“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
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What hurts so bad? The only language I have is, “I hurt so bad.” Exhale………..
Do I dare?
I have dared many times. I’ve entered the dark hurt, the grief, the abandonment, the insecurities, the bad choices, the addictions, and the lost love. I’ve allowed the hurt to surface. I’ve worked diligently at forgiving, knowing my spirit had been crushed. I was pretty certain my inner work was to focus on forgiving myself, forgiving others. I’ve made it my sole focus.
I’ve forgiven my father. I’ve forgiven my lovers. I’ve forgiven myself. My spirit feels as if it is mending. Progress feels very real – yet stalled. There’s more. Oh yes, there’s much more. The hurt. The absolute gut wrenching morbidity in which certain situations render me almost emotionally paralyzed. It seems all that active forgiveness work, hasn’t yet healed the darkest of hurt.
What it did do, however, has led me to this moment in which I can now set free that hurt. I now understand how burying it for so long does not mean I healed it. It means I hid it. My greatest shame of all.
Let’s take a minute to enjoy true irony here (and me a moment to breath)…. Talk about total insanity. I’m about to share my darkest of memories and experiences with the world. It feels like I am breaking all the rules of the traditional and conventional etiquette. Yet I do recognize it for what it is…. a miracle, a prayer answered.
Can the woman who committed five years ago to creating structures founded on truth, transparency, and compassion, expect anything less? A shout-out to the divine, as I sit for a moment in complete gratitude, and awe, for the gift, this opportunity to free myself, truly is.
I’m struggling a bit on who should tell this story. Should it be ‘me’, the forty-year-old strong, vibrate devoted mother I am today? Or should it be ‘her’, the young, beautiful, wishful, high-school freshman to whom experienced it first hand?
I’ll start. I can sum it up much simpler than ‘she’ can.
I was raped.
The very first time I ever had sex with a man (boy), I was not conscious, or able to stop it from happening.
Breath…………………………. F*ck! Yuck! Gross! Why? Really? NO!
I was raped. I have never said that out loud. With this now only being the second time I‘ve written it (above), I have NEVER identified it as a part of my “story”. I have excused it away, I made peace with it, I rationalized it, or so I thought. It wasn’t violent. I have no real memory of the act, just the aftermath and all the hurt which followed. Hurting myself, and not healing.
It was 1992. I was a high school freshman, fifteen or sixteen years old. I had a wonderful group of girlfriends, of which many are still my very best friends to this day. We were a social group. Some of us with steady boyfriends, others not. I was one of the others. I had many guy friends. We would go to the movies, dances, to the mall, as normal teens do. A few of my friends were sexually active at the time, I was not.
The story is tragically similar to the ever so familiar after-school-special, we Gen X’ers remember all too well. It’s the story where the best friend’s parents are out of town and a group of teenagers throw their first party. Thinking it’s a brilliant idea, they raid the liquor cabinet, even contriving to refill vodka bottles with water. To say things got out of hand is an understatement. For what memories remain, this turns out to be the most devastating night of my life.
I remember doing shots of vodka. I remember drinking anything I was handed, white, dark, mixed… we had no idea what we were doing. I know now my consumption was probably lethal, but I didn’t know then. There came a point when I recall not being able to function. I remember so much noise, so many people, such chaos.
My girlfriend’s bedroom was in the basement of the house. A room with no windows I recall. A room I could escape to, with no lights, no noise, I could sleep. I do remember crawling into the bed. Again, very cliché as it was the early nineties, it was a waterbed. I remember lying there feeling so sick and wishing more than anything that the bed beneath me would stop moving. I settled myself at some point, or I just passed out – blacked out.
When my eyes re-opened, something was terribly wrong. I was paralyzed with fear. Just as my fingers are now, and words are not coming to mind, I am now, and I was then, paralyzed. In pain. The pain was so intense I couldn’t move. Just as it is NOW.
The rain of tears, the fear, the uncertainty, the darkness. As I mentioned, the room was so dark I had no idea if it were day or night. I had no idea how long I had been in that room. I had no idea why my body felt as if someone had beaten me from the inside out.
My mind started trying to work for me. The physical pain from whatever had happened, along with the knowing that I couldn’t trust my mind, made me weep. I was scared. I knew something was terribly wrong. It wasn’t until I become conscious of the blood between my legs that I then collapsed in complete fear, and was paralyzed by the truth.
I got myself up and opened the door to the room, realizing it was morning. I went into the master bath and drew myself a hot bath, needing to soak my pain filled body. I cried and I cried. I wanted it to not be true. I was starting to have faint memories of who he was, and what may have happened.
He was my ‘friend’. I think I remember him coming into the room and I remember him saying something to me. The memory is so faint that I couldn’t put it all together. How could I remember hearing his voice, and not remember participating in whatever it was that was making the physical pain in my body so terrible.
It wasn’t long until the others in the house started to wake. I was so scared. I needed help. I needed to be protected. Should I tell my friends? Would they believe me? It’s not even worth writing about what I was thinking at that point, it only matters what actually happened next.
He had already told many, that we had sex. For all I know, he walked right out of the room and celebrated the feat. I could then only be honest and say I didn’t remember it, but I knew something had happened. I wanted my best friend to protect me. We were so young. She was more worried about cleaning up the house, and protecting herself from her parents. That morning was filled with just as much chaos as the night before, the house was demolished.
I can’t really write much more on this, as it just turned into an inward shame I carried for decades. I never told my mother or any other adult. I just worked so hard to pretend it never happened. I buried it, yet the shame plagued me.
That shame first turned into drinking more and more, having random sexual relationships with men I knew didn’t love me, to then bulimia in college, and a spiral of bad choices and addictions.
But then I grew up, got married, (and divorced), gave birth to the love of my life (a son), enjoyed a successful corporate career, have lots of loving friends and family, and have done lots of inner work to heal those wounds, or so I thought…
But yet, it wasn’t until I was ready and willing to reopen that root wound, could I have ever understood the answer to the one question which still haunts me consistently … What hurts so bad?
This same hurt comes up, and that same paralyzed feeling, when someone who is to be my friend, who proclaims to love me, hurts me.
That hurt comes up when something occurs that is out of my control and I can’t do anything to make the circumstance different than what they are.
That hurt comes up when I feel there is no one to protect me. That little girl so badly wanted someone there to protect her, but she was all alone.
I share this story as step one into releasing the hurt. My prayer is that other woman will be willing to come forward and expel their hurt. My prayer is to continue writing beyond this hurt and help the parents of today ensure this doesn’t happen to their little girls. My prayer is to work directly with fathers, and men of today, to protect and honor the little girls in their life.
My father ran out, never to return when I was only five years old. The absence of a father’s love, in a little girl’s life, leads to heartache beyond repair.
My prayer is to be the woman, who encourages even just one man, to stand up and advocate against the predators who violate a woman’s body, her heart, or her civil rights. My prayer is to protect other little girls from being hurt at the hands of those who feel they can dominate.
There must be a call to action, led by honorable MEN of today. My prayer is to be the woman who ignites this action.