Carpe Diem Summer Challenge: Red Sweat

Image by Isabella Quintana from Pixabay

A warning that today's prompt did not invoke in me the feeling it would in a person with a normal history when it comes to sex. I instead ended up having a physical flashback. I have not had good experiences in this area. My work addresses this, and thus I give you the opportunity to leave my work unread.
The late 1990s were extremely difficult. My mental illness would not be properly diagnosed until 2004 when I was closing in on 40 years old. Self-harm became a way of coping when I was in my early teens. When I tried to talk to anyone about what had happened to me, they only tried to push drugs on me in the case of medical "experts" and didn't listen when I told them that the drugs only made my situation worse. I have always had paradoxical responses to drugs such as benzodiazepines, and SSRI's make me manic and psychotic, although I didn't know that was what was happening at the time.
My family's response when I told them what had happened was to tell me that I got over it before and could get over it again. 
I had no support and in swooped another predator who saw his chance of getting something he wanted from a very vulnerable person. I have written horror stories from the time I was quite young, and one might think that I would compare this individual to a vampire. Incorrect. He was a ghoul.
My poem is not about impassioned lovers wrestling as one. It is about a discarded and misunderstood person wrestling with herself. It has taken me more than 20 years to finally begin to forgive her for being so broken and allowing predators to harm her repeatedly.

What happened last year
You capitalized upon
Red sweat on my arms



  1. Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring. You epitomise the painful strength I hear so often on the crisis line. Somehow you (and too many others) survive what is unimaginable to most of us. Battered and broken yes, but survivors. And yes, I know the cost is huge and that you continue to pay it.

    1. That's the thing that some people don't seem to get. Those who have been sexually abused continue to pay the price even if the abuse is long in the past. Also, everyone is expected to behave in a certain way, i.e., being afraid to go out at night. I was never afraid to go out at night. What I still do even many years later is to sleep up against a wall if in a regular size bed or to preferentially sleep on a confined space such as a couch.
      I was somewhat astounded by my visceral reaction to this prompt. That's another thing about people who have been through trauma--you never know what's going to trigger it. Sometimes it doesn't even seem related.

    2. Triggers are such personal things. Some we expect, and others seem to come out of nowhere. The latter often bite hardest I believe.

    3. PTSD is kind of like a house of horrors. You never know when something is going to jump out of the shadows.
      Although I'm a fan of horror movies (there are so few really good horror movies), I hate haunted houses (the ones that get set up at Halloween) for that very reason.


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