Growing up I always liked the Little Golden Book called A Monster at the end of this Book. I own a copy still. I feel like this book has been kind of coming to mind a lot lately as I get closer to this week being my week to disclose in group.
In the book, Grover from Sesame Street is telling the story and it is a really cute read. The idea is that right from the start he is scared because there is a monster at the end of the book and he is afraid of monsters. He comes up with different ideas to get the reader to stop turning the pages and getting closer to the monster.
This is how I am feeling as days go by because I would do just about anything to avoid this week’s group therapy session. It is my week to tell my experience. I can absolutely choose how I tell it and what I need to say in order to move toward healing, but I can’t imagine saying any of it out loud. When I think about having to say it, I can’t get a breath. The guilt I feel and the judgment I assume is the “monster at the end of the book.” Rape culture is so focused on victim-blaming and what did the victim do that she/he should have done differently. I know these people in my group therapy are “peers” and they, more than anyone else, understand how I feel most days, but it still feels like they will tell me how wrong I was or how it wasn’t really rape, or how maybe if I just did/didn’t DO x y or z it would not have happened to me. I don’t know how to say it because saying it will make it feel so…real. So…mine. And I don’t want it. I want to just give it away or stop turning the pages so that the monster is never something I have to face.
I started during the last week to write out my disclosure so that I could just read it, or so that at least I will have written it the way I think I need to say it to be most healing. To try it out. I can’t get through it. I will, I hope, but so far I just can’t get myself to write it out. And if I keep going and tell the story, either written or out loud, then the judgment will come. I’m certain of it.
The “monster” at the end will come. The monster feels like me. What did I DO? What should I have DONE?
In the story of Grover, the reader finds out right along with Grover that the monster at the end IS Grover. That all along he was terrified of what was coming and at the end it is just himself. Lovable, furry Grover.
This book is giving me hope. Hope that at the end of this disclosure is just me. That I built it up and made it a monster, but when I get through it and it is over I am left with me. A wonderful, healing me. A rediscovered me. A me that is not at the end of a journey or at the end of a horrible story, but instead a me that is only beginning.
A me that can be accepted for exactly the person I am inside and have been all along. A me with no more need to hide.