(Extra special trigger warnings are perhaps needed)
If there was ever any doubt in my mind that what happened to me was truly a rape, the feelings provoked in me by simply seeing this picture make any and all doubt vanish. Shame. This light fixture, of all things, is my biggest trigger. This light fixture has been burned more permanently into my mind than almost any image.
It was brighter.
The flowers were etched a little differently.
In my head I carry a perfect photo of a 1970s style, simple white frosted glass light cover. It’s edges are fluted or rippled. It’s hard to describe. The flowers are etched, so they appear grayish when the light shines through them. One light bulb is burned out. Most houses had them in all their bedrooms. Nothing fancy. A quick Google image search turned up this photo. My heart started pounding; I began sweating. My hands are still shaking a bit. It’s been 20 minutes.
This light represents shame to me. I tried to block out what was happening to me when I was raped. He pushed me down onto his bed. Neither of us was fully undressed. He was rough. I was scared. The lights were on. I tried closing my eyes, but in such a small room the light was still bright and was hurting my eyes even through my eyelids. I couldn’t bring myself to look at his face, so I looked up at the light. Studied its details. Took some refuge in the blindness. What I remember is crying, full on tears, and this light. It was an anchor of sorts.
That’s about all I remember until after it was over. I went right into the bathroom and sobbed. I was humiliated. Shame isn’t something someone should ever feel. Embarrassment, regret, awkwardness, self-consciousness, these are everyday emotions–but never shame. I wonder how many people can say that they have truly felt it. It’s a deep and long-lasting emotion. And it hides within the crevasses of your mind and burrows in.
Waiting for a picture of a light fixture to bring it out.
I wish I could just turn off that light.