I want to start this letter by letting you know I fucking hate you. I used to love you because I believed that each new year meant a fresh start. Now, as an adult that has lived through some bullshit, I realize there is no such thing as a fresh start — maybe some growing and healing, but never a new start.
So, as a part of my attempt at healing, I decided to write this letter to you letting you know why you are my least favorite month.
You weren’t so bad until January of 2015. On New Year’s Day 2015, I was raped. I’ve never spoken about this with anyone until now. There’s a lot of reasons I’ve never brought this up. For starters, this was not the first or last time I was raped. It’s shameful enough admitting you were raped once, let alone several times. Also, I’ve never wanted to be labelled as a “victim” or a “survivor.” Both terms don’t sit right with me. The most fucked up reason that I have never confided in anyone about this is that I am worried I’m going to get blamed for it — or worse, no one will believe me.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully share what happened that night. The specifics live in my chaotic mind, while flashbacks frequently remind me of every single detail. Sometimes these flashbacks are purely emotional. I remember what happened and a wave of fear and heartbreak crashes over me. So please accept that this is all I am willing to explain.
I left a small NYE party at a friends house with my boyfriend (now thankfully my ex). On the way home I could tell he was in a MOOD. Someone at the party had flirted with me. One thing about my ex is that he was extremely possessive. I remember feeling relieved that he didn’t cause a scene at the party and fight the guy. I didn’t realize that’s because he was saving all his anger for me. He made sure that I never forgot I belonged to him.
Since I was drunk and my rapist was my boyfriend, I quickly fed myself the lies society teaches us to convince myself it wasn’t rape. I threw away the clothes he had ripped apart before anyone could see them. I didn’t go to the doctor even though my body was giving me very clear signs that I needed medical attention.
Now, I pretend to be happy on NYE while out with friends while the entire time I am battling flashbacks.
Unfortunately, that is just one of several traumaversaries I have in your stupid month. The other reason I despise you, January, is because of everything that led up to a psychotic breakdown I had in 2019.
The first event that lead to my breakdown is that I made the difficult decision to put my dog, Brillow, down. I was 25 at the time and I’d had him since I was 12. He was a few months away from his 13th birthday. I fucking loved that dog. I selfishly waited as long as possible before putting him down. He was suffering every day because I was too scared to say goodbye.
On January 22, 2019 I said goodbye to my best friend.
I went through the process by myself. My boyfriend (yup, same ex that raped me) couldn’t handle my grief. At the time, I was hurt that he wouldn’t go in the room with me. Now I am extremely grateful for his absence. That wasn’t a moment he deserved to be a part of.
The second the door closed behind me as I walked away from Brillow’s body laying on the floor in the room at the vet that I suppose is only used for this sorta thing, I became unhinged.
I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t do much of anything besides hide under a pile of blankets in bed. I started hallucinating. I could see Brillow walking around my apartment. I could hear him barking, panting, and whining to go out. I could feel him walking in tight circles before laying at my feet in bed. At night, these would terrify me. I’d be startled awake by the sound of my dead dog just to turn on the lamp and to realize he wasn’t there– no matter how real it felt.
Naturally, my boyfriend was nowhere to be found. Off on another bender and staying with the woman he thought I didn’t know about but I did. Still, his disregard for what I was going through really rubbed salt into my deep abandonment wound.
A few days into non-stop hallucinations, I found my birth mom on Facebook. For the first time in my life, I was looking at a picture of someone that looked like me. Something I think non-adopted people take for granted. I’ve known I was adopted my entire life. This means that I have also fantasized about finding my birth parents for a very, very long time. Admittedly, I never imagined it would be on Facebook in the middle of me completely losing my shit.
Not only was she dismissive, she was cold– rude.
I thought I was at rock bottom before talking to my birth mom, but that was just the last push that took me over the ledge. Then I had a frantic free fall until I eventually hit bottom. The hallucinations of my dead dog continued. I started seeing him in my rearview mirror while driving. I started seeing him in the corner of my eye at work. On the rare occasion I was asleep, I would be scared awake by the sound of someone whispering in my ear. I’ve struggled with insomnia ever since.
I remember calling my boyfriend to tell him I needed to go to the hospital. He convinced me that I didn’t have to, but he also didn’t come home for another week. Too busy abusing drugs and alcohol while cheating on me I guess. I don’t really remember when or how I started to get out of that state, but I always remember it started in January.
You’ve gotten slightly more bearable thanks to Zoloft, therapy, and a lot of hard work. I honestly hope that one day you’re not my least favorite month. I want to ring in the new year with the same ignorant bliss as everyone else. I want to be genuinely excited for all the birthdays my friends and family have in January. I want to celebrate the anniversary of the day I adopted my current pup, Pablo. Just happy January things.
For now, you are still the month I was violently raped in. The month I put my dog down after more than 12 years together. The month my birth mom rejected me. The month my boyfriend abandoned me during a psychotic break.
I just need a little more time to like you again. Until then, go fuck yourself.