Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Totally (Ab)normal Week


I seriously have the strangest life. Like my life is already weird and unbelievable, but then on top of that, my day to day monotony is anything but monotonous. Too illustrate this point, I will give you a run down of the totally abnormal stuff that happened just this week alone. (You should all know by now how much I love giving examples)

 Monday:
I sent my friend a text message at 5:40 am that said “Fuck Monday’s. Seriously. Fuck this Monday shit.” Then I promptly slammed my car door shut, locking my keys inside. Fuck. This. Monday. Shit. Seriously. Fuck this Monday shit! 45 minutes later the police had them out for me, so I drove to my client’s house, and opened the door. For the first time in seven months I heard “alarm sensor activated” being announced from the keypad by the door. Ok, this isn’t going to be good. Their home alarm, which has NEVER been on, is on, and going off. I’m trying to call my client at work, the alarm company is yelling at me through the speaker system in a tone that is 12x’s louder than the human ear can handle, and obviously, the alarm is blaring. Finally, FINALLY, it is turned off and I have assured the police that yes, I am actually supposed to be there. As soon as everyone leaves, I walk into the living room and hear “Living room motion sensor activated.” Alarm goes off again. Seriously. Fuck this Monday shit. FUCK MONDAY’S. To top it off I had to move a dildo and lube that was left in my clients shower and while washing their floors on my hands and knees, their mastiff licked my face, which is essentially like being hit in the face with a bath towel that has been soaked in dog slobber. FUCK MONDAY’S.

After that I got that fun call from the daycare that working parents just love. The one that informed me that the boy child was sick and I needed to pick him up. So, I did the responsible thing and I made a quick stop at the store to grab anything I might need. Baby Tylenol, pedialyte, sanitizer, and wine for mommy. I acted even more responsibly by double checking my purse before I shut the car door, to make sure I actually had the car keys before locking the door. Crap. Where are the car keys? They aren’t in my purse. They aren’t on the seat. 7 minutes later WHERE THE HELL ARE MY KEYS??? Oh. Maybe they are exactly where you left them. In the ignition. SINCE THE CAR IS STILL RUNNING.  I topped Monday night off by teaching a stripping class. Because yea, that’s normal.

Tuesday: 

So a friend invites me over for dinner and tells me that she will be in the back BBQing when I get there, and to just let myself in. So I get there, go into the backyard, and she is definitely BBQing alright.
She is BBQing a Care Bear.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Yes, This Actually Happened. Unfortunately.

Yes people. This ACTUALLY happened.

I seriously have the weirdest dates. Like the time that I showed up and it was WOMAN who was dressed as a man, but clearly, not a man. Now I'm all for gay/lesbian relationships, I just don't want to be in one. I'm a little partial to parts that are permanently attached to a man. Preferably one with amazing teeth and an awesome sense of humor. Or there was the guy that spent the entire date talking about how he usually only dates woman over 50 because they are kinkier and how he videotaped his "date" last week. Ew. Just Ew. There was also the guy that told me on our first date that he was a sex toy designer and asked me if I was a customer. Or the guy that asked, on our first date, if he could lick my feet. "Um..do you have a foot fetish?" I asked him. "Oh! You have heard of us!" he exclaimed. "Us? Like, is there a club or something? Do you get like a t-shirt or free socks?" He was not amused. Sometimes I am a little smarter and I dodge the bullet before it actually hits me, like when I got a picture text message from this fine lad: (I blurred his face for privacy reasons)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Key Components To a Kick Ass Weekend



Step#1
Have a guy friend over to watch like five movies on the couch and make him bring enough food for a snack buffet. Even though it’s totally innocent, still make him park two blocks away and sneak in the front door so that the neighbors don’t see, just in case he doesn’t go home (for innocent reasons people!). Also, sneak take pictures of him for your blog.



Friday, November 15, 2013

I Went To Bed Hungry Last Night


I went to bed hungry last night. It’s not uncommon for me, but it never gets any easier. I tossed and turned, hummed a little song to get my mind off of the fact that my stomach hurt, and debated brushing my teeth again, thinking that maybe I could fool my body into thinking that I was eating. I live in a nice house, about 2,000 square feet, kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, three bedrooms, an office and a separate library. My kids are often dressed in Gap and Gymboree, myself usually in Abercrombie and Hollister. I have an android phone, and I drive a nice car. My daughter goes to a great private daycare.

And yet, I go to bed hungry a lot of nights. I run, for miles, to save on gas. I keep the air conditioning and heat off to save money.  There are a lot of things we go without, but no one would ever know.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do You Remember That Time You Finally Told Your Ex Mother-In-Law Everything You Have Ever Wanted To Say About Her? I Do. Because It Was Today.

So it finally happened people. Now let me tell you, it was a looooonnnnggggg time coming. I have politely kept my mouth shut, nodded and smiled for the last 12 years. Today though, today I exploded. Now give me some credit that I didn't yell, I'm not really a yeller, but holy hell, the pure venomous vomit that spewed from my mouth towards her may have burned her face off. Yikes.

Allow me fill you in. My ex, whom I will lovingly refer to as "the spawn of satan," was a horribly abusive guy. His mother, whom I will loving refer to as "the total whack job," is crazy. I feel qualified to diagnose her as that based on her long history of crazy shit. I will privy you to three different examples of her craziness so that you can get the picture.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

That Time I Found Out I Might Be Going To Hell

So last night I had a date. From the beginning I wasn't very thrilled to be going on said date, but my friends keep setting me up with people because they are convinced that I am going to become an old spinster with 87 cats, so every once in a while I have to cave in and go out with someone just to get them off my back. Now what they don't know is that I am seeing several people, I just don't tell them about it bc they get all girly and mushy and want to know a million details. Then I have to watch their shocked faces as their brains try and process what I just said, because IT SIMPLY CANNOT BE TRUE.

Friday, November 8, 2013

In Which I Take My Clothes Off For Money

Now before you get your panties all in a bunch, simmer down and listen, it's not what you think. I don't take my clothes off for men. I take them off for women. And not just women, mostly, I take them off for myself.

Get over it.

That is the motto that runs rampant in the "Sexy Survivors" dance class that I teach. You don't like your butt? Get over it. You don't like your post baby belly? Get over it. Your boobs are too small? Too big? GET OVER IT.

You need to love yourself, your true authentic self, every part that makes you who you are, every piece of you that tells the story of your journey. They are all you. My belly shows that I have mothered two children, and I am damn proud of it. My thigh bears the cigarette burns from my abusive ex. There is a healed knife wound on my shoulder, so faint that you can only see it when I am tan and in the right light, but I am well aware that it is there. My ankles bear the scars from the time that this happened.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monsters Are Real


I was three. I sat inside my room listening to my "dad" drill a hole for a chain lock he was putting on the outside of my door. I remember sitting on the floor, wondering why no one loved me. I thought maybe I could pretend to be a dog. People like dogs. Dogs live in cages, its not that unusual. Right?

But I wasn't a dog. I was a forgotten child. Locked away like a dirty little secret. I pressed my ear to the vent, I could hear my mother downstairs watching "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."  Drinking the ice tea I had seen sunning on the deck earlier.

Was anyone coming back for me? It was getting dark. I looked at the closet. Monsters live in closets. Would anyone notice if a monster got me? Did they even remember that I was up here? It was dark now. The room, so many shadows. So scared.

The closet seemed safer. I climbed in and shut the doors. The darkness was smaller in there. Not as big and scary as an entire dark room. Stifling and hot, encompassing and enclosing.

The dark empty closet, held my tiny body, kept me safe.

It was the closest that a scared, small, child would come to a hug.

Monsters are real. But sometimes, they live in houses. Not in closets. Sometimes, the innocent live in closets while the monsters roam free.





Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/60113700@N04/

Monday, November 4, 2013

So....About the Neighbors.....

So...you know those neighbors, the one's that I referenced in my original story? Did I mention that I live in a townhouse? No? Ok, well I do. And I just so happen to share a common wall with them. Cozy, right? Brings new meaning to the term "sleeping with the enemy."

Well anyways, I WAS sleeping last night, until I was awakened at two a.m. by a HUMUNGOUS thud on said common wall. My first thought was pure terror, that stranger guy had come back, but then as I started listening, I realized, that as far as I remember, stranger guy doesn't have a very loud, shrill, girly voice that screams things such as "F' YOU (name withheld). F' YOU AND F' ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS." People. I could hear EVERY. SINGLE. WORD of my neighbor chick's full on assault attack towards her fiancé (and normally I can't hear a thing through the walls). She was screaming things at him that I wouldn't have dared say to my ex on the day of our divorce. At one point I heard him say "(name withheld) don't you put your hands on me!" To which she replied "Or what? What are you going to do about it?" Now here is where I got mad. He said he would call the police and she replied "And who do you think they are going to believe? Tiny me or 6'2 guy who couldn't defend himself?"

Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is Not My Shame to Bear: My Story


It’s 10:08 am on a Friday morning. I’m sitting in bed, watching some mindless crap on TV, the kids are at daycare, and I’m still running a little high from the bottle of wine and entire batch of cookies I had for dinner 15 hours ago, which is almost exactly 47 hours since my life changed forever. Again. It was horrific. It was terrifying. It was torturous. It was all the horrors that little girl nightmare’s are made of.
I was raped. Again. But this time, this time, it’s different. This time, I was raped, and it was the best worst thing that has ever happened to me.
I’m a fairly private person in a really odd sense. I’m one of those weird people that shares too much, knows it, and doesn’t really care. That’s probably mostly in part because I know that whatever strange fact I am (over)sharing with you at the moment, is just the tip of the iceberg on what is really inside. I guess in some sort of psychological cover up, me being strange and over sharing is a subconscious way of weeding out the people that I don’t really need in my life. Like “Hey, I’m weird. Can you deal? Ok, we’re cool.” Because if you can deal with the abstract oddities that come out of my mouth, maybe, juuuuust maybe, one day, if I so find you privileged, you can deal with the “unbelievable-lifetime movie- this can’t be real” shit I have lived through.
Now I won’t bore you with the details of my past (ha, who am I kidding, I could get a job at lifetime and have enough scripts in my head to sustain the network for several years), but for the purpose of your understanding, I will privilege you with a seriously condensed version of how I have landed here, in bed, at 10:19 am, trying to decide between blackberry whiskey, xanax, or a really long run.




Ok, ready? Here we go. Baby is born to a really messed up mother. Said child’s mother attempts suicide multiple times before being institutionalized and then bouncing in and out of the house for the next several years. Said child’s father can’t deal and doesn’t come home very often, many times just staying at work all night, every night. Said child is now 14 and spending many days tending to two younger brothers alone. Said child has somehow morphed into an 18 year old with a litany of traumas and absolutely no knowledge of the real workings of the world. Said 18 year old meets 26 year old guy who takes her in, convinces her that she doesn’t know what unconditional love is (truth) and that he will show her (lie), and said 18 year old grows into a 21 year old naive adult that jumps head first into a horror that most couldn’t imagine.

Now I can imagine what you are picturing right now, that child, the one that shows up dirty for school, too small clothes, bruises covering her tiny body, why didn’t anyone notice her? 

Erase that.

That is partly what is wrong with society these days, people expect to be able to recognize abuse, its dirty right? The kids smell? They are super skinny? Well here is a reality check for you. Be prepared, I am about to blow your mind. Sometimes, those abused kids, they are in ballet. They are on the swim team. They run track. They go on mission’s trips all over the country. Their family has money. They have no shortage of friends. Yet those same kids, they stand outside the school asking other parents to take them home. They get home after swim practice and collect their little brothers from the neighbors. They insist on going in the house first, because you never know when you might find mom near dead after another failed suicide attempt. They make dinner, digging through the bag of food the church has dropped off, looking for something they recognize. They do the laundry, help the little’s with their homework, give baths, and then at about midnight, they start their own homework. At 2am they get to climb into bed so that they can be up at 5am to take the little ones to the neighbors before they catch a ride to 5:45am swim team practice. But hey, everyone is cleaned, dressed, and fed, so they can’t be abused or neglected, right? Because they look fine.

Maybe, just maybe, that oldest child is doing a freaking awesome job of keeping up the façade of a happy, functioning family.



In case you’re a little bit slow (and hey, no judgment here), that “said child,” was me. Yea, I know, there is probably something deeply psychologically wrong with referring to yourself and your past in the third person, but hell, at this point I’m a fully functioning adult who isn’t in a corner rocking and drooling, so I don’t really care to mess around too much with my mental schema at this point. 

Maybe next year.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I am still on topic. Stay with me, because all of that, all that garbage that I have lived through, it has been the foundation of how I got to my proud rape moment. “WHAT!?” you say? Like I said, be patient. Over the years I have developed some crazy awesome coping skills. I was damned from the second I popped out of my mother’s body and have been told from the moment I was born that I was "hard to love." That I was not worth loving. In the chaos and unknowns that were my childhood, the only thing I never doubted, the only constant I had, was the knowledge that I was not wanted.
I remember walking down the aisle on my wedding day, white dress flowing, thanking God that I had made it. I had survived. I was not a casualty of my upbringing, I had gotten out. For the first time in my life, I was loved. I was wanted. And I was thrilled.
The wedding night, I was a virgin. Shocker, I know. I can’t decide if I am the most egotistical person I have ever met, or completely delusional, but I remember, during a particular incident as a small child, consciously realizing that the only person who may ever love me, was going to be me. And I needed to decide right then and there if that was going to be enough, because if it wasn’t going to be enough, I didn’t need to fight to go on, and thankfully, I decided it was. Even if I was only ever enough for myself, I would love me. I was wanted. I wanted me. So I grew up with the utmost respect for myself. Sure, I obviously didn’t understand how to appropriately read other people, but I respected myself. I dated, quite a bit, but never let them cross the virginal line. I wanted to wait, save it all for my husband. Giving my body the same respect that I hoped my husband would have for my body. But it wasn’t meant to be.
The wedding night, I was scared. I was nervous, and for some reason, I really was not feeling good. It was 2am and the limo was coming in two hours to take us to the airport (what idiot books a 6am flight the morning after their wedding). I asked to wait. I wanted to get to our destination and make all the dreams come true that I had implanted in my mind, have the night of my life. What I got was “You have to be fucking kidding me. What about my dreams? It’s every man’s dream to rip the wedding dress off his bride and nail her to a wall.” Only one of us had our dream come true that night, and I’ll give you a little hint. It wasn’t me. It all happened so fast, to this day, I don’t even remember it, any of it, after the initial struggle. He told me how terrible I was, and how I would need to learn to do a lot better if I wanted him to stay with me. It wasn’t rape though, right? I would remember if I had been raped, right?
Shaking, I managed to put on some clothes and off to the airport we went.  What proceeded turned into a trip straight out of a horror movie. It had all the makings of a Hollywood hit. A hurricane, police ordered “stay inside” ordinances, a 104 degree fever, and “sex.” A hell of a lot of it. In the beginning, I cried. I banged on the walls hoping the neighboring room would hear me, but the hurricane was so loud, all you could hear was banging and screaming wind anyways. I fought, until I quickly realized that with a hand around your throat, fighting, is fruitless. It only takes a second to not be able to breathe. When the hurricane was over and we were allowed to go out, I was destroyed, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was sick. So sick. A combination of actual illness and stress. My husband threatened to fly home, leave me there, and tell everyone he didn’t want me. That killed me. No one had wanted me my entire life, and I couldn’t bear going home to my family and having them proved right, as my new husband walked away. So I did whatever he asked me too. The self respect that I had long held onto, it was gone. Surely, if my own mother didn’t want me, and my new husband didn’t want me, the problem was me. I was not good at pleasing my husband. I was not good at doing my job. This was not rape, this was failure.


We went home and life continued on as “normal.” My husband had me un enrolled from college, seeing as I “had no reason to be hanging around with people at school.” I went to work each day as a physical therapy technician, smiley and bubbly as always. The patients would tell my boss that they came in just to see my happy face, that I was never anything but smiling and joyous, that I was the sweetest girl they had ever met and I would go home each night to my house of horrors. I would call my husband on my way home from work and be able to gauge just what kind of night I would have. Would today be a black eye night? Or would I be doing my “job,” as he called it? I stopped fighting completely. I felt numb. It was as if I would walk through the door each night and my brain would shut off. I was taught many “lessons” in those first few years. I was apparently a slow learner, but I exceeded expectations in one area. I learned how to take a hit like a man pretty damn fast. Most nights, to avoid any physical altercations, I would just get home, remove my clothes, and climb into bed. The word “breathe” written in permanent marker on my wrists became my focal point each night as I would brace my hands on the wall behind my head, so that my head wouldn’t slam into it with each thrust, the force that was my husband. I don’t really ever remember crying, but I know that I must have been because at least once a “session” I would catch a backhand while he screamed “do you have any idea how ugly and unattractive you look crying? I can’t even finish because my damn wife won’t do her job without crying like a baby and this is why it’s impossible to love you.” But I never said no. I said “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” That’s not rape, right? I took off my own clothes. I didn’t say “no.” That’s not rape.
A year into the marriage, that little nagging bit of self respect that I had left, it screamed a little louder after a particularly rough and frightening experience. I went to the police, and through my humiliated and sobbing tears, recounted my story. They called my husband on the phone and he came down to the station. They put me in the lobby of the police station and took him into the back. To this day, I still have no idea what he told them, but when I was called back into the tiny little cinder block room, the two male officers asked me if I was sure I wanted to press charges. That sometimes new brides are just nervous, that sex does hurt until you get used to it, that having him arrested would ruin his life. I said yes, I wanted to press charges. The two officers sat in chairs facing me, reminding me how much that would impact his life, and did I want to go home to think about it? Finally, after two hours, I realized what I had believed all along. I was wrong, I never should have come. This was not rape.
My husband was so angry at me, when he got home that night I will never forget the look in his eyes, seething with rage as he said between gritted teeth, “if that’s rape, you sure are an easy rape.” He was right. I didn’t fight. I had long since stopped saying no. This was not rape. And if it was, I probably deserved it.
Years went by. Two children were conceived, I stopped working. I spent my days parenting children, teaching Sunday school, attending toddler music classes and ballet, and doing everything in my will power not to let the outside world know what was going on in my home. Yet each night, the horror’s continued. I would spend my days fantasizing about how I could escape. Flee with my children, run away to a new life, but mostly, I thought about how I could do better. How I could be the wife and the person that I was supposed to be. How I could stop being such a failure. Then one day my infant son was the recipient of a black eye. I went to my “parents,” as I had many times before, and I told them I needed out. I was willing to move back into that hell of a home to save my children. My father told me that I would not shame the family by getting divorced. My mother told me that if I was doing a better job pleasing my husband, maybe he wouldn’t be so stressed. I didn’t know what to do. At this point, he was cheating on me with people he was finding off of craigslist, he was coming home high, and he wasn’t going to work. Then one day, he just never came home and that was that.
The legal process dragged on and it took a toll on me. I had a fantastic attorney that figuratively held my hand through the entire process, but it was rough. The morning of each court date I felt sick to my stomach. It didn’t help that it’s a several block walk from the parking garage to the courthouse. Do you know what kind of people hang around outside courthouses? Creepy ones. The second I would step out of the parking garage and onto the street it would start. “Hey pretty lady, why don’t you let me show you a good time?” “A girl like you shouldn’t be walking alone, let me walk with you.” And then of course there were the ones that just whistled at you, made animal noises, or walked by just close enough to grab your ass. Most times I would stand in the parking garage doorway until I saw another attorney walk by and then “stalk walk” directly behind him to the courthouse. For some reason just walking around with a dick gives you an invisible form of protection, and walking next to one makes you a little more off limits. But most days that didn’t happen and I would walk alone, feeling totally defeated by the time that I even got to the courthouse steps, already being reminded that in a lot of eyes, I was nothing more than a sex toy, an available body, and I hadn’t even gotten into court yet to face my soon to be ex. Several times I yelled back at the hecklers, many times amused by whatever witty comment I shot back. I would recount the story to friends later, and was never anything but amazed at their responses. “Why do you even talk to them? Just leave them alone.” Excuse me? I’m being chastised for defending my honor? This, THIS is what is wrong with society. Why am I being taught to just grin and bear it? Shove it down? Pretend that it doesn’t bother me? Why am I more of the issue then the person who is degrading me??? Most times I would leave the courthouse and walk back to the parking garage with my attorney, fearful my ex would be waiting for me. You know how many times I was cat called while with him? NONE. I was not blessed with the super power that is man junk. Totally ridiculous.



Now I’d love to end my story with, “and I got divorced, the community took care of us and got us back on our feet, and we lived happily ever after,” but while that is partly true, there have been some major setbacks. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t have at least one person tell me how amazing I was. Strong. “An inspiration.” That’s a lot to live up too! Somehow through all of this, I was happy. I have surprisingly always been a happy person. I can find the good in any situation, and it is rare to catch me without a smile. I believe that everything, even the bad, has a purpose, and I try to find a way to turn that into a positive. But my friends, they didn’t know the truth. I didn’t even know the truth. A year went by and I felt stronger than ever. I got my groove back so to speak. Or maybe, for the first time, I got my groove.
I threw myself into everything I did. I lost 60 pounds of post baby weight and worked out until my tiny 5’3  #105 body was stronger than ever. I became the parent I had always wanted to be, mixing goji berries and chia seeds into the kids organically pureed homemade yogurt and kale smoothies and washed their hair with expensive organic shampoo. We worked on flashcards at dinner and talked about life value lessons while snuggled up in bed. Because of our early wake up time, my kids went to bed at 6pm. By 6:30 the sitter would be there and I’d be off, whether it be to a comedy club with a friend or a concert with a date, for the first time in a while I had a raging social life, and I loved every minute of it. But deep down, I wondered, would anyone like me if they knew the truth? Did I even know the truth? Late nights were spent with friends sprawled out on my floor, wine in hand, long talks into the mornings, so deeply connected we all were, but never, NEVER, could I share THOSE secrets.



I did my best to heal myself, and in turn, help others. I volunteered to help abused and abandoned women get back on their feet, just as so many others had helped me. But I was shocked, that only after working with other abuse victims, did I realize that I was in fact, not just abused, but that I had been raped. I think the first time I ever uttered the word “rape” in relation to myself, my lunch came out with the word. I started taking pride in myself, the solidarity of the other women made me feel empowered. I realized, for the first time, that I was sexy. I have a sexy body. And I enjoy doing sexy things with it. Not with just anyone, only a select few, but hell, if I say pull the car over, lets pull the car over. And that is ok!! For the first time in my life, it was about me. ME. But the rape? That was my shame to bear alone. It had been my fault because I had done nothing to stop it. I had gotten myself raped. I had allowed it. And I just needed to get over it.
My ex? He didn’t go away. He broke into the house several times, he stalked me relentlessly, and after he got out of jail for not paying his child support, he got someone else involved to come after me. Who? I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted too, I truly don’t know. I can only assume it is someone involved in his drug circle. I went to the police multiple times. I called the state’s attorney and the domestic abuse hotlines. I needed help, and not one damn fucking person could help me. I’ll spare you the details because at this point they are irrelevant, but eventually I was assaulted by this unknown man. I didn’t even know what to do. I was so ashamed, and thanks to my past, I was so easily able to disconnect during the attack that I was unsure of what had actually happened, so much so that I didn’t even go to the police. If the police didn’t believe me when I had all the facts, they sure as hell wouldn’t believe me when I had none of them. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal. People have sexual encounters every day. I’ll just chalk this up to a bad one and move on. Forget the total loss of control over your body, or the terror, fear, pain, and horror that accompany it, it’s just sex, right?
I decided to get an order of protection against my ex husband, hoping that it would make the police take the situation more seriously. The whole process was a nightmare from beginning to end, and at one point a note was left on my car while I was in my attorney’s office, threatening that if I didn’t stop talking to the police that “the next time I see you more than just me will be shoved down your pretty little whore’s throat.” I can only assume that it was the stranger guy. I sat in the attorney’s office with two male attorneys and a male police officer, and I couldn’t even bring myself to make eye contact with anyone. I was so filled with shame, and truthfully, I felt like a whore. What kind of girl lets guys do this to her and doesn’t do anything about it? A whore. A slut. Me.



The morning of the hearing, I sat in the back of the courtroom while my ex made kissing motions towards me. I ran to the bathroom sure I was going to throw up, and for a minute actually thought I was going to pass out before sitting on the bench in the hallway and nearly hyperventilating. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I knew that I owed it to myself to follow through, and so I walked back into the courtroom. For the first time in my entire life I admitted in public that I had been sexually abused. The order was granted and I left, wanting to feel victorious, but feeling scared for any repercussions that might come of it.
A few weeks went by, a few strange things happened, but mostly, I hoped that for once, it was over. I could put the horrors behind me and move on. Until that night.

That night. The night the doorbell rang and I opened the door. The night that stranger guy pushed his way into my house. The night I was raped. Now this, this is how a rape is supposed to happen, right? This is what us girls have been taught, and prepared for. A stranger enters your home, sexually assaults you, and then runs away into the night. This is rape, right? But is it still rape if you didn’t do anything? If you just froze while being pushed against a wall? If you didn’t scream for fear you would wake your children and have them witness such horror? Is it still rape if you didn’t do ONE. DAMN. THING. to stop it???? Is it still rape if you aren’t even really sure it happened?


And what do you do next, when your neighbors are banging on your door, asking if you are ok, and the only thing you want is for them to go away, because they can’t know the truth? What if you can’t open the door, you are too ashamed, too embarrassed, what if you don’t want your neighbors thinking of you vulnerable and scared, naked with a stranger's dick inside of you? What if you are now curled up in a ball on the floor, hiding under a blanket, and the only thing you can process is “did that really just happen?” What do you do if after an unknown amount of time you realize the police are outside, so you mindlessly put your shirt back on (inside out and ripped from collar to navel), open the door and are forcibly yanked outside, wanting to know if the perpetrator is in the house, all the whilst standing near topless in front of your neighbors while you literally cannot utter one single word? And what do you do if you are seated in a chair while six male officers demand to know what is going on, and while you hear what they are saying, all you see is guns and male genitalia? What do you do when they are asking you if you are sure it wasn’t consensual, like maybe, because you like sex, maybe you were ok with stranger sex?

What do you do when they are ransacking your home and asking you to remove your clothes, are trying to take pictures of your body, and telling you there are no female officers available? What if the only thing you can actually remember is the smell of stranger guy’s cigarette and gum breath as he whispers “he was right, you are an easy rape” into your ear? How can you possibly repeat that to a room full of men without looking like the slut that you are? What do you do when the only thing you want to do is take a shower, climb in bed, and shut out the horror of the day? When you hear yourself refusing to go to the hospital for a rape kit because every fiber of your being cannot imagine someone touching you?  When you feel like you may actually stop breathing. What do you do when the next day your neighbors refuse to talk to you because you scared them and you wouldn’t go to the hospital, I mean come on, there is a crazy rapist running around. Load your guns, hide your wives, the bitch next door didn’t go to the hospital and let you scrape invisible condom covered DNA out of her vagina so SHE MUST BE SHUNNED. What do you do when you realize that all the fears you have harbored your entire life about how people will react when they find out, have actually been true?

You start to wonder if you can go on. If by some freak force of the universe, you have survived when nature intended to weed you out. You start to think that maybe, you are, and always will be, fighting a losing battle. You can’t keep starting over. Everyday cannot be a new start to your life. You cannot possibly wake up every day and think “Ok, new life plan!” It sounds good in theory, but let me tell you, it’s exhausting.
I’ll tell you what you do. You reevaluate. Again. But this time, you have nothing left to hide. There are no more secrets in the closet, no more skeletons to hide. Everyone knows. Word spreads fast. There is no damage control to be done on this one. You have to make a decision. Own it, or give up and die. 

I chose die. I chose die, and then I saw the sweet little face of my precious five year old daughter. I was crying on the couch and she threw her arms around my neck and whispered into my ear the very same thing that I have whispered in her ear every night of her life since the day she was born. “You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because YOU. ARE. LOVED.”
At that moment, I chose own it. I chose live. I chose life. I choose my life.
I drafted an email. I sent it to some of my friends. I explained my past, what had been going on, what had happened, the choice that I had made, and that I needed help. I was terrified. My whole life I have been a master of disguise, smiling on the outside, and screaming on the inside. The wall had crumbled, there was no holding it back. Within hours people started showing up. Hugs, wine, chocolate, diapers, money, and support. They coaxed me into the shower, cleaned my house, forced some food into me, and took my children to give me a break. They jumped into action setting up a safety check-in phone tree, and changing my locks. I went to the doctor and had emergency STD and HIV testing done (update, it was clean thank gosh). I went down to the police station, told my story over and over as asked, looked at mug shots, and let them once again look over my body. It was hard. So hard. It all took place in a cinder block interrogation room. No sweet female officers, no social workers holding my hand, nothing like how it is portrayed on TV. Two male officers that asked me questions that would make nuns drop dead. But yet, it felt right to cooperate. And when it starts to not feel right, I will stop. And I will not be ashamed, and I will not feel bad. Because it’s about me. It’s my rape. It’s my body. I am not a whore. I did not choose this. I reacted in a way that allowed my brain to disengage from the human carnage that was taking place AND THAT’S OK.
And that little neighbor friend of mine who isn’t speaking to me because I didn’t go to the hospital? 

Fuck you.



I’m sorry that I didn’t handle it in the way that you would have. I’m sorry that I am not as smart and brave as you. I’m sorry that I have spent my time cleaning your house and watching your daughter for free so that maybe on the fourth try, you can actually pass the “care and compassion” part of your nursing exam boards. That irony is not lost on me. Yet, because you are not only a woman, but a human, I pray that you never have to find out how you would react in that situation.



So here I lay, it’s now 4:16 pm. I’ve been writing this entire time. It feels good. It’s about me. It’s the story of my rape. It’s the choices that I made, it’s the choices that I stand by, and I refuse to apologize to anyone for them. I am going to raise my daughter in a way that I wasn’t raised, to respect herself and her body, and to know that if anyone crosses that line, IT IS NOT HER FAULT. If she doesn’t want to be heckled at, she has a right to defend her honor. If she wants to have sex at an appropriate age, no one has a right to pass judgment on what she does with her own personal body (please God, don’t ever let her want to have sex). In a weird, twisted, disgusting way, I am thankful for that last rape. I am thankful for Tuesday night at 7:50pm. Because of that night, my secrets were exposed, my skeletons were pulled out of the closet, and there was no turning back. I was forced, once and for all, to look back at my sexual history and realize, I DID NOTHING WRONG. For the first time in my life, my friends know all of me. All about me and you know what? They love me anyways. For the first time in my life, I know that I am loved for who I am, not just for whom I want them to think I am, but who I really, truly, am. It’s just really sad that I had to get raped to figure that out, but hopefully, for all the women out there that have yet to realize what I should have realized a really, really, long time ago, this can be the wake-up call that it is not your fault. You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because
                                                             
YOU. ARE. LOVED.