it's a coping mechanism; I'm not quite sure.

When I was 9, there was a rash of "special episodes" (as they called them) dealing with child sexual abuse/molestation on most prime time TV shows, with a few after school specials and a movie-of-the-week thrown in for good measure. The kids in these things were always pretty traumatized, sometimes shutting down completely without any medical reason as to why. It would be horrible if this happened to you, it would be a living nightmare... or at least that's how I felt it was portrayed. Those poor kids! How terrible for them!

One day, while watching an after school special that my mom had made us watch with her for some odd reason, it dawned on me. Could it be? I mean... I remembered playing hide-and-seek in my mom's best friend's house... and her eldest son getting stuck in the closet with me (I've always assumed he didn't know that I was in there)... and then his own little version of hide-and-seek. I remember not liking it. I remember telling his sister who made sure that she would keep me preoccupied and locked in her room when our parents went out for the rest of our stay. I remember going with her to tell her mom, who said she'd speak to him. Despite the precautions, I would still end up alone in a room with him from time to time... and I always tried my best to get away.

I couldn't reconcile what I saw on TV with what had happened to me. I mean... sure I didn't like what happened, and it was weird, yet vaguely similar to what was portrayed on the show. However, I wasn't traumatized, didn't have behavioral issues, nor did I shut down. Also, whatever really happened in the show's scenario when the camera pulled away, the door closed/lights went out, or they cut to a commercial break, couldn't have been what I went through because that was likely 10 times worse! That's how I thought about it, anyway. So... how was this the same?

There you have it, though. I put the pieces together, and, even if the numbers seemed off, the answer was correct. It wasn't easy to handle, but it was easier to get through than what I had seen via Hollywood.

This is kind of like my situation with an alcoholic boyfriend.

If I gave you his Greatest Hits or told you about the worst periods of time, you'd likely wonder how I live with that. However, since his accident, it's not really like that. In fact, most days he doesn't drink, and the days when he does have been minimal. A few times, there's been a small, heated argument that I could squash by refusing to let it escalate and remembering that it's not really him at that moment.

I suppose because of this - because of the lack of Hollywood production - the fact that I have to go to Al Anon doesn't seem real. What I tell you doesn't seem real. So that's why I feel I have to do it. I can't forget that this is a real situation and I need to deal with it and work through it, like I had to deal with and work through what happened with my mom's best friend's son.

This is really happening, no matter how mild it seems in comparison to the Hollywood version, no matter how quiet it is behind the scenes.


Unknown said...

Yeah, the abuse is never that cut and dried. I became wary but never did I shut down. In RL they teach us to suck it up and move on.

Ceci Virtue said...

I don't know that it's so much about suck it up and move on anymore. I think we've gone to another extreme, a lot of it having to do with so much that people started sharing at that time. Now, to me, it seems like it's about all the emotion and sometimes even making it traumatic... Or maybe that's still my impression due to Hollywood. I dunno. I just feel that most of the really hard stuff has not nearly killed me... or if it has nearly killed me, then I was really bound and determined not to let it.

~m said...

sometimes I like the way you think things out...