After 35 Miles, You’re Still in My Head

What did I think about for 35 miles on Saturday? Honestly, I have no fucking clue. I do know that I sang “Back In Your Head” by Tegan and Sara for at least 4 hours. And I don’t even know all of the lyrics to that song. But every time I said, “Chelsey, you have GOT to get this song out of your head,” the lyrics “I just want back in your head” kept replaying in my mind. Such a vicious cycle. I wanted to be thinking of something beautiful and grand. Inspiring thoughts that are born while giving myself the space to run for 5 hours and 19 minutes.

But, I just want back in your head!

That’s all I got.

And tiredness. Really fucking tired.

I ran 10 miles yesterday and then worked from 11-6. When I got off of work, my co-worker and I had some beers at a bar while we each read a different April Sinclair novel. It was so calming–pleasant–amazing. But by 8pm I was ready to pass out.

At 9:30 I was dead asleep.

And now it’s 2am as I write this. I’m wide awake. Well, not so wide awake that I’ll go bike riding or something like that right now, (although a night time/early morning bike ride through the streets of Chicago does sound amazing and briefly crossed my mind as something to do), but awake enought to work on writing a personal essay I have due for Make/Shift soon.

So I’ve been writing for the past hour and a half.

And something came up for me.

I’ve been needing to write this for well over 6 months. But I just haven’t found the space that I needed to be able to sit myself down and write this out. I didn’t know how to.

What space does running 35 miles (or 45 miles in two days) do for me? It helps me to create. These are things that I’m constantly thinking about, not just when I’m running. But when I am running, especially for more than 2 hours, I get this amazing mental space in which I can think without having thoughts, sing without having lyrics, and feel my emotions without being overwhelmed by them.

And this is what that kind of space can create:

An Open Letter to My Ex-Girlfriend

(written at 2:51am)

When you didn’t let my best friend support me after I was sexually assaulted, that was abusive and traumatizing.
When you violated my sense of security by logging into my email account while I was at an extra therapy session because I had been sexually assaulted two days ago, that was abusive and traumatizing.

When you told me the day after I was sexually assaulted how horrible of a person I am and how I done you so wrong, that was abusive and traumatizing.

Yes, I broke up with you in a very harsh and traumatizing way. I can own that. I can recognize that that was wrong of me. But skip ahead 10 days from my breaking up with you–10 days in which there were too many hours of fighting, and of course another break-up discussion because once is never enough to end a four year relationship–and I’m being sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street.

When you came over to support me that night, I saw judgment in your eyes. I felt it in my heart.

And yes, during our break up I admitted to you that my best friend and I had talked about our mutual attraction for each other. But you couldn’t understand that while my attraction to her might have been a reason why we were breaking up, it was not because I wanted to ditch you for her, but it was because with her I finally got to understand what it felt like to be seen as a whole person. To be listened to. Honored. Supported.

So to deny me that friend, that type of support after I was sexually assaulted was traumatizing. After someone is assaulted, the most important thing to do is to give them back their power. When you are assaulted, your ability to choose is completely taken away from you. So I don’t care if you don’t like me getting support from my best friend because you see our friendship as threatening to you. I was assaulted. I should be able to make these decisions for myself. And you and everyone in “our” “community” should not judge me for them.

How could you deny me my power to choose?

Where was your humanity?

Where was your compassion?

Can you still identify as a feminist after the way that you acted?

We broke up. You are not able to make these decisions for me any more. They actually shouldn’t be for you to decide in the first place.

The day after I was assaulted, I said that it was okay for me to hear about what you thought about our break up. I broke up with you 10 days ago. And 5 days before my assault we stopped talking. I wanted to know what was going on for you. How you were feeling. What was hurting you. Instead of taking care of myself after I was assaulted, I wanted to take care of someone else. I can recognize this as an unhealthy pattern in my life, and I’m working on it.

So while I did agree for you to tell me what was on your mind, as my initial support person after being assaulted I hoped that you would have supported me and not further assaulted me.

Yes. It was too much. I wanted to hear what you were thinking so I could get my mind off of the fact that I had been sexually assaulted last night. But to have you stand there and tell me how much I had hurt you and how horrible of a person I am is not support. Even if I asked for it.

I need for you to take responsibility for these actions. I can’t sleep until I know that you won’t do this to someone else.

My sexual assault was traumatizing. I continue to have flashbacks and panic attacks.

But the assault that you did to me in the days following my attack have caused more emotional trauma in my life. Worse than panic attacks or flashbacks, I deal with this trauma on a daily basis. And while you are not the sole reason why I am or continue to have this trauma in my life, you are a part of it, even if you are not a part of my life now.

And sometimes I don’t deal. Sometimes I can’t even face it.

I need you to face it.

I need you to look at your actions–your abuse–and be able to name it. To take responsibility for it.

To live with it every day.

Like me.


While I didn’t have these thoughts when I ran 35 miles, I did wake up in the middle of the night–exhausted from my exhaustion–and finally had the space to name them.

Maybe I’ll be able to sleep now.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Connie said,

    How I admire your courage to post these words of honesty. I am also in need of a cathartic and no BS posting at my blog as it’s been drier than Death Valley air and dessicated liver in the last several months since I haven’t run…

    Thanks for sharing yourself.

    Connie 🙂

  2. 2

    I hope things work out for you!

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