I was talking to a friend the other day who had a very burdened mind. I told her that the way I unburden…is to write a blog post. Of course, she rolled her eyes. But she must have thought about it. Because I received this in my email. She really needs the feedback. Her heart and head are very heavily weighed down. I promised her anonymity. I promised her my friends wouldn’t judge. And they would be gentle. And they would offer the best advice or just a big virtual hug.
I remember the first time vividly.
The air smelled of lilacs, wafting in and out of the open windows.
I remember the rustling of my dress, the feel of his breath on my neck, his hands on my waist, my legs tangled with his.
And after all the “I love you’s,”, and all the promises of forever, it was over before it had practically begun.
The realization hit: I was no longer a virgin.
And just like that, I was sexually active. I planned, I took my birth control pill like clock work at 11 a.m. I always carried condoms because I had heard that the line “Oh, I forgot one,” was often uttered one too many times, and I swore I would never fall victim to that line. I was selective, I was careful, I was safe. But even then, while it was still enjoyable, I didn’t know how to do it, I didn’t know how to control it myself, it was all him and his own moves.
Then I went to college, and I met my ex.
He was everything I had ever wanted. We weren’t even together three weeks before plunging headfirst into a sexual relationship. Before long, I had fallen for the “I forgot one,” line, but we were in a monogamous relationship, so it was okay, right? I convinced myself that he was the only one for me, and I fell hard. The kind of love that knocks the breath out of you, the kind of love that makes you feel as if you are in a constant high.
Almost suddenly, it changed.
Sex became an act that I did to save myself from being ripped to shreds, physically and mentally. And then, sex became a part of the abuse. The sexual abuse started quickly, almost like a landslide, barreling downwards. It was terrifying, that feeling of falling, knowing there was no net to catch me. My life was careening out of control, and I was losing everything I had worked so hard to protect and keep. My grades, my college social life, it was gone. I had nothing to protect me, no one to help me. The only choice I had left was that little 11 a.m. pill. It was my only saving grace, and even then, it wasn’t enough.
The cheating began shortly after the abuse, and our relationship kept swirling down into the depths of hell, as I clung to whatever praise I could muster from him. I kept telling myself he didn’t mean it, he loved me, he cared about me, and this wasn’t him. But it was.
Then he was gone.
My life was in a thousand pieces, shattered around me, like broken glass when I discovered cocaine.
Suddenly, my control was back. Suddenly, I had my life back in my own hands.
I was on a road to self-destruction. If he couldn’t kill me, I was going to do it myself. I started using a lot of different drugs. I started putting myself into situations that I was sure I wouldn’t get out of alive, and when I did make it out alive, I started getting angry.
And the anger just kept coming, in wave after wave, as I started to understand the magnitude of the abuse I had incurred, and it was only then, that I realized the actual amount of therapy and help I would need to heal.
You would think that would have been enough of a wake up call, but it wasn’t. I just kept challenging myself. I started doing the cocaine more frequently, mixing with tequila, vicodin, or vodka, or taking them all by themselves, in all sorts of increments. And with the drugs, came incredible amounts of sex.
I’m going to be completely honest.
The sex was freeing, at first. It was finally an act that I had control of. And take control I did. I’m not going to get into numbers, not because I am embarrassed, but believe it’s not really necessary to know. I took my freedom, and I ran with it. It was the only way I could try and recover from the abuse that I had suffered for a long period of time. It became a game, who to take home, how to make it seem like I cared about the person, in order to add one more success to my long list of hurts. The more numbers I added, the more amounts of drugs I threw into my system, hoping for that deadly combination at some point.
The game ended pretty quickly, due to a number of reasons that are for another post, at another time.
And then, I met my fiancé. When I met him, I wasn’t looking for a relationship; I had been officially clean for almost 11 months, and was in intensive therapy. I wanted someone I could have a good time with, and fuck on the side. Instead, he took me on a date. And at the end of that date, I didn’t even receive a kiss. I was mortified, irritated, and frustrated. He called again, and we had another date. This continued for almost 6 weeks before we spent the night together, and when we did, we didn’t even have sex. The events of the past had finally caught up with me, and I made an utter ass out of myself by having a breakdown in front of him. He stayed. He held me, he told me he loved me, and he meant it. All it took was for me to believe him.
I regret that point of my past so much. I wish I could say that I chose the right path. I wish I didn’t feel the need to still feel ashamed at myself for the path I chose to actually take. I wish I could stop beating myself up for the way that I reacted to my newfound freedom. I wish I was strong enough to stop the cycle before it got as bad as it did.
But I got out. I’m alive. And that is something.
I still struggle; some days I don’t want to believe that I deserve someone who loves me, someone who doesn’t use sex as a tool to get what he wants. But then I think about all that I had to overcome to find him. Through hard work, through copious amounts of therapy, and talking, we have found a healthy balance when it comes to sex. I trust him completely. There is no power struggle, no need for control. It’s a healthy amount of give and take.
And it’s a beautiful thing.