He found the two guns I had in my closet. At that point, he had three guns and I had nothing. After tormenting me, threatening to kill me with my own guns, assuming they had my ex-husband's fingerprints on them, he tossed the guns and bullets (mine, not his) into my laundry basket and they landed at the bottom with a loud thud. He then said something like, “This works better if there are clothes in there. Quit being so damn clean.” The laundry basket was later found in my basement with carpet fresh dumped in it, on top of the guns. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hide evidence-fingerprints, DNA.
Get this. Can you believe I still have that laundry basket? Can you believe I still use it? I shot and torched my mattress. Gave away my bed frame and nightstands. And sold my f-ing house. And car. Why the hell did I keep that laundry basket?
I have no idea. Perhaps I should get a new one.
Lysa Terkeurst says in her book called, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way,”
Feeling the pain is the first step toward healing the pain. The longer we avoid the feeling, the more we delay our healing. We can numb it, ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist, but all those options lead to an eventual breakdown, not a breakthrough.
In hindsight, I think keeping the laundry basket ensured I was reminded of the pain (not that I needed more reminders than I already had). I didn't want to pretend like I wasn't raped. I didn't want to just get over it. I knew that wasn't going to be in my best interest. And I'm glad I didn't; I had a lot of feelings to feel and to work through, all of which moved me along the path of healing. There were breakdowns along the way, there still are, but using that laundry basket made me feel in control of at least one tiny part of my livelihood. I was facing my demons.
What about zip ties? My extreme, obvious aversion to zip ties was so apparent that when my ex graciously fixed something in my house, he managed to do it right in front of me without me seeing the zip ties he was using.
But unlike Chanel Miller, (darling, I’m simply envious of the downtime you had to process and write) I am a mom, I am a full-time nurse, I am a homeowner and pet-mom, and I must appear to be a functioning member of society. I was going through a divorce and had a falling out with my parents in the midst of it all too. As fantastic as I was at avoiding the pain, partly simply because I didn’t have time for it, I carried on and pushed through because I had to. For my son, my job, my bills and my debts.
I’ve since used zip ties. Hell, I've since bought two packs of them. I conquered that shit.
I have a post-it note on my fridge from my best friend of the last two years, the person who has inspired me to be a better me, to fulfill my dreams and honor my passions, and who has been supportive every step of the way. But now he's met a girl and she didn’t appreciate me being friends with her boyfriend. Which I get. But the pain of losing my best friend because of something I could not control was heartbreaking. Now, looking at that post-it note is a reminder of the good times, the two-beer Tuesdays, and it is a step toward healing.
The laundry basket is also a reminder of the life I was living when I bought it. Trauma is a landmark in time dividing the before and after. "Life before" was the prequel to my story. It’s important for me to remember life before compared to life now. This quote from Grey’s Anatomy never gets old, “There’s something about experiencing the worst day of your life that is oddly freeing.”
I am free.
Or, perhaps I should torch my laundry basket too.
Anyone got a lighter?