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(Sensitive content) July 5-6 2023, Thistle Hill Shelter to Hanover, NH:
Today, I got a do-over on hiking alone since yesterday didn’t pan out the way I wanted it to. I prepped myself by spraying myself with bug spray and headed out extra early in the morning.
It felt like such a calm, serene day. The fog in the meadow brought up nostalgic memories of my time in Glacier and Washington state. I felt in the zone today, as if liberating to hike without the distraction of someone’s presence nearby.
I got to see the beloved sunrise and watch the way the clouds came in over the mountain ranges. The sun birthed its rays through the tree branches and the spiderwebs speckled in a sleek glow beside the trail. The mushrooms glossed vibrantly from the early morning dew. I basked in solitude, hearing nothing but my own breath and the feeling of my footsteps guiding the way. My legs brushed up against the tall, wet grasses as they collected droplets of water, cleansing any prior dirt I had compiled.
Later, Voodoo and I met up in town and stopped at the library. We got into a fight over something so small which escalated into something so big. It was something about him asking me to carry his portable charger and when I said no, he got triggered. Then, I became reactive when he raised his voice and used the word “fuck” numerous times in between sentences. I used to think his aggressiveness was hot because I associated it with him making a move on me, but I was starting to gain clarity in the fact that it had nothing to do with him being sexual, it was just the way he naturally expressed.
I walked out of the library as it seemed I didn’t feel inspired to talk right away, but upon my leaving, everything became overdramatic.
He chased me down the road and yelled, “Freyja! Take your FUCKING trekking poles!”
My stomach dropped when I heard him yell at me. We seemed to experience this pattern where he would want me to communicate right away despite me being in a highly emotional state. I often met him with silence, needing to take a moment to breathe because I knew the shit that was about to come out of my mouth was about to be a bunch of bullshit.
Unfortunately, my expression of silence would be taken out of context a lot. He perceived it as hatred towards him, as if I wanted nothing to do with him. Ironic, because it seemed he felt that way towards me, but in a different sense. It felt as if he hated me when it seemed he didn’t want to be patient with me and handle my presence with gentleness, which to me was the definition of a highly masculine man—one that knew how to hold a solid ground and safe space for me.
After he chased me down, I sat on a ledge beside the sidewalk. I felt I didn’t have the energy to walk. It felt I didn’t know what to do or where to go. He stood over me and it felt like he was berating me with his words over and over again. I was crying intensely, just wanting him to calm down and hold me, but all I could hear were faded blurbs of the curse words “fuck” and “shit”.
“I’m sorry I can’t be that stable mother fucker you want,” he said.
I felt so bad energetically. I felt nauseous and shaken up, my body vibrating with anxiety. I so deeply just wanted him to hold me, but he didn’t feel comfortable holding me because he felt as though he was the cause of my pain. And so we found ourselves in an emotional dance of pain.
I also felt a lot of tension for crying/getting upset in public. Those moments were very vulnerable and intimate to me and often made me want to hide. I was never drawn to the idea of crying or causing a scene in public. It was already hard enough for Voodoo to see me in that state.
It felt like he was rushing me to snap out of it and just walk into town with him, whereas I felt so depleted. I didn’t feel comfortable going anywhere with my eyes so red and swollen from tears. A woman drove by as Voodoo was berating me and stopped to see if I was okay.
Voodoo responded for me and said, “She’s good.”
I felt like I had nowhere to run. I was sick of crying, I was sick of feeling in so much mental pain. I felt the self worth I had built over the years dwindled away into a mere nothingness. I just wanted to feel okay, period. I just wanted to feel like I would be safe in his arms, which I actually did, but not in a healthy way. I could feel the tendency to depend on him for my answers and happiness. I could feel the temptation to rely on him when I was in pain… the endless game of wanting to dissect his actions and thoughts rather than just taking it for what it was at face value.
Everything just felt off and I could feel it in my soul. I felt like I didn’t deserve any of it. I had this wholly vision of a man who took his time with me and was so patient and cherished me to the point where I could feel that I was a gift to him. With Voodoo, I could sense that I was a burden to him, even though he didn’t say it out loud. I felt as if he just wanted me to figure the way out of my feelings as fast as possible and just be constantly happy.
“It doesn’t have to be so hard,” he said.
“I know it doesn’t,” I said, “but it’s where I’m at right now and I’m trying my hardest.”
“Well try harder,” he said.
I felt I wanted so much more out of a relationship, without having to constantly ask for that. I just wanted to be held and loved and caressed without having to beg.
Later on, I found us a trail angel who offered us her home for a couple of nights in town. I hoped that a relaxing bed would give us a little peace of mind. We dropped our stuff off, then went to the local pizza place in town where they gave thru-hikers a free pizza slice. The owner and employees of the place were so kind and generous, they ended up giving us two slices since we didn’t want a free beer.
While at the table, I noticed how Voodoo was paying attention to everything around him—the people, the TV, the restaurant—for a good fifteen minutes. He didn’t once make eye contact with me. I felt as if I wasn’t even there. I expressed how I felt he wasn’t being present with me. As soon as I expressed my feelings, he grew livid. I could see the heat enter his body as his facial expressions changed.
“Why the fuck does everything have to trigger you?!” he barked, “I was just trying to relax and enjoy the quiet and now my heart rate and blood pressure is up because of you.”
I was in a shock state. I felt as if I communicated so vulnerably and softly and it just backfired. I just wanted to voice what was on my heart and talk it out. I was open to getting a different interpretation but it seemed I couldn’t even receive that. I went in the bathroom to cry, catch my breath and cool down.
Shortly after, we headed back to the room and I tried my hardest to just ignore what apparently happened. We had sex and I squirted on the bed, which seemed to happen almost consistently with him now. And every time I did, it felt as if I was on the brink of an orgasm. It felt beyond amazing and I wanted him to celebrate with me, but instead he would grow upset because it would get on his stuff or on the bed sheets. It would make me feel gross and as if I should have been able to control it, which I couldn’t.
“Grab a towel,” he demanded.
“Okay, let me look for my glasses first,” I said, since I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of me.
The second it took me to do that, he goes, “Don’t fucking worry about it, I got it.”
He grabbed a towel and placed it on the bed to let the juices soak in. Then I remembered how my mom had taught me to dip the towels in water as it would help to clean the stains out better. So, trying to help out, I went to grab the towel so I could put water on it when suddenly, he aggressively snatched it out from under my grip, then whipped it on top of my hand.
Everything in my mind went numb.
Everything around me grew muffled and all I could hear was a faint ringing in my ears.
I found my body moving to the back of the laundry room, which was the darkest space I could find. I sat in a fetal position, then buried my face in my knees and cried silently. I wanted to hide away from the world. I wanted to crawl in a dark hole where no one could find me.
He eventually came looking for me and, in the dark, touched his way through until he found me. He placed his hand on top of my head, felt that I was crying, then went back to the bed to play games and watch videos on his phone.
After about 15 minutes, he shouted, “Why don’t you come and cry on the bed rather in the corner of a dark room like a fucking weirdo?”
I had never met anyone who had made me feel so alone. I picked myself up and snuck myself out of the room. There were some stairs in the laundry room that led to the door upstairs. I put my shoes on and walked outside, looking behind my shoulder numerous times to see if he was behind me.
Then, I took some sharp turns on the street here and there, letting myself be intuitively guided. After about 10-15 minutes, I came across a sign that read, “Secret Garden”. I thanked Spirit for putting such a safe haven directly on my path. It was just magical… a fairy forest getaway where I could bring my heart to heal. There were all sorts of different little dirt paths, stone benches and picnic tables. There was a wide open field of grass where I laid down and I thought back to when I was a little girl and would lay down just the same in my front yard, looking up at the trees swaying in the wind. The leaves danced through waves of energy, fast and slow. I prayed to God to help me understand why I was experiencing such a perception. Why was I still here with him? What did I have to learn?
Eventually, I found another special spot down the road that had a pine needle covered path leading to a big lake. In the solitude, I remembered that I didn’t deserve any of this. I deserved only the highest form of love. After about three hours of quiet meditation, I remembered this. I felt comforted by the thought that I was untouched by the world and protected by the Love of God, all ways.
I came back to the room after I realized I no longer wanted to tolerate this game and I voiced that confidently to Voodoo.
He got in my face and yelled, “You’re such a fucking victim all of the time! Always crying about everything.”
In silence, I started placing items in my pack, but he would take everything out and throw my things all over the place.
He put his lips up to my ear. I could feel his breath and spit on my face as he would say the most awful things that he had never said to me before… that I couldn’t even believe he would even think about me. Did he feel this way about me the whole time?
It was weird because he would say, “Get the fuck out of my face if you want to go. Just fucking leave!”
But then when I would pack, he would unpack everything and throw my backpack around the room anytime I would even attempt to put it on. Then, he grabbed a sharpie and broke it in half.
He proceeded to tell me I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere while simultaneously saying stuff like, “and when you leave, don’t even think about reaching out to me, because that’s it.”
I would try to diffuse the energy by being neutral.
“Okay,” I said, “no problem. I’ll respect your boundaries.”
It seemed as if he was trying to get me to hit him or call him names, but instead I would freeze and shut off. I would go completely silent and start crying. I just couldn’t move. I just took it, but it would further trigger him when I was non-responsive.
He would snap his fingers in my face and say, “Hello?! Is anyone fucking in there?!”
He kept saying how much he had to “put up with me” and that no one else in the world would ever put up with my shit. I kept reminding him no one was forcing him to hang around me if I apparently brought him that much stress, but he would just stay.
I just wanted him to be civil and have a normal conversation with me anytime I was going through a difficult perception, but it would just turn into me being the problem and too much to handle. When I finally gathered the courage to communicate what was on my heart, he would mock my voice in an extremely nagging way of what it wasn’t. I felt he was just making fun of me. Then, he would say that he couldn’t hear me when I was talking monotone and that I needed to use a more feminine voice.
He said I had to take a look at the part I played that caused him to react. I felt like I did. I felt as if self work was an active practice in my life ever since I began my spiritual journey. There was a sense of being offended that he couldn’t recognize that I was trying my best and that I was learning just the same as he was.
I didn’t know what else to do since he wouldn’t let me leave. I was dammed if I did, dammed if I didn’t. So, I took my clothes off and laid down in the bed. I put the sheets over my shoulders and zoned out as he leaned over me and continued to berate me. Dissociated from the experience, I didn’t remember much of what was said, all I remember was shutting down.
His voice would come back in loud and say, “You’re only using me for my dick and you couldn’t have made that any more obvious.”
In a sense, that was true. That was my only intention from the very beginning, but I got drawn into him in other ways. Through his cock, I got hooked.
I had never been in a situation like this before, ever. I had one man raise his voice at me one time and I was out. The difference was that he let me leave.
I felt nervous because I felt as if he was just going to chase me down the trail if I left. I was trying really hard to stay calm and reason with him, but it seemed like anytime I communicated my feelings or an apparent boundary I had, it just turned into me being called crazy and needing to relax.
“Just be a fucking adult,” he said, “you don’t have to make everything into such a big deal and cry.”
But my heart was really hurting and it was the way that I expressed. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t a yeller or a fighter. I was trying to just be patient and relax. I didn’t want to tell anybody on trail what I was going through. I didn’t want to get other people involved, especially because the AT seemed really gossipy. I also didn’t want to make him into this crazy evil person, for I knew he was just hurting. I just simply didn’t want to be around that kind of energy, but I felt trapped.
He said he would leave so I could have the room to myself, but then would just keep trying to make me upset and never actually leaving. I couldn’t win no matter what.
Upon going to bed, I wanted to cuddle again, but he seemed he didn’t want to. So, I walked naked across the room and sat on the carpeted floor. I was brought back to my childhood. Something about sitting naked on the carpeted floor felt safe. I broke out into tears, feeling abandoned and unloved. I grabbed my Lithuanian Bible pamphlet to receive some words of inspiration.
It generally read:
Love simply. Be servants to each other with love and patience. You were created to serve. So serve. Don’t count who serves the most or the best. Just serve. Love each other the way Jesus loves you. Jesus let’s go and forgets.
I opened up to Voodoo and said, “I need your patience with me. I need you to understand how I was raised and the type of conditioning I received. I’m not used to having someone in my space and I don’t have the faith for an exclusive relationship right now.”
I told him about my dad apparently lying to my face so easily. I told him about the conditioning I received from my mother and how I heard her voice all the time, tempting me to buy into the narrative that all men were cheaters. But most of all, I told him how often I would see my dad’s eyes just lying straight to me numerous times about his infidelity, without even flinching.
“He was probably just scared,” Voodoo said.
“That doesn’t excuse lying,” I said, “I just feel so fucked in the head. I have a very hard time openly trusting men and I feel paranoid that it would be just as easy for them to lie as it was for my own dad.”
I began masturbating before going to bed because Voodoo was too tired to go another round. Whenever he said he was going to bed, I seemed to take it as rejection. I felt as if I often interpreted words in a way that they were not intended to be taken. He was genuinely just tired, but in my mind I associated as he didn’t love me.
In a way I found it funny because I had been getting fucked every single day, multiple times a day, and I remembered how much I wanted that experience in the beginning of the AT. And here I was, feeling so empty and dead inside. The only time I felt alive with him was when he was giving me sexual attention, but then I would fall into the pattern of distraction through the false sense of connection. As soon as he would cum, he would turn his back on me and I would be left missing him again, feeling sad that the moment was over, left with nothing but the weight of the thoughts circling my mind.
I experienced the perception of him often eating me out/fingering me and having so much sex with me, yet somehow I still made a story in my mind that convinced me it was not enough. It seemed as if it took so much faith for me just to take a step back sometimes.
I felt so unwanted, like he couldn’t keep up with me sexually and then I would have these intrusive thoughts like, See, this is why I need to have multiple men fucking me, so I can actually get off properly.
I was bawling my eyes out… shaking… praying to be released of the burden of the thoughts. I felt so alone and empty.
“It’s never as bad as it is in your mind,” he would say.
I broke down crying at the corner of the bed. I couldn’t fall asleep due to feeling so horny. That was the moment I knew I was addicted in thought. It reminded me of how I felt with drugs/alcohol and needing to get that ‘fix’. Another bump, another shot, and now, another orgasm.