Friday, February 17, 2017

My Biggest Regret

There are few things I regret in life, but he is one of them. I have no doubt in my mind that I was ready for such a huge step. I felt no shame, no guilt, and at first I felt euphoric.

Slowly those feelings changed to fear, helplessness, and deceit. He hid his true colors well and I realized it too late; by then he already manipulated me into thinking it was my fault, that I was to blame, that I secretly wanted it and was just playing hard to get.

Health class never prepared me for this. My mother wasn’t even able to prepare me for this. She told me all the emotional side effects sex can have on an individual and on a relationship. Possessiveness, guilt, shame, lust, euphoria, aggressiveness, and acceptance were all talked about. However, I don’t think any level of discussion could’ve prepared me for the intensity of the emotions that ensued.

Months after the first offense, I could still feel the burning sensation of his hands on my wrists. The bruises I tried so hard to hide finally faded away, but I could still feel their aching pain on my thighs. Tears would stream down my face with no other provocation than haunting memories of my screams being muffled- first by his hand, then by his pillow. Sleepless nights filled with terrors tormented me night after night. I struggled to find the positive side of anything. Depression gripped me harder than I wanted to admit to anyone, especially myself.

I felt all this pressure from friends to stay with him. They saw him as charismatic, funny, and sweet. They didn’t know him the way I knew him. The constant pressure I felt was the only reason I stayed. I knew my friends put our relationship on a pedestal, I thought that I would’ve failed them in some way if I had left him sooner, made them lose hope in finding a decent relationship in high school. That was one of my biggest mistakes, putting their happiness before mine on a matter that was so intimate and personal, on a matter that they weren’t even involved in.

The second offense affected me even worse, echoing my fears louder than before. The possessiveness became overbearing; the aggression was torturous. I had no idea what he was capable of until I denied him for the first time. Yes, he previously had consent, and I wish he never did. If he had never gotten my consent in the first place, maybe he wouldn’t have thought of me as property. Maybe I wouldn’t have suffered as long as I did from how unpredictable his moodiness became.

            I used to think that having a “grown-up” relationship would help me age faster, wishing that I could reach adult-age sooner than my peers, but I was naive. That naivety cost me parts of my sanity and my innocence.

Repairing that kind of emotional damage has been difficult. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), commonly found in war veterans and not in teenage girls, but little did I know that I was also fighting a war. Intimacy became a chaotic entity, something that was attainable by few, something that was deceitful to many. My body was no longer a sacred space, it was no longer appreciated and loved by me, it was a dilapidated war zone that had seen one too many bombs, and it seemed irreparable. I only wish I would’ve seen the abusive signs sooner, said no instead of yes earlier, hadn’t been so naive. I wish I had accepted the help of those around me and told them the truth. I remember my mom reading my texts and asking why I apologized to him so much. I regret giving her an excuse and not telling her that I felt like I was dancing on eggshells.

Learning about the emotional side effects of sex is not a lesson that can be taught by anyone, but has to be experienced individually because it’s circumstantial and it’s different for everyone.

At age fifteen, I was raped twice and the emotional fallout that followed left me cruel and even more jaded than I already was. The girl who was once confident became insecure yet again. I forgot what happiness felt like for days at a time, until he was particularly sweet to me, and then his horns would show yet again. It was a vicious cycle, but he knew everything about me, he knew every insecurity, every heartbreak, every action, every lie I’d ever told. He knew me better than I knew myself and he used that as a weapon.

I know I said no. I know I was audible about not wanting what he wanted in that moment up until he smothered my protests. In those moments, my voice did not matter. My body was not mine in his eyes. It was his. At first, it scared me. At first I didn’t know what to do. My brain put my body into a dissociative state to protect me and my memories. I felt as though I wasn’t in my body and seeing everything happen to a girl that looked like me. This hindered any sort of coping for a long while, even after the second time. Once I broke up with him, I remember feeling stressed out the majority of the next few months without knowing why.

Finally, I kept having dreams that felt more real than a normal dream and confided in my now-boyfriend and my mom who both told me what it was that I had experienced. I was shaken to the core. Memories and pain flooded back to me.

 Realization fueled a fire in me that was bigger than him, bigger than myself, bigger than the crime he committed against me. I have never been more determined to take back what is and has always been mine. I am working on loving myself for who I am and my body for what it is, giving up the shame and guilt I’ve carried for so long, and empowering myself and women around me.

There are few things I regret in life, and he is one of them.

My name is Kacie. I'm 18 and attending NWACC for my general education before switching schools. I like makeup, writing, and video games. I also believe that the best way to combat ignorance is to inform and give patience without being condescending or aggressive. I also love animals, specifically dogs.

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