So…I know it’s been awhile…like forever since the last time I posted….my bad…:( life is tough…and busy! My brain was on overload….I just couldn’t. Anyway…a lot has changed for me…I’m seeing through new eyes!
Bare with me…this one is difficult to write.
So a few years ago I shared with you my one word for the year and how it’s a goal for the year to help you change your life. This year…my word is love.
Seems pretty straight forward right? I thought so too. I knew when I heard this word sometime in June that it was going to be a toughie though. See…I’ve struggled with love for a very long time. I haven’t loved the main person in forever…that’s me…
So…let’s get to the root of that…ready? I finally came to terms with it back in January. When I say it’s life changing…to get it out and finally just deal with my demons…here goes…when I was 20 years old…I was sexually assaulted by my then boyfriend…it happened on Valentine’s Day on my college campus in my dorm room.
I’m sure there are lots of questions from that statement…let’s address them.
Q. What was he doing in your dorm room?
A. well…we were allowed to have visitors of the opposite sex in our rooms. Our dorm was coed. As long as it was during allowable hours (and it was) it wasn’t an issue. We had planned a fun evening. We were going to watch a movie then go to the Valentine’s Day celebration thingamabob on campus.
Q. You must’ve done something to make him think it was okay. Right?
A. Wrong. I tricked myself with this question for years. We had been sexually active before. But we had decided we were cooling our jets because we were going to get to know each other better. We had had a successful date before without sex so I had a reasonable expectation that he would stick to our agreement.
Q. Why didn’t you fight him off? Surely at your size you could have kept him off of you?
A. Lemme tell you something….I tried with all my might to keep him off of me. I fought him…I scratched him….I pleaded with him…it didn’t help. When someone pulls you down by your hair and you’re begging…and they get extra hands to keep you from continuing to scratch them and they are sitting on you and somehow still manages to get your clothes off to get to what they want…well…you can only try and fight so much…I never got that adrenaline rush people say you get when you are afraid. I fought. I was just unsuccessful.
Q. Why wait all this time to say something? It’s been 20 years…why didn’t you report it then?
A. I’ve been asking myself the same questions….for 20 years. After it happened, he got dressed and left. I immediately went and showered. I felt dirty and violated I just knew if I could wash it off I’d be okay. I needed to wash it off! I could still smell him everywhere. I stripped my bed…tossed my clothes and then…I got dressed. I went to the V-Day party…sans boyfriend and convinced myself that I was okay. I was surrounded by friends and good music. It would be fine! I could not have been more wrong.
I didn’t report it because I thought no one would believe me. I didn’t want to be dragged through the mud and be told I was ruining a young black man’s life….I’d heard these words regarding another situation on our college campus….surely I couldn’t say a word!
Q. Surely you’re over it now? It’s been TWENTY YEARS!
A. ….yeah…about that…20 years is a very long time to hold something in….you don’t know how much your life is shaped by a thing until you call that thing out. Looking back…I see how that one event changed my life’s path and shaped many decisions I’ve made through the years.
One such decision that seems completely random and not related is that I avoid reunions with my friends from college. Sure…we are all friends on Facebook. I always get excited about proposed meet ups but when the time comes….I turn into Casper….it has always activated an anxiety in me that makes me not want to be around people especially them! They didn’t rape me. They didn’t even know! But the memory of that day and night becomes so real when I think of reuniting with my friends. I’ve missed so much….births…weddings…opportunities to help another heal…just. So. Much! All because I couldn’t deal with the aftermath of my assault.
I think about the way I’ve dealt with men over the years…lord have mercy…I can see my choices with perfect vision and how I made myself a target because I didn’t deal. Low self esteem…since I blamed myself shaped my decisions to just accept whatever came because I didn’t deserve anything or anyone to genuinely love me. I was ruined…so why not just take whoever wanted me…that’s been very difficult to face because there were so many pains and heartaches I could’ve avoided had I just told the counselor I’d been raped and started some sort of program…
For years…I’d feel the darkness coming. Around November or December each year anxiety and depression would try to take over and I fought it as best I could. By January I’d be in a full blown panic on the inside but on the outside I was determined to make it through the year. I ignored everything in me. Every. Single. Year. After awhile I was numb and just put on whatever face I thought I needed to get through the day…week…month…year.
Anywho….I can’t change the past. All I can do is take steps to finally heal my heart and soul and spirit…
This year…I read a book that helped. I’d read the book before but for some reason when I read it this time…(for a Writing assignment) it resonated a different way. It completely touched me and I finally admitted what my issue was. I talked to a friend a church and she prayed with me. I’m the midst of our prayer someone else entered the room. She didn’t know the situation but she jumped in and prayed and put some more power in that room.
A month or so later…due to a mix up…I was in attendance at a women’s ministry meeting at my church. The speaker was talking about broken pieces…and she asked if anyone wanted to share about a time they were broken. I resisted the first push in my gut to share my story. Then I found my hand in the air and the microphone in my hand. In a room of about 100 or so women I talked about my rape for the first time publicly. I felt so much lighter that day! You never know how heavy a thing is until it is lifted from you!
So that’s why I’m sharing this now. By finally bring it into the light I can be completely free. I am a survivor of sexual assault. I’m no longer a prisoner to it. Now I’m taking my broken pieces and sharing them because broken crayons still color…there’s healing to be done. Some for me. Some for someone else. Someone needs to know it’s not your fault. That person had no right to do that to you. Your feelings are valid. It’s okay to tell someone. You have to For your own sanity! Either way…the time has come and if I want this healing…the exodus of this pain I’ve been carrying I’ve got to let it go….this was how. Thank you for reading.
Until next time,