“One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the Courage to let go of what you cannot change..”-Unknown
Where to begin….in all honesty I have tried to write about this for over three years in hopes of helping another person who has gone through something similar and to show strength when there was a point that I was very very weak. I have tried to write a book for well over five years with no such luck because I can never figure out where to begin, what is telling too much, is it even a good idea to share, will there be repercussions, will people get mad at me, what will people think of me, will I be labeled as an attention whore, so on and so forth. Please know this is not for attention, I could care less about that, I just hope that this finds someone who really needs to read these words, it may save their life. I had to be my own words, I had to save myself but if I can save someone from hell I will put myself out there to do so. So fuck society and judgey bullshit. This is me, raw, and unedited.
I can tell you that I have spent a vast majority of my life living in fear and guarding my heart from the bullshit that life can throw at us. I am deciding that it is time to just open myself up and let it all pour out. Am I terrified? Yes, more than anyone can imagine but I have felt for a long time that this is a story that needs to be told and I am not ashamed of it any longer. I can remember this like it was yesterday, with that being said I will try not to let this get too spacey but some of these details I feel are important and some of it comes back to me in flashes so bare with me. So here it goes….
I was five years old. I was very tiny, long blonde hair halfway down my back, bright and shining blue eyes. A little girl with the whole world waiting to be explored, tea parties to be had, beating up imaginary bad guys, and lots and lots of singing. I loved to sing. I used to always do what I was told by whoever told me what to do. I was a goody good you could say. I liked to make other people happy, it was fun making people smile, plus I hated to get into trouble and still to this day hate conflict.
I remember it was a particularly special day because our cousins were coming over. I can’t remember if there was a reason why but they lived in Colorado Springs so seeing them was always something my siblings and myself looked forward to. My mom dressed me up in my favorite pink t-shirt and pink skirt with white frilly lace at the bottom. I liked watching it twirl as I spun in circles. I was happy.
We had a two story house and my big brother’s room was in the far end of our basement, it was a pretty plain room if I recall correctly, he had a stereo in there, at this point he had a futon bed so he was super cool (cue exaggerated eye roll). He also had one of those super high tech eye hook locks attached to his door so he was super fricken cool, let me tell ya hahaha. (can you hear the sarcasm in this?! lol) In the big open area before you got to his room was essentially a playroom equipped with a t.v., couch, and many other toys belonging to all three of us kids.
Jason; my big brother, was 16 so naturally this was the coolest place for a 16 year old boy to be. My brother was playing his playstation(pretty positive it was a playstation…maybe a nintendo either way it was a gaming console), I couldn’t tell you what game he was playing but I loved watching him kick butt at those video games. He was damn good and I remember wanting to be just as good as him. I looked up to him even though I don’t remember hanging out with him all that much as a kid, he was “too cool” to hang with his little sister. In all honesty I couldn’t blame him there was a HUGE age gap between us and I now understand why it was the way it was… With that being said I will forever be grateful he was at home this particular day. I cringe at the thought of what more could have happend had he not saved me…I honestly still to this day thank god he was there and is my big brother. (Jay if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you for protecting me when I needed to be protected the most. Thank you for being my hero even when I didn’t know it. I love you and I don’t believe I could ever repay you for what you did, I have never forgotten you were there for me.)
Anyways, our cousin “James” I believe was 12 at the time, give or take a year or two. He was a very strange boy to say the least, he actually was SUPER FUCKING CREEPY. He was never my favorite cousin but was family so I just put up with him. A few years after this incident he chased me around the house with a knife. I tried to hide on the couch as he held the knife to my toward my throat and threatened to beat me up and then kill me for no reason….. never told anyone about that either but yeah the fucking guy had issues and then some. A couple years after all this his parents sent him to boot camp and later on he has since been in and out of jail as far as I know…
Sorry got side tracked again but its important to know… So anyways my brother and cousin “James” were in the basement playing video games. I was up and down the stairs until finally I heard my cousin call for me from my brother’s room. Being the happy go lucky, always doing what I’m told itty bitty I skipped down the length of the basement and into my brother’s room. I got to the middle of the room when the door shut behind me. I wasn’t afraid, I honestly didn’t think anything of it. My brother was playing video games too distracted to really notice or really care the door closed. He probably thought nothing of it as well. We all often went into Jason’s room and played pirate games with his futon, crawling under the bed and in between the slats of the bed frame. We’d close the door so if we yelled “ARGG MATEY!!” or whatever other things we could think of it wouldn’t be too loud, so “James” closing the door had no effect on me.
Thinking back to it I recall the stereo being on very low, it was playing slow music. I couldn’t tell you who it was or what kind of music I just remember the radio playing soft slow music. I remember watching my cousin slip the lock into the eye hook. It was too high up for me to reach unless I stood on something. I remember him turning toward me asking if I wanted to play a game, I said sure, I loved games! What 5 year old doesn’t love a fun game right?!
I didn’t know what was about to happen to me, I blocked out a lot of this but I recall being told to lay on the ground, I remember his hands running up my thigh and under my pink skirt and underwear. I remember his hand over my mouth while I tried to push him away, and I remember being absolutely terrified. He raped me….
I don’t remember how long it went on for, I remember it hurt in an area I didn’t know could hurt. I know I cried but it gets a bit black in some areas from here. I remember hearing the door being knocked on and my brother’s voice sounding concerned, then banging on the door, then the sound of the door breaking. I remember crawling from my brother’s closet, I don’t remember how I got in there… I was crying not knowing what just happend, just that my cousin hurt me. I saw my brother’s face upset and pissed off, I assume he knew what just happend when he saw me crawling from the closet. I remember pulling my skirt up and blood. By this point my brother had my cousin by the throat and against the wall before I could fully crawl from the closet and heard my brother yelling for me to go get our mom. I ran as fast as my little legs would let me to the stairs to get my mom….
I don’t remember much after getting to the bottom of the basement stairs. I couldn’t tell you what happend to my cousin after that or what all the adults said or did. I know that NO ONE sat down with me and explained what happend. No one took me to a doctor or professional to work out the emotional toll this took. I know NO ONE kept the kid away from me because as I said before a couple years later he chased me with a damn knife, and I believe he raped me more than just the one time. Much of my childhood is blocked from my memory but with therapy I’ve healed many of those old wounds. And some good along with bad memories have come back to me. Regardless, it was all swept under the rug and even my own mother FORGOT this happend to me.
I know I changed after that day. I was more cautious, I became more of an introvert, I began watching people’s actions more closely in case they tried to get too close. I became mean, I needed a layer of protection from the world, anger made that easy to accomplish.I never have trusted men since, making romantic relationships with them EXTREMELY difficult. I didn’t like people seeing my skin so I never liked to wear dresses, shorts, or skirts, not until I was 20 did I actually feel ok and comfortable in them… I never knew that all of these behaviors were due to this incident of being raped. I thought I was just a weird tomboy chick. I was severely bullied in school so I was always mad and hurt. I wasn’t happy and I was severely depressed throughout a very large portion of my childhood. I didn’t see this “beautiful girl” everyone else claimed they saw, I thought they were crazy or just being nice. I never kissed a boy until I was 16 and you better believe I was called all the names in the book, “prude”,”goodie two-shoes” blah blah blah. I didn’t make friends easily because I don’t trust people. This is still true to this day, though it’s gotten easier. It wasn’t until I was on the verge of a mental breakdown debating ending my life that I found myself in a therapist’s office crying and pleading because I just wanted to know what the hell was wrong with me and why I am the way I am.
It is pretty difficult to type this out because there is so much more I could say that changed inside me after that day, it hurts to admit this happend and that my own flesh and blood really didn’t do anything to help. With the help of my therapist and my amazing sister Athena I have since learned how to forgive. NOT FOR HIM. I forgave the actions he did to me for MYSELF. I had to heal myself. I had to learn what happend to me was NOT ok, it wasn’t something to sweep under the fucking rug and it DAMN SURE WAS NOT MY FAULT. I didn’t ask to be raped. I was a child, I was a happy little girl with the world to explore, who loved her family and wanted to make everyone happy by singing to them. I didn’t get the choice of staying innocent. It was taken from me. I had to heal that as well. I have the scar but for as long as it hindered me I have come to realize that I have become stronger because of it. I learned to turn strife into strength. I sometimes wonder what I’d be like had these things not happend to me but part of me thanks the lessons for building me to be the strong woman I am. I no longer let it rule me, I am free. And I have FINALLY found real love for the first time in my life. I never knew you could enjoy and crave someone’s touch…I thought it didn’t exist….at least for me anyways…
I will tell you that the road to get to this point in my life has been hell. I have been through every emotion imaginable. Bad relationships, burned bridges, hurt myself and those I care about. It took so much work on my part to realize that I am now OK. I found the courage to face my demon, realize it happend and I can’t change that but I can heal from it, and let it go so I can have a future I deserve.. I have spoken with my mother, I brought her to tears… I have not yet spoken to my father about it. It’s not easy looking at the man who raised you and ask him why it was swept under the rug, I know it probably hurts him to know he couldn’t protect his little girl and it will be the hardest conversation of my life but I know for me to fully heal I will have to address him.
I know sharing this is scary, and I have so much more I want to say and explain but I am here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You HAVE to talk about it. You can’t just push it to the back of your mind thinking it will go away because trust me when I tell you that it will fester and it will push its way back into your life in ways you don’t even realize until you are face to face with it. It is NOT your fault whether you are a woman or a man. NO ONE SHOULD TOUCH YOU WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. Your body is YOURS no one else’s. You are worth so much. You have value. You are that beautiful person your friends and family tell you that you are. You don’t have to trust anyone you do not wish to trust and you damn sure are not alone. I am here. I will hold your hand and let you cry and scream. Be angry! Be upset! Feel every fucking emotion you feel and let it all flow through you. Go through every emotion you need to so you can allow yourself to heal even if it’s just a little bit. Know that relationships will be hard, you’ll find toxicity easy and almost comforting because its easier to hate than go through all that baggage to find happiness. I will let you know that you will suffer as long as you let what happend have power over your mind, body, and soul. You CAN heal. You can get back to normal. You will NEVER be 100% the same as before but you can move on. The night terrors fade….no matter what though you are not alone. I am here.
I am still trying to heal and I know that you can too. I can not stress that YOU ARE NOT ALONE enough. And I can not stress that IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT enough either. Don’t let their presumed “power” over you take YOUR LIFE. They took a moment, they don’t get to take the rest of your moments. I hope you find your courage to stand up and say “NO MORE! THIS IS MY LIFE!”. We all deserve the future that we choose. We deserve to know what real love looks, feels, smells, and is.
I hope you find the courage to seek help and talk to someone, EVEN ME! MESSAGE ME ANYTIME, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK TO TALK TO ME. I will message you back, I will listen, I can promise this. I know where you’ve been and while I was very young I remember it. I remember the fear, the pain, the stripping of everything I was, and the starting over. Do not be afraid to reach out to me.
I was very afraid to write this but not for the reasons you think. I believe my biggest fear was because I do not want to be looked at differently than who I am. This moment does not define who I am, it doesn’t make me any less of a person, and I don’t want to be treated as though I am a victim. I am but I am not any longer. I am a Survivor.
[Please note I changed the name of my cousin due to the simple fact that his name is not important for any of you to know. And while I do not care about the individual I am a good person despite the bullshit and won’t give him the satisfaction of having his name on my writing.]