This one time one of my best friends just happened to be in my bathroom. We had been friends for four years at this point.
Her eyes got big and she said, “Why do you have so many soaps?!”
At the time I thought it was a weird comment. Doesn’t everyone have this many soaps, shampoos, scrubs, and exfoliating tools in their shower?
Then I went through an intense 10 months of therapy. The kind of therapy where you deal with the darkest parts of yourself and those who hurt you. I kept getting closer and closer to healing, but something was always missing. Something wasn’t right. The sum of the equation was missing an X and I had to solve for a literal invisible X.
Here’s the funny thing about the brain. It’s purpose is survival. And it will do anything to survive. Including bury your darkest moment in layers of other trauma, rejection, abandonment, fear, anxiety, other diagnosis all to protect a little seed of blackness.
But I persisted. I knew I had to keep digging.
This summer I struck coal.
Dark, smudging, burning coal that made me feel dirty and made my skin twist inside itself.
Why do I have so many soaps in my shower?
Because when someone sexually assaults you by inserting themselves on, around or in your body without your permission… or in my case any ability to understand what was happening… and they tell you that it’s YOUR fault…your brain goes into protection mode.
My brain responded by leaning into already genetically predisposed coping mechanisms. OCD.
I clean my body to scrub it off.
I clean my body so it won’t happen again.
I clean my body until I am acceptable and it’s not my fault.
I clean my body to remain in control.
I clean my body to remind myself that it’s MY body.
You know. There ARE men out there who sexually assault women and change. They apologize. They seek help and treatment. They learn to respect woman. I believe people can change.
I think we should give offenders the chance to be the better person and change. I’m a natural social worker. I will always try to view a person in a strength based light.
I’ve lived this as I have to choose to do this with my offender.
But don’t get me wrong.
If an offender chooses to not apologize. To not make amends. To not change. To not seek help.
They sure as hell don’t deserve a place on our Supreme Court. They sure as hell don’t belong in our White House.
And that is why I have so many soaps in my shower.