Till it happens to you

This is a true story.  The person who wrote this wishes to be anonymous.   Her story, her own experience as a lesbian going through the trauma she has been through is all too common.  By bringing this story to light we hope many of you realise you are not alone.  If you have experiences like this and want to share it with others – please do email us at equalground@gmail.com or mail us on this site.  We will keep your name out if you wish.  Your story really needs telling so use this space to tell it.

If you are suffering from Anxiety and depression due to your sexual orientation and gender identity/expression please call the only Counseling line for LGBTIQ persons in Sri Lanka.  Call us at: 011-5679766 or 011-5734530 – trained LGBTIQ counselors are on call (special line for LB women and transgenders).

Her ear shattering pitch pulls me out of my funk. I pride myself in being able to get lost inside my head but even my active imagination can’t drown out her pretentious squawking. After a few futile minutes of trying to tune her out, I give up and look up at her. Look at that mouth. Loud and obnoxious. I could just picture her face if I were to point a loaded pistol in her face and pop a cap in that fucking mouth. The blood would splatter the walls red. That ought to shut the bitch up.

-“… and then I … Hey! Nangi? What are you grinning about?”

I tilt my head to the side letting my fringe fall onto my eyes. “Nothing” I say with a shrug, the corners of my mouth stay turned up for the rest of her speech.

The conversation flows. I catch Asanka looking at me from across the table. My heart beat quickens and for a long minute it was as though we were the only ones in the crowded dining room. Cousins, aunts and uncles all melted away like cigarette smoke in the wind. I hold his gaze. My head snaps sharply and painfully to the right the minute he looks away. I crane my neck for a bit and look down at my empty plate, trying to get my hands to stop shaking.

There was a cocktail of medication to be swallowed down before ice cream. Pretending the pills were skittles usually made them go down easier. But with Sathi’s never ending squawking and the cracking of my relatives to her jokes, pretending to overdose made the pills go down faster.

Ah my dear sister Sathi. The golden child. With her big fucking mouth, entitlement and grandiose personality. Queen Sathi ruled this family. The ever so charming narcissist was our mascot, blown up and full of hot air. The perfect job, the perfect Asanka as her perfect husband, she was a winner. Her life was so sweet it could make me barf.

-“Why do you take so much medication, akka? That’s a lot of pills!”

Ah Menaka. She was the sister I was most fond of. She was much smarter and nicer than Sathi but also younger. Sarcastic but sweet, she was almost always genuinely concerned and loving.

-“Anxiety and depression.”

-“ You know you can always talk to us about anything, right? We’re here if you need to talk. But then again you don’t really have any problems do you? Nothing for you to be ‘depressed’ about!”

Almost. Almost always genuinely concerned and loving. I muffle my reply with a spoonful of ice cream.

The evening couldn’t come fast enough.

-“Oh my God you have to watch Lady Gaga’s new music video!”

‘You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time

You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together

You’ll be fine…’

My eye twitches. The rest of them were welling up. All tears and sighs. Sathi was the loudest. Of course she was. I couldn’t help scoffing. The video credits were followed with a lot of sniffing and ‘that’s so sad’s. I shrugged. I go to get a glass of water. I find my hands shaking uncontrollably and chin tilting uncomfortably to the far right in sharp spasms.

-“Tsk! What the fuck!”

It was last Christmas when my anxiety attacks got as bad as they were now.

-“I missed you, Netty. I wish you could be here.”story

-“Me too… What are you wearing?”

-“Netanya! Are you serious? Haha…”

-“Not like that, you perv! I bought that red dress we looked up online.”

-“Oooh! … I may have borrowed your gold dress.”

-“Mila! I knew it! That’s why I- Uh I have to go. My brother in law is bringing me my drink. Bye, Love. I’ll call you later yeah?!”

The mojito was cold and refreshing. I laugh awkwardly at Asanka’s flat jokes about the rugrats running about. I start feeling tipsy. Which was very unusual for someone who was so used to hard liquor.

I caught Asanka smirking at me.

-“Tipsy already, Net?”

-“What? No! I don’t- I don’t feel that good though.”

-“Oh?! Maybe you should go to the bathroom and clean yourself up?”

I stumble up the stairs past the little brats. The cold water on my face helped but I couldn’t seem to pull myself together.

-“The fuck is going on?”

-“Netanya? You alright?”

I jump and turn around to find Asanka in the bathroom. My head spins when I try to figure out exactly when he had followed me inside.

-“I… I don’t know…” My word slur and knees wobble. He grabs me by the waist and helps me lean against the sink.

-“Yh. Rohypnol does that to you.” He says with a low chuckle. “It’s a shame your little girlfriend couldn’t make it. I could have set you both straight. But…” he moves his hand from around my neck and pushes my hair back. “…then again, since it’s just you I can take my time. We’re gonna have some fun.”

Bile rises to my throat and I jerk around helplessly. My screams come in gurgled whispers and my arms feel as though bricks were weighing them down. I whine and manage to push him off me, only to fall on the floor in a floppy useless mess. I crawl towards the door. His feet on the either side of my hips anchor me in place. My short nails scratch the tiles over and over again. Tears flow like from a bust open faucet.

Asanka pulls my head back with a fistful of my hair. His nails dig painfully into my scalp. He jerks my head about before cupping my jaw with his free hand.

-“You’re gonna thank me later, you dirty slut. I’ll give it to you good and hard. Ha! That little dyke bitch of yours isn’t gonna be able to get you off when I’m through with you.”

-“Stop! Please! Please… Don’t…”

Tears and snot run down my face. He laughs in my ear, digging his nails into my cheek. He slams my face down on to the freezing grey tiles. My chin digs painfully into my right shoulder. His rough hand holds me down by the neck but I was too roofied to move anyway. While he moved on top of me grunting wetly, the weight on my neck choked me and my chin jerked to the far right my arms flaying at my sides helplessly. Everything hurt at the same time. Gasping for breath through the tears, bile and snot I prayed that someone would walk in or if that was too much to ask for that I prayed that I would die.

Neither prayer was answered that day. He was right. I couldn’t bear Mila touching me. I broke up with her soon after with a single phone call. Asanka might have just as well have killed me there on the bathroom floor because I was like the walking dead afterwards. I was numb but my hands would suddenly shake uncontrollably and my chin would snap to the right. I couldn’t open up to anyone, so therapy didn’t help. Nobody knew what happened to me. But what really hurt… was that nobody other than Mila even seemed to notice that I wasn’t the same. When I’d go quiet I’d get a chorus of ‘pull yourself together you’ll be fine’s and ‘you’ve gotta get up and move on’s instead of a comforting shoulder to cry on. Instead of compassion I’d be bombarded with judgement and my pain is brushed off as pathetic. Cause as they say …“things could have been worse.”

The glass of water clatters against my teeth. I lock my bedroom door, pull out my phone and put my head phones on. The haunting music lulls me to sleep.

‘You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time

You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together

You’ll be fine

Tell me what the hell do you know

What do you know

Tell me how the hell could you know

How could you know…’