I decided to share the blog and the response has been very positive. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about sharing the following story because it’s a large part of my journey and feels like the missing puzzle piece. I think the story explains my emotional journey over the past five years. I had contemplated sharing the story anonymously or publishing it on a different website. I’ve thought about sharing this story for years but I’ve held back due to shame and fear of judgment. I’ve reached a point in my life where I feel that sharing the story will help me move through the trauma and lift a weight from my life. I feel compelled to share the story now more than ever. With all that has happened in the past year, I feel more destabilized than ever and, oddly, I feel more in control of my life, my feelings, and my emotions when I write and share my story. I wrote the following a few months ago and have sat on it for a while. I’m ready to finally put it out there and move on:
“I woke in a daze, not sure where I was or who I was with. As my eyes began to focus I realized what was happening. I could feel him thrusting into me. And then I let it out. A blood curdling scream. I started hitting him. His shoulders, his chest and his face. I pushed. I screamed. I cried. Eventually, he let me up and I ran to the bathroom and began sobbing.
How did I get here? I remembered getting into a fight with ex-boyfriend #1 earlier in the day and leaving him to go bar hopping with a friend. I remembered the multiple beers at the bar near the canal. I remembered meeting this boy and his friends. I remembered my friend leaving to get a cab and pleading with me to come with her. I remembered getting into a cab with this boy. I remembered staring up at the lights of different houses we passed in the cab and thinking about what a beautiful spring evening it was. Then it all went blank and I remembered waking up with this boy inside me.
In the aftermath, ex-boyfriend #1 tried to help me. I shuttled in and out of therapy, alcoholics anonymous, and different support groups. Our relationship began crumbling. We slept with our backs to each other and passed each other like ghosts in my apartment. He would prepare for work, make his lunch and leave. I would wait for him to leave for work and eventually get out of bed. Some days I would make it to the couch. Other days I would only make it to the floor. I can remember feeling the cold wood pressed against my cheek as I sobbed for what seemed like hours. Ex-boyfriend #1 put up a valiant effort in trying to bring me back to life. But eventually, our relationship imploded.
After only a few months of being alone, I met ex-boyfriend #2. We had an immediate connection. He was smart and funny and seemed to like me. I immediately clung to him in the hopes that he could save me and bring me back to life. He, like the one before, put up an amazing fight. Part of me believes that ex-boyfriend #2 is still fighting to this day. He saw a light in me that had been damped out and would later explain that our relationship suffered because that light wouldn’t turn on. I was looking to him to flip that switch within me that would lead me back to who I was before. And when he couldn’t do it, I turned on him. I blamed him for every issue in our relationship. I resented him for being carefree and comfortable in his own skin. Didn’t he understand that he was supposed to be helping me get back to being myself? Why couldn’t he understand that I couldn’t save myself? Why couldn’t he find a career path and stabilize me so I could be safe?
While I was still with ex-boyfriend #2, a friend (who would become ex-boyfriend #3) from school, contacted me. He was living on the east coast and asked if I and our mutual friend would join him for a weekend in New York City. His invitation was promptly accepted. That weekend sparked off a string of memorable and fun-filled weekends that year. After each weekend, I’d return home a bit hung-over and with a confused heart. I quickly realized that I was developing feelings for my friend but I wasn’t sure why. I felt comfortable and happy with him because he had met me before and he knew “Me Then” and when we were together I could feel “Me Then” coming back. The light was on and I was her again. I wanted him because he brought me back to life. I believed that he was saving me and I couldn’t let that go. Our friendship remained for a couple more years and eventually we began dating long distance. When we were together, everything was perfect. The time in between was the harder part. I would return home and immediately fill with darkness and depression. As quickly as we began dating, we ended. He felt that we didn’t work as a couple but lauded our friendship and assured me that he valued me as a person. I was destroyed. I cried for weeks. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. Why didn’t he understand that he couldn’t leave? I needed him. None of my other boyfriends had met before I became broken and damaged. And no other future boyfriend ever would. How was I supposed to become me again without him? He was my last hope. He was the only person who could help me find myself again and he abandoned me.
I have changed my hair, my job, my boyfriends and my location. I looked for everyone and everything to turn on the light that was lost. Why couldn’t people understand that I wasn’t strong enough to do this myself? Why couldn’t someone just keep me safe and stabilize me?
I recognize now that I have hopped from person to person, job to job, and city to city searching for the person I was before. I’ve become so scared that people meeting me now will only know me as “Me Now” and not the person who existed before I was raped. I am afraid that people will see the cracks underneath my smile or the pain behind eyes. I now realize that, for better or worse, I am “Me Now” and that old person no longer exists. Importantly, I finally recognize that the woman who exists now doesn’t have to be tied to the past or one single event. I don’t need anyone or anything to save me. I can save myself. I don’t need to run anymore. I am “Me Now” and I am okay.”