The Truth Behind the Quiet
It’s not easy to dig yourself out when you lie to cover up what this world has expected you to handle.
When I was four years old, I decided I was going to search for the end of the rainbow. I pulled on my Minnie Mouse rubber boots and the next thing I knew I was stuck in the mud. Stuck in the middle of a farmer’s field, unable to move. I screamed until my grandfather rescued me and cleaned up the mess I had made of myself. When I was sixteen years old, I decided I was going to start my undergraduate degree. No one in my family had ever found the end of the rainbow, never pursued a higher education. I thought I could be the first. By the fourth year, I was stuck again. This time my brain was the mud, but I didn’t scream and no one came to rescue me.
I wasn’t a student who fell through the cracks. I wasn’t overlooked. My issues didn’t go unnoticed. I belonged to an incredibly supportive — arguably the most supportive department on campus — group of academics who truly cared about not only my potential but also my well-being, and still it wasn’t enough for me to get it together. At the end of my third year, I had my first two incompletes on my record. By the end of fourth, I had racked it up to six. The same year I started to fall behind was the year I was officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It was also the same year I had been left by the man I loved, and our reunion in senior year ended terribly: he raped me. After our final parting, every time I stepped on campus my stomach tightened up, my legs fell asleep, and I feared seeing him. Not only had I lost mind, I had lost control over my body and its health. I was treating my assault like a breakup, and breakups do not warrant extensions or special help. My attendance decreased, and my deadlines were pushed to their limits. In high school, everyone knew about my assault, but no one believed me. Classmates had ridiculed me, accused me of wanting attention. Their belief that your boyfriend could not rape you (especially if you were still in love with him) was an extension of how the larger world felt. In university, I loved yet another man who assaulted me, but this time I kept it to myself, the last thing I wanted was attention.