My drawing above was inspired by one of my favourite places on my high school campus. It was a quirky little corner room filled with musical odds and ends. But when I was in grade ten, the guy I was dating sexually assaulted me in that room. That assault was the worst instance of his sexual abuse in the year we dated. We broke up shortly after. Since most of his abuse had taken place at our high school, the campus became filled with reminders of his abuse.
I had to pass by that little corner room nearly every school day. No matter the time or season, the room held cold memories from the winter afternoon of the assault. I still remember how the furniture was arranged, who was nearby, what items I had, and certain things that were said. Being in such close proximity, so often, to both the perpetrator and location of the assault forced me to try to process what had happened. Some of the pain I could process with journalling. Other pain was murkier, like guilt I'd incorrectly directed inward and channelled into self-harm and suicidal thoughts and actions.
Gradually getting more distance helped me get perspective and heal. Processing my pain became easier, aided by having more safe and healthy people around me. Healing from the guy's abuse was interwoven with healing my memory of the little corner room. Understanding the assault there was just one assault in a year of abuse helped me see the guy's larger pattern. It helped me know I was not to blame for his abuse. In time, it hurt less to think about that room. I could also recall more clearly my first impressions of the room, long-buried by the painful memories.
One of my favourite places on my high school campus was a quirky little corner room filled with musical odds and ends. On sunny days it had a cozy, welcoming glow. And its peaceful ambiance invited you to enter, sit down, and rest for a moment in the warmth and quiet.