I have been thinking A LOT lately. About everything and everyone in my life. The past few months have provided me with a completely new experience in the realm of relationships. I’m 20 years old, I have been through more than some people double my age have.
I have experienced every type of abuse you can in a relationship. Which is a majority of the reason that I dedicated the past 3 years to teaching high school students about abusive relationships. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish that I realized that what was happening wasn’t normal, I wish that I knew there was something I could do. I wish I had someone to tell me to leave, that it was ok to do. That I would find someone else who would treat me better. Unfortunately that was never the case, I went from relationship to relationship starting at age 14 and simply suffered different types of abuse in each. Ranging from emotional and financial [yeah that’s a real thing, if you’re confused about what it means just ask, I can teach a good hour on it] to physical and sexual. I eventually became desensitized to the abuse, I wouldn’t feel it. I stopped being afraid. I was just tired. I took it for so long that when it finally ended I just walked away. Like it never happened. Like that person never happened. They were deleted from my life. Forever. Like they had never actually been a part of it.
They were, though. & it did happen. No matter how much I denied myself the chance to actually face what happened to me, it was always there. It affected me. Abuse is cyclic. Once you’re in the cycle, it is so hard to break it. I don’t know if I gravitated towards it, or it gravitated towards me but no matter what I was always on a path of self destruction. I don’t mean in a physical sense, more of an emotional one. I always found myself in compromising situations, I faced them head on like I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I don’t. Then the worst thing, worse than 3 abusive relationships, happened.
I was raped. I thought he was my friend. I had known him for years. 2 years ago, someone took advantage of me. Someone took whatever dignity I had scrambled to get back after being broken down by boy after boy and just fucking destroyed it. He violated me in so many ways. He heard me say no. Multiple times. It didn’t matter. He raped me.
It took me 2 years to say that. I was ashamed for 2 years. I blamed myself for 2 years. I kept that a secret for 2 years. I pushed it to the back of my mind, I pretended it didn’t happen. I even twisted it in my head to justify it. I replayed it so that I didn’t say no loud enough, or that maybe part of me did want it. Or that I just didn’t say anything at all, so he didn’t know. So it was ok. Or it was my fault, I didn’t leave. I let it happen, it was my fault. The truth is I was conditioned to just “take it,” after 4 years of abusive relationships. But now I know: It was HIS fault. Still, I denied any of this for 2 years.
Then I finally got into what seemed like a healthy relationship. He didn’t yell at me. He didn’t do things to me. He didn’t put his hands on me. He was there when I needed him. He was fun. He was kind. I thought he was perfect. I was in love. I was happy. What had happened months and months prior didn’t matter, I wasn’t going to let it. & then he didn’t love me. After a year, he didn’t love me. Then I realized something: I wasn’t lovable. Something about me just made me so. I mean it had to be that, right? I was either abused, or they just couldn’t be in love with me; so something about me just made me unlovable. Right?
I quit after that. I was done. I was done putting my all into a feeling that wouldn’t be returned. I was done caring about how anyone else felt about me. I was done opening my heart. I was done with relationships. Over it. I was closing myself off. If I was unlovable, I was going to make damn sure that I was undatable too. I lost my motivation, isolated myself from the people that cared about me and then spent the next few months dating whoever whenever, sleeping with whoever whenever [yes, I was safe/responsible, don’t judge so hard people]. I actually learned a lot from it and in the end I finally let myself face all of the things I had been through. I had an uncomfortable experience with someone I worked with, he was aggressive and pushy and although all he did was kiss me, because I have learned how to say no and stand firm, I felt so violated. He thought I wanted it. It made me think about how I was portraying myself. It made me think. 2 years ago came back to me. & I cried for the first time since that night while I was driving home. & I told. I told.
I want people to know. I want everyone to know. I don’t want sympathy, I don’t need fixing. I just need people to know. I need people to know that what happened to me is not ok. & It happens far more often than you would think. I am not ashamed. I am lovable. I am beautiful. I am not at fault. I was a victim, but I’m not anymore and I have stopped acting like one. What happened to me happened. I can’t make it go away. I can only accept it and push forward. I struggle with it, denying it was much easier than dealing with it. But I am trying. I am doing.
In my thinking about all of this I realized something: Even with all of this, all of what happened, I was never once truly afraid to give all of myself. I never gave less than my all to the relationships that I had. I was never afraid of getting hurt. It could be because I was already so used to it and knew how to just move past it, but to be honest if that’s the case then I’m glad for that. I will never miss an opportunity because I have no fear of failure. No fear of rejection. I’m not afraid to lose. I’m not afraid to be turned away. I am not afraid to trust. For I know that if someone betrays me I can simply walk away. Just keep moving. That is what I have learned to do. That is what I will always do.
All I really want to do is love and be loved in return. One day I will. I look forward to that day, without fear and without regret. Until then I will continue to love with all of my heart. I will continue to put all of me into everything that I do and every relationship that I have. I will continue to be and do all of the things that make me great. I am great. I will be great. & I will continue to learn everyday how to accept and deal with my past to better my future.