Restart Story

Before I had been driving his father's truck, so after the breakup, I had no transportation. My parents live in a place that is not easy to get in and out of via public transit, so I worked with them to get my own truck up and running.\n\nI also started looking for work. I went to some interviews. Eventually I went back to my old job as a tester.\n\n//I know I survived because I bought my truck from my parents and now I can do what I want with it.//\n\n[[World of Warcraft, part 2]]\n[[Career movement]]\n\n\n
A story about my recovery from abuse.
<html><blockquote>"Typically, when relating a trauma, you start at the beginning of the account... Too often, you can get stuck at the beginning or in the middle, and rarely, if ever, get to the end --the actual end. You may get as far as when you got away, the earthquake stopped, the perpetrator lost interest, or the ambulance arrived. But that is not the actual end. The true conclusion to any trauma is the arrival at now, today. Getting to now is the testament that you made it, you are here. Whatever it was, you survived it. For that reason, this is the place I find it best to start trauma recovery --with the epilogue, the fact that <i>you made it<i>."</blockquote>\n<p align="right">-- 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing by Babette Rothschild</p></html> \n\n<html><img src=""></html>\n\n[[The End, the Beginning]]\n\n\n
Shortly after the layoff, I met someone interesting.\n\nAt first I told myself I needed to wait until I was working again, until I had my own place in the City.\n\nBut he was //really// interesting.\n\nEventually I told him I was interested. I think he was surprised. There were a lot of complicating factors. But he was interested too, and our relationship blossomed. I didn't see a lot of red flags, either, though I was really scared. I hadn't felt this strongly about anyone since [[that time|Start]].\n\nI'm pretty amazed that I kept at it, even though I was so afraid. I told him a lot of what I had been through and how I was afraid, but I don't think he really realized how much of an uphill battle just seeing him was for me until much later (and maybe not even then).\n\nI wasn't going to let a painful past prevent me from living the life I wanted to live.\n\nThe new relationship took up a lot of creative energy that I had been putting towards my projects, though. I don't regret the choice.\n\n//I know I survived because I started dating again even though I was afraid.//\n\n[[Six Months Later...]]
After scrambling to find a new place, I managed to find a studio apartment with a nice kitchen. The neighborhood wasn't quite as nice, but it was a nice apartment.\n\nAt the same time, I got promoted. My boss moved into an associate producer role and I took on his role as QA Lead. This was exciting but also very stressful. There was a lot of friction between me and a couple of the people I was supervising. We let two of them go, eventually, basically because they wouldn't work with me.\n\nMy partner and I began seeing a couples therapist. I felt safe enough there that I could see that my partner really was trying to listen and that he cared, so I could stop being afraid so much.\n\n//I know I survived because I found a place on my own.\nI know I survived because couples therapy helped instead of hurting.//\n\n[[Settling in]]
After I had been there a few months, they converted me from contract to full time. I got a sizable raise along with it and the promise of more opportunities down the road (in particular, the opportunity to do game design, something one of my dearest friends, someone I worked with there, convinced me I would be good at).\n\nI was learning not to be afraid to dream.\n\nI started looking for an apartment, at first with a friend, but ultimately decided I wanted my own place. Even if I could only afford a small studio, it would be //mine// in a way that I'd never been able to call a place mine before. I found a place and made arrangements to pay the deposit and sign the lease. I would move in April.\n\n//I know I survived because I pursue my dreams.//\n\n[[My project]]
I recently started putting together an indie game dev crew. I'm pretty excited about it, though it's rough going sometimes. \n\nI'm still working on getting my apartment and kitchen in order and the process gives me a lot of happiness and satisfaction.\n\nMy partner and I are still working through things but overall, I think things are a lot better than they were. \n\nLately, though, I've been triggered a lot. I think working through things in couples therapy made it a lot clearer to me how much was between us and how much was legacy stuff entering into things. I got really tired of being triggered and anxious. It's exhausting and makes it hard to enjoy anything. So I started seeing a therapist and doing some reading and thinking to try and work through things. \n\nThis epilogue was written as part of the process of working through things.\n\n//I know I survived because I'm still here.//\n\n<html><h1>The end.</h1></html>
To celebrate my new job and to celebrate that I was my own person, a survivor who had escaped, I got my first tattoo. My sister created the original image that inspired it and it represents my name. To me, it also represents feminine power - female spiders are generally larger, live longer and are often prettier than the males. Tattooing the image of my name on me tells me that the only person who owns me is me.\n\n<html><img src=""></html>\n\n//I know I survived because I have my namesake tattooed on my left shoulder.//\n\n[[The City]]
At first I felt really alone, really lonely in my new place. I wasn't used to living alone and I had never done it before. Things were still rocky between me and my partner, too, so we pushed each other away a lot, and that left me feeling lonely too.\n\nOne weekend in particular was really rough and I didn't know if we'd still be together after that. But I/we made it through and things seemed okay, and I was happy to realize that even if things didn't work out, //I'd// be okay. I think I was expecting to come out of every relationship as devastated and broken as I had been after that one, but after this, I realized that wasn't true.\n\nI'm stronger now. I survived a lot and I can continue to survive and thrive.\n\nI started setting up my kitchen. I started cooking again and really enjoyed cooking again.\n\n//I know I survived because I am happy living on my own in my apartment.\nI know I survived because I enjoy cooking again.//\n\n[[Today]]
After working in the City for several months, I decided to start looking for an apartment.\n\nAt first I moved in with a former coworker, but she asked me to move out so her boyfriend could move in not long after. That was really stressful and frustrating. My boyfriend and I had a lot of fights and I started to worry that I had fallen into patterns that were the same as in my abusive relationship. I didn't //think// he was abusive but I was so scared so much of the time, it was hard to tell.\n\nI got converted to full time around the same time as my move. That felt really good because it meant more job security and I got a lot of positive feedback about how I was doing well there, which I appreciated.\n\nI also finished paying off my truck around this time. This is the first time I've owned a vehicle that wasn't just given to me.\n\n<html><img src=""></html>\n\n[[Moving again]]\n
About six months after the breakup, a friend of mine was going through a divorce. She posted some links to things on her livejournal, including this one: <html><a href="">On Interpersonal Badness</a></html>\n\nIt had never occurred to me until then that what I had experienced was abuse. Even then, I resisted the idea. Still, in one of the comments on <html><a href="">Fugitivus</a></html>, someone recommended 'Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men' by Lundy Bancroft. I thought it was worth looking into, at least, so I bought it. I also read all of the posts on Fugitivus, and anything linked there as well.\n\n<html><img src=""></html>\nThe above selection begins a passage from Bancroft's book that was the tipping point for me. It continues: <html><q>One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn't rise and your blood shouldn't boil... When your anger does jump out of you--as will happen to any abused woman from time to time--he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are.</q></html>\n\nThis realization was powerful and scary. My father asked me how I could let this happen and I got angry at him. I got angry at men in general and at society for creating a world in which abusers can exist and even prosper. Mostly I was really angry at myself.\n\n//I know I survived because I understand that what happened was wrong.\nI know I survived because I finally allowed myself to be angry about the things he did to me.//\n\n[[Fear]]\n\n\n
I didn't have a job or transportation. At first I didn't do much. I played a lot of World of Warcraft. And by "played" I mostly mean that I would log in and talk to my friends. For a while I couldn't concentrate to do anything more than hang out in the game and chat with people. But that, and Facebook, were a lifeline.\n\n//I know I survived because I reached out to my friends.//\n\n[[I learned some things]]\n\n\n
I got a QA position at a small social games company in San Francisco. It turned out to be my dream job, in a lot of ways - I was in a position where my natural tendency towards frankness and my passion for our games were appreciated, an asset instead of the liability it had been in other places and relationships. The environment was still fairly masculine but it was toned down and I didn't feel like it was toxic. I still sometimes got depressed but it was mostly because we were a struggling startup and I really didn't have much time or energy for anything other than work.\n\nI did start to think I might want a relationship, but I planned to move to the City first (especially since my commute was hours a day and my work hours were long).\n\n//I know I survived because I advanced my career and was recognized for things he was critical about.//\n\n[[My first tattoo]]\n[[The City]]\n
One of the first tasks I tackled was to get off of his family plan. I rewarded myself by getting a new phone that I had been really excited about, an HTC G1, one of the first android phones. I was really happy to no longer be with AT&T, too.\n\n(For a long time I grieved over the loss of the relationship, though.)\n\n//I know I survived because I'm using a phone I selected for myself on my own plan that I paid for myself.//\n\n[[World of Warcraft]]\n\n
Soon after I started working again, I realized that things had changed and it was a much worse place to work than it had been before. Also, with my fear and anger towards men, the overwhelmingly sexist and masculine environment there was toxic for me in a way that I hadn't perceived before. I got pretty upset and discouraged but I also got out.\n\nI applied for QA positions at several companies. \n\n//I know I survived because I went back to work.//\n\n[[Work, Work]]\n
Although at first my old guild in WoW was a supportive environment for me, it started to become toxic. I recognized patterns of abuse in someone that I had considered a close friend, and there was a lot of conflict and drama within the guild. When Cataclysm was released in December, I leveled to 85 and then transfered to a new server. The new guild was very impressed by my raiding skills and by my knowledge of my class and the game. We raided 3 nights a week, over 12 hours a week total raiding time. I kept it up for a while but then decided to start trying to be more social outside of virtual worlds for a while. So I canceled my WoW subscription.\n\n//I know I survived because I made my own decision about when and how to play WoW and when to quit playing.//\n\n[[Career movement]]\n\n
Instead of moving into a new place, though, we all got laid off, everyone in development. My friends warned me so that I could cancel my app't with the realtor, saving me from signing a lease on a place I would no longer be able to afford.\n\nInstead of immediately going back to work, I decided to take some time to work on projects of my own. I knew that I would never be hired as a game designer if I didn't have a portfolio, and nothing I had worked on, design wise, had been published yet.\n\nI spent most of my time dabbling in Python and Gamemaker. I didn't really finish any projects, but I feel proud of the time I spent. I had a pretty good amount of self discipline, something I didn't know I had until then - I worked regular hours on my own, I kept to a schedule for exercise and sleep and work and play. I created some neat things but nothing finished.\n\n//I know I survived because I learned new things and exercised my creativity and self-discipline.//\n\n[[Dating Again]]\n[[Six Months Later...]]\n
I got called in for an interview and was hired almost immediately after. I knew I got the job when I walked in for the interview, though, because one of the people interviewing me was someone I had hired in my previous position.\n\nIt feels good knowing that I can be confident in my skills and that others recognize and appreciate them. The new job is interesting but not exactly what I want to be doing.\n\n//I know I survived because I got a new job based on my reputation.//\n\n[[Moving]]\n
I packed up my computer and some of my things and my parents came and picked me up. It was very late at night and I don't think we got to their place until after 1 am.\n\n//I know I survived because I am here.//\n\n[[New Phone]]\n\n
by Kanane Jones
Behind the anger was fear, though.\n\nIf it happened once, couldn't it happen again? How could I ever be safe in a relationship?\n\nThe Bancroft book outlined some <html><a href="">warning signs</a></html>, though, and I thought that could help.\n\n<html><img src=""></html>\n\n[[My truck]]\n