Ok, not exactly 20 years, but close enough.
Today I sent an interesting email to my boyfriend. He loves the HBO show West World and is eager for me to catch up before the second season airs so we can watch it together. I got through three episodes before I asked him, “Where is the point to know if it is for me or not?” I was asking because there was just too much dysfunction and power play. There hasn’t been actual rape yet, but enough veiled rape and scenes where it has come very close.
It’s HBO. Of course there is a lot of sex and violence. It’s a given at this point.
As I succinctly told my boyfriend, in West World, despite it being an obvious simulation and fake world. It’s an obvious fiction – all of it, not just the simulation. Yet, it is too close to reality. Shows like Game of Thrones or Dexter or even True Blood are so over the top fiction that there is a distance.
When I see Delores in the hay, staring up at a man who is towering menacing over her… I don’t see the actor. I stop seeing Delores. Instead I go inside and in my minds eye I feel pinned down, in the dark, begging for it to not happen and it still does.
I know I’ve worked through it many times in many ways. My therapist got me to bring it up at one point and was satisfied with how I responded and where I was with it.
But being triggered – not just squicked but actual PTSD triggering – I have to draw a line in the sand and say no.
I had this debate with myself a few years ago when I watched Jessica Jones. Yeah, having the same first name also made it viscerally real. I think that she fought through and back helped a lot.
Spoiler, in episode three Delores shot a man. I’m not sure if he was real or one of the simulacra. But, it wasn’t enough. I think the breaking point for me was how when one man was standing above her, she flashed back and saw another. It’s way too real in how I experience when triggered.
There are no right answers. Luckily, my boyfriend is so awesome that I’m sure while he will be disappointed that he will understand and stop pushing it on me.
It’s funny how, even when you accept the past, understand that you weren’t at fault, have supposedly healed, that it doesn’t take much to go right back to that mental spot. That span of hours, especially the last 4 of them, are burned into my memory and probably always will be.