The last time I had a breakdown was about a year ago when I was working as a cashier. I’ve worked as a cashier before, but working at a location where it was primarily male dominated made things a bit different. During this time, I was also attending a Trauma Support Group.
I reported to work like any other day, but I wasn’t prepared for the man with the eyes of a downright pervert; eyes like that is hard to miss, they just stare at you like you are some piece of meat;ready to pounce on you like a lion. I started to scan all his items. I was reaching for the last item and his hand caressed mine, “You’re so delicious. I’m looking for a woman. Interested?” His stare was nauseating. I immediately pulled my hand back and gave him his total. He paid and left. My hand trembled. I grabbed my hand sanitizer and poured a handful and rubbed it.
“It’s dirty… It’s dirty. Wash it off. WASH IT OFF!”
I didn’t realise a customer was waiting until he cleared his throat. I quickly looked up and assisted him, but my hand…it couldn’t stop shaking. After he left I paiged for cover while I ran to the restroom. As soon as I closed the stall door, my tears broke free. My whole body was trembling; I couldn’t stop. I called my husband and I cried. He listened and was able to give me some tranquility. I stayed in the stall for a few more minutes after we hung up. My mind was a haze the rest of the day. I couldn’t function for a while.
I haven’t had a serious breakdown after that incident. The Trauma Group I attended helped me in a way I cannot put into words. I was able to get back on my feet and breathe again. I was finding myself while accepting my symptoms.
Today, was unexpected though.
My sister in law is due in a few weeks, so when I was informed that she was having contractions I rushed to her house since I was going to be her driver. My daughter was in school, so the plan was that my father in law would pick her up and bring her to my sister in law’s house. I was aware of this since we have been planning back and forth for weeks now and I was okay with it, but as soon as the time was nearing for her bus arrival my anxiety escalated.
As I stated in my previous blogs, I was sexually harassed by my grandfather, so it took me a while to become accustomed to my father in law’s presence around me and especially around my daughter.
I kept exchanging glances between the clock and the door, memories of my grandfather and uncles abuse roamed my head like hungry beasts. I was uneasy.
You should have picked her up?
What kind of mother are you?
Why did you let you guard down?
I wanted her by my side. I was anxious. 3:51 p.m. and I heard the bell ring. I could see her beautiful face peeking from the side window. I quickly walked to the door and picked her up and sat on the couch with her. I looked at her and she smiled at me. “Are you okay sweetie?” I asked her, not letting her go.
“Yes mami!” She let herself loose and went to play with her cousins. I was still uneasy. I kept asking her if she was okay and she gave me the same response. We went outside to play and I whispered, “Did your grandfather touch you anywhere?” The innocence behind her confused look broke me into pieces. I smiled at her and told her to go and play. I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful, sunny day or the pure happy state that my children were in.
What is wrong with you?
My thoughts were running free and I stood there and watched them tear me apart with its darkness. I couldn’t handle being there anymore. I wanted to take my kids and leave that house, so I did. As soon as I got into the car, I started to feel some ease.
“I got away.”
When we arrived home, my daughter and I bathed together and I asked her one last time, “Did grandpa touch you?” I waited. “No mami. We were singing songs and that’s it.” I smiled and kissed the top of her head, “Okay mama.”
Now, I am here. In this space. In this room. On this bed and my thoughts are still running free. I feel powerless. I feel useless. I feel disappointed in myself. The list of negative thoughts is a perpetual zone and I am stuck in it.
Today was a bad day.