Hiding The Bruises

incognitoI am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.

Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.

When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.

Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses

But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:

embarrassedBut it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.

I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.

As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.

I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.

But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.


Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.





43 thoughts on “Hiding The Bruises”

    1. The first six months back in London were awful Paula! But I found a handful of amazing friends I could rely on when I needed to talk. After that things have been on the up and up.
      It’s so much easier now…it was the picture prompt from Teresa that reminded me of that period I went through were I was always wearing a hat and sunglasses and meeting up with friends and colleagues who were kind of suspicious towards me, not really as welcoming as I would have loved for them to have been.
      But things have steadily improved for me. I live in a gorgeous but little flat, I have great work and great workmates and I met Goldfinch! I cannot complain about anything really.
      Still it’s there…and it probably always will be, it’s just not dominating in any respect. Every now and then I appreciate one of my very close friends making time for me to get things off my chest and have a little cry. And it has been very helpful being able to write on this blog. I feel in control when I am writing. Nobody is asking me invasive questions that make edgey and make me bottle things up. I can talk about things when I am ready and to the extent I am ready. It’s a safer way to let out what perhaps causes hurt deep down, a way I can control and feel comfortable in.
      I think a lot of bloggers find the same thing.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes…I am very patient with myself. I have come a long way already. But I have my moments every now and then when it all comes back and I have to remind myself – it is one page of my life, the rest has been pretty wonderful I have to say!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. In your own time you may wish to leave it behind you, this invisible burden you carry. But note the “in YOUR own time’. Nobody else can tell you when it’s time to do that, you’ll know. In some respects I walked in your shoes a very long time ago, but at one point I realized that carrying that around with me was weighing me down and stopping me from being whom I’m meant to be. That’s when I put it down (mostly) and left it in the past. Not saying I FORGOT, I don’t think one ever forgets stuff like that – but it’s how you heal and what you become strong enough to do. I admit being curious about what exactly happened, but I don’t KNOW you (IRL) and you don’t know me and that’s the sort of question that one asks of intimate friends, face to face, not out on the internet where all sorts hide and reside. I do know that whatever it was, it damaged and changed you; yet you’ve risen above it to be a warm, sunny and lovely woman DESPITE it. Good for you! Blessings to you.


    1. It is good for me…
      …in small doses which I can be in control of.
      I love how something like a picture prompt can give you a creative angle to write from. It helps you keep a kind of focus without being overwhelmed by everything.
      Today that focus was hats and sunglasses and how they became a part of my identity for some time…not so much now, although it is winter, so I am definitely wearing hats more, but now sunglasses.
      Thank you so much Cadie!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. I have all kinds of photos saved on my Pinterest that have given me inspiration for stories I’ve written. Pictures are just so good at evoking certain feelings and vibes that make you want to capture and give to others.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to read that you are more settled and relaxed now. Sorry you went through that. Friends will understand of you need space on this so take as much as you need. Ultimately, you are responsible for your happiness so don’t say what doesn’t feel right.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an inspiring story! Thank you for being so brave in talking about such difficult memories. So glad you’ve found friends both online and real life who you feel comfortable talking things through. 🙂 Sending you all the hugs I can ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re so brave for talking about this openly. You’re right though: a photo or word prompt helps you control what you want to say without being overwhelming. Hope, healing, recovery. You deserve all the happiness you desire. ❤


    1. Thank you Lovely!
      Sometimes brave, sometimes not so brave, but I am pleased with how far I have come. The only thing that still effects me deeply is Jack’s strange behaviour. But there is still time.
      I keep on hoping that he will be brave enough to try to smooth things over in some way. I am sure that would lift a huge burden from my heart, and it might settle some of the uneasiness our mutual friends have about out situation.


  5. I am very touched by the fact that you are writing about it… it cannot be easy but yet you manage to bring positive things out of this traumatizing experience. A lot of women spend their life in shadow not daring to talk about it and ashamed. I am sure that reading post like yours will help them find the courage to find their way to live a good life despite the trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are right, she has a beautiful voice! As for the rest, we heal and deal in our own time way and space, that’s why it’s called healing lovely one. We don’t push too far past what we can deal with. I learned the hard way. Love yourself, treat yourself with love and affection and tenderness! You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the world of you. You’ve weathered a storm I wouldn’t wish upon a worst enemy if I had one. Your strong brave kind caring and loving. You are keeping strong and haven’t succumbed to the dark side of bitterness cruelty and misery which can eat you up if you let it. Your an inspiration to all.


  7. That must have been , and continues to be, hard on so many levels. I’m glad that bit by bit, you are able to talk about it, and in doing so, relieve some of the inner pressure. You’re clearly a survivor and will help others with your story. You have no blame in this horrible matter and nothing to hide, you were the victim, and it will someday be freeing, when you are ready, to put the story out there and find it takes some of the weight of carrying out secretly off of you. Until then, keep doing what you’re doing, bit by bit, with people you feel safe with, and you will find you’ve already taken steps in that direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On the whole, I think I am ticking over quite well. Every June, I find my feelings begin churning, lots of memories come back, and more than anything my frustration that I am not back where I belong becomes hard to pacify. I was so happy before the challenges in connection began, so so happy. I wonder if there is a way to be back living and working near to people who caused so much trouble and pain for me.

      But working things out with Jack (who is out trying to find chillies for me right now) has been the major and most important step to peace of mind. It is an incredible blessing that he and I have been able to put the past behind us.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry for what you went through. How strong you are to have come through it and be able to write about your feelings. I hope you continue to get better all the time 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alison. ❤

      I think that when I began writing just over two years ago…I discovered the amazingly cathartic process of letting what you keep buried within take form into sentences and paragraphs that capture some of your experiences. It has definitely helped me.

      Things are great on the whole…June is always hard. But once it passes, the recollections and feelings they stir begin to settle.

      Liked by 1 person

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