The Theater

I’ve been in theater since 5th grade.  I’ve always loved taking the stage, nailing my lines, hearing the applause when I finish singing.  But you see, my junior year was when I was in theater with him.  And tech week happened to fall during the time that we weren’t “together” and he liked about 5 girls as well as me.  He was so manipulative that week. He’d get me to “talk” in my car with him, he’d dump all his problems like me, and, me being the unfortunately compassionate person that I am, tried to help him.  Even after everything he did to me, I was still trying to fix him.

Theater kids get a bad rap for being promiscuous.  Now, most of the theater kids I know aren’t, but the rumors fly anyway.  Its understandable seeing as a lot of kids end up crushing on cast-mates and we’re all way too physically comfortable around each other, resulting in many cuddle puddles and just random picking each other up and passing people around like toys.  So far, nothing sexual besides jokes.  However, he couldn’t seem to pass up the opportunity of being near me in the pitch black back-stage.  He’d grab me from behind.  I told him not to, so he begged and made excuses until I said yes, tears streaming down my face. Of course, he didn’t see that.  Nor would he have noticed, even if the lights were on.  It was all good and fair in his mind, as long as he made sure to compliment my ass.  But then he started grabbing me from the front too.  I’d shove him, but he’d wait a while and do it again.  Thankfully I only let him get away with that a couple times.

It had been a whole year, but going back to that theater this year brought back so many memories. Everything seemed to trigger my ptsd.  I was constantly freezing up.  I sat in the tiny room that led from the audience to the stairs. It was enclosed by four walls and two doors, so it made me feel safer.  I sat there and cried.  One of my sweet friends came and I cried in her arms for about 20 minutes while pouring out my story. She convinced me to tell one of my closest guy friends.  She thought he’d be understanding and I could definitely use the support, since at this point my best friend was one of only ones keeping an eye on me.  He was one of the main characters, which didn’t give him a whole lot of time, but he tried to snap me out of my freakish flashback trances.  So, convinced by her, I tried to tell my other good friend.  but when I did, he took it really lightly.  I think he thought it was something little, like I had just been groped once or something.  I couldn’t talk about it much, so I don’t know if he’ll ever know.  He’ll probably think I was making a big deal out of nothing and saying I had ptsd when I didn’t.  As if I was over-reacting.  I wish I could’ve told him, but all my words froze up and stuck in the back of my throat. It was like I was drowning while trying to talk to him.  He’ll probably never truly know.

One other person knew that week, and he was my double.  He was really understanding and tried to help me through it.  Everyone tried. I felt so selfish thinking that it wasn’t enough.  But how could it be?  No one there understood and I couldn’t seem to voice it to them.  How am I supposed to explain that I can’t stand big crowds, I’m afraid of people walking behind me, and I flinch when someone touched me?  How do I tell them why church terrifies me because I’m scared he’ll show up there.  How do I tell my mother that I don’t want to go on that church retreat on the off chance that he’ll be there.  Or reason why I associate church, her favorite place, with someone so horrible.  Scenarios run through my head late into the night.  Different places I could see him.  Who might be there to save me.  What he might do to me if no one is there.

I’m scared of so many things now.  Ironically, the dark is not one of them.  The darkness is still my hiding place.  My heavy blanket.  A peaceful calm with enough shadows to shield my body from anyone seeking me out.  A place I sing my beautiful melodies speaking terrible words to no one but the moon. I am hidden there.  I am safe.

The Last Time

The last time I met up with him was in August.  It was just before I had minor surgery.  Actually, the day before.  It was the last time I’d be able to meet with him until I was off meds and could drive again.  He told me he had something important to tell me and that it had to be told in person.  I managed to get away from my parents and go.  It was so stupid.

When I got there, it was the usual procedure.  I go to Starbucks, he’s there, he gets in my car, we “talk”. He started talking and said that he loved me and wanted a second chance. Well, at this point it was more like a hundredth chance.  He said he’d changed.  That World Youth Day had changed him for the better and that he saw all the wrong things he’d done.  I said I was afraid that what had happened the last few times would happen again.  He promised it wouldn’t.  He wouldn’t be into another girl within a week.  He wouldn’t throw me away like trash.

Bullshit.

But I fell for it. And as usual, my clothes started coming off.  Never his though.   He never did anything for me, whether I wanted it or not.  It just wasn’t an option.  Somehow, I ended up with nothing but my underwear.  But this time, for the first time, he took off my bra. He threw it under the car seat and wouldn’t let me have it back.  And then he just stared at me for a while.  I guess I was “beautiful”.  That felt good, no matter how uncomfortable I felt.  He’d convinced me to let him see me like this before, just never without the option of me covering myself.  I was totally exposed and he was between me and my clothes.  Almost all of them. I literally had nothing left but a tiny scrap of cloth between my legs.  Which I suppose Victoria secret models are ok with, but not me.

Of course he kissed me everywhere.  And despite the feeling, I was still uncomfortable. Deep down, I don’t think I believed what he’d promised me. And deep down, I was afraid.   Of him.  I still tried to cover myself with my hands, but eventually he pinned them to my sides.  And he liked that, and definitely let me know.  So it was futile to say no at that point.  As long as he was happy, I should be happy, right?  I’d already pushed so many boundaries, what more was another? But I was so vulnerable.  Honestly, looking back, that was the most dangerous. He could’ve easily gone farther, and I’d be helpless.  Thank God he didn’t.

I asked for my clothes back several times. Each time, the response was “just a little longer”.  He physically wouldn’t let me have them until he’d had his fill of me.  We said goodbye, and I went home believing that maybe we would work out.  That maybe this time, I’d be ok.  This time, someone really loved and wanted me.  Silly girl.

I had my surgery, and we continued texting, but suddenly he got very curt in his responses.  The first night I was off my meds, we talked on the phone.  He told me he was in love with another girl.  And that he had said “I love you” just to get me to go further and do things with him.  He said that. Out loud. As I sat under the shadow of a full moon and cried.  Then he said I’d be fine, that he no longer wanted to talk to me, and goodbye.  I was heartbroken.  I could finally drive again, so I ran away to my friends house where my best friend was, and cried out my broken heart through the strains of a panic attack.

I’m not sure if this time would be considered assault. I did try to stop him, but this was the time it was only physical. And even at that, I didn’t try hard.  It was the last time.  It was over.

There is more to the story, but it is mostly things I still have to fill in the gaps with or get out of my system.  The last posts have been the major plot points in this portion of my life, with the exception of tech week.  Tech week was a mess and is still blurry.  I’ll get that out as it comes to me and as I need it to come out.

As for what happened next, he ignored me. He didn’t talk to me or text me again for a month.  If I had done that to him, he would have been furious and guilted me into talking to him.  But I tried a few times, and he had no interest, so I just let him ignore me.  In hindsight, its part of what helped me completely get over him.  It had taken six days to decide he didn’t want me and move on from what we did.  From what he did.  Just like clockwork.  It was exactly what I was afraid of. And what he’d promised not to do.  But it was the last time.

 

The Party

Believe me, I know this isn’t easy to read.  Especially if you know me personally.  Its hard to write.  Its hard to think about.  I get this horrible feeling in my throat made up half by guilt and half by crying.  I still feel like its all my fault.  Maybe I was too much of a tease.  I was asking for it.  Obviously we were together, and isn’t that what couples do?  I shouldn’t be so uptight about it.  It isn’t that big of a deal, right?  So what if I said no a few times, hell, I asked for it, I deserve it.  And of course it felt good.  Thats how the body is made to respond.  Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing.

I’m sorry, but you have to know.  This is my story.  You have to know me.

There was a time, after a cast party, we went to my car to “talk” so he could say “sorry” and “how much he loved me” for the thousandth time, along with whatever other bullshit lies he could conjure up.  Soon enough, he was on top of me and kissing me.  His kisses kept moving downward.  Down my jaw, down my neck, off my collarbone and onto my breasts. When he started getting close to my nipple I put my hand over myself so he couldn’t.  But he moved my hand.  I asked him not to but all I got was “come on, its fine.  You like it.” He moved my hand again, and what could I do?  I gave up.

I think the worst part about that time was that he was on top of me.  He did things that made me so uncomfortable, and I asked him to stop but he never really listened.  Even if he did stop, it was after several no’s and me threatening to leave.  The thing that scared me most was when he started grinding on me.  I told him to stop and he laughed at me.  I tried to push him off and I couldn’t.  It was then I realized just how much stronger he was.  How much bigger he was.  And he didn’t stop until I started to cry.  Because in that moment I realized that if he wanted to, he could rape me.  And I realized that I wouldn’t put it past him.

He did other things too. He’d take off his shorts, and, even though it was dark, I knew what else he’d pulled out.  He’d take my hand and force me to touch him.  “What, its not a big deal”.  And when he did that, I couldn’t pull away.  His arms are about three times the size of mine. I couldn’t if I tried.  There’s no way he didn’t feel that.  In that moment, there was only one thing he cared about.  And that wasn’t me, what I said, or what I was feeling.  This wasn’t the first time that happened either.  It was simply the scariest.

Of course, just like every other time, within a week he was obsessed with some other girl.  Why I stayed, I don’t know at this point. He was so good with words.  And I was so afraid to hurt him. I couldn’t stand to see him hurting.  I guess I’m just too nice. Because we officially were done after that.  But I still met up with him once more.  Months later.  Why?  I was still hung up on him and his words and the character he’d created for himself.  I knew it was stupid.  But being stupid can be romantic, right?

Again and again until I give up

The next few times we met up are a bit of a blur for me.  The memories are sharp, I just can’t place them in time.  At first he would touch me and I’d move his hand to my thigh instead and tell him no.  It didn’t do much good for me since he never listened anyway.  The first few times I said no close to 8 or so times.  The next time it was fewer.  And less and less until I gave up.  That was it.  I simply gave up.  Why try if it won’t help anything, right?

He grabbed at my crotch several times and I had to struggle to move his hands.  He laughed it off like he was just kidding around.  But he usually focused on my chest.  At first he groped me over my clothes, which made me uncomfortable and I told him not to.  But he was so good with those damn words.  It was always “but you’re so beautiful” “I can’t resist” “come on baby, don’t you love me?” “but it makes me happy, don’t you want to make me happy? If you really loved me then….” and so on. Then he started slipping his hand under my shirt.  I was totally not ready with this, or ok with it at all.  Somehow I managed to convince myself that if it felt good to me then he wasn’t doing anything wrong, even if I didn’t want him to and told him not to.  Maybe he just knew better than me.

Sure enough, the next step was getting rid of my shirt.  He’d toss it on the floor of my car and if I asked for it back or wanted to put it back on he’d just tease me or say “please just a little while longer? I love you!”.  So I stopped trying.

Every time, I refused to take off my bra.  He’d unhook it with an excuse like “oh I just want to give you a back massage and its in the way”.  So I let him, but held on tight to that little scrap of cloth for dear life.  Finally he saw what I’d tried so hard to keep covered.  After that first time, he started to make negotiations like “oh if I do such-and-such then you have to let me look at them for x amount of time” or “come on just like 15 seconds wouldn’t hurt”.  For whatever stupid reason, I let him.  I guess that part is definitely on me.  He didn’t force me into it, but he did manipulate me.  I really really really didn’t want to at first.  But I mean, I did it once and if I do it again then maybe he’ll let it go.  We’d be making out, I’d end up without a shirt, and he’d start pulling at the top of my bra and pull it down until I was exposed.  Then I’d cover myself with my hands, but he’d keep pushing until that didn’t even work.

I should’ve known then.  I should’ve stopped it. Cut it off.  Broken up.  But he got so pathetic and hurt and sad.  I just couldn’t.  Besides, he made me feel special and loved.  Why would I hurt someone I loved who loved me in return?  Thats crazy.

I said no eight times at first.  Then five.  Then no more than three.  Finally once.  Till I gave up.  He just kept going.  Again and again and again.  Until I gave up.  Until saying no did nothing.  Until I said no without words.  Until I was just his plaything.  A pretty little doll to move as he pleased.  Until I gave up.

 

 

Frozen

This whole situation feels so weird, especially since it happened over 6 months ago.  However, because I never accepted the fact that it happened, I never processed it.  So all of the sudden, I’m feeling it’s effects.

I have panic disorder, but the moment it happened, I knew it was different.  I recognize the increased heart rate and the shortness of breath, but I froze. The first time was in the bathroom, running my hands under freezing cold water.  Then it happened at work, then while doing homework with my best friend. She asked if I was ok, but I was like a statue.  My hand was the only thing I could feel.  It was holding my pen, which felt as if it were glued to the page I was writing on.  My hand trembled.  It was all that moved.  I tried to answer her but the words stopped in my throat and couldn’t claw their way out.  I couldn’t move my hand, my eyes, anything. Eventually I snapped out of it.  I always do.  But in the moment I’m frozen like a statue.  A cold stone statue.  Unfeeling. Unmoving.

I seem to freeze up out of no where.  It just hits me like a bullet and I have no control .  It doesn’t help that I’m not sleeping much either.  I’m exhausted but my mind keeps whirring like an old computer.  I have to force food down my throat, only because I know I’m hungry.  But I never feel hungry.  My stomach is still in so many knots.  No matter how much I drink, my throat remains dry.

How have memories that I kept down so long mangaged to affect every part of my body?  It was what seems like forever ago and its just now affecting me.  And I’m helpless to stop it from taking over.  It kind of scares me.

Let me take a step back

When I met him he was sweet. He was kind.  And any bad things I heard about him he dismissed saying they just didn’t like him.  Maybe he was just misunderstood.  There was a good person inside him, I could see it.  I didn’t feel the same way about him as he did about me for a long time.  However, an entire summer’s worth of talking every single night changed that.  He convinced me that only good could come of it and that he would never hurt me.  So I jumped.  And for a while, everything was perfect.

Then he cheated on me.  The person I trusted most.  I loved him.  Why did I have to love him?  Why did I have to care so much that I would forgive so easily?  Because I see angel’s inside demons.

I was so innocent at the time our relationship began. I’d never even been kissed. I could never dream of being touched sexually.  Second base was out of the question.  Thats just how it was.

I don’t remember the first time he touched my breasts very well. Its a little blury.  I know we’d talked about sexual things before, and I know he asked to see more cleavage first.  That’s a really hard line to draw, because how are you supposed to know how much cleavage is too much?  I don’t remember how it happened, but I know somehow it did.

It started as kissing and cuddling in my car.  I’d met him at Starbucks, but I never even went into the store.  He came straight to my car and hopped into the back seat.  Cuddling, kissing, all innocent, right?  It quickly got more heated and he wound up on top of me.  I don’t know how, but he was. And he was heavy.  But I didn’t notice that, because I felt safe with him.  He put his hand on my chest and I asked him not to.  He made it sound like no big deal, even though I kept saying no to it.  Eventually I just gave in.

I remember feeling guilty about it, but it was all on me.  It wasn’t anything he did.  So the first instance just slipped into a dark and foggy corner of my mind.  Not to be touched, not to be disturbed.  Not until I heard the words from my friend telling me “you were molested”.  I didn’t want to hear it.  I still can barely say the word.  The memories from the next few times all blur into one although I know they happened over different meet-ups.  They’ve been tossed around in their little box in the attic for all the time I kept them locked there.

1am

I brushed my teeth furiously as if it could scrub away something.  Anything.  I stood underneath the water, letting its cold droplets cascade across my skin, as if it could somehow flush away any trace of his mouth and fingerprints away from my body.  They were long gone, but it felt fresh. I was only just realizing for the first time what really happened and just how much I had suppressed under the illusion that he was a good person.

This lie I had told myself every day I was with him.  I had seen the signs hundreds of times, yet I chose to ignore them because “he’s different” or “he’s trying so hard to change” or “he’s not that guy anymore”.  Even still, when he talks to me, I automatically believe that he means what he says in cliche phrases, just like the obedient little toy he trained me to be.  I’m not good enough. His family is better. His friends are better. His hobbies are better.  I’m nothing.  I’m lucky he even talks to me. I believed every word he said, thinking I could trust him.

Why would I ever trust a person who told me constantly that I could never be as good as him?  Someone who constantly manipulated me into doing special things for him?  Because my only concern was making him happy.  Hell, there was a time I would’ve done absolutely anything just to keep him talking to me.  He’d convinced me that he was this precious gem.  This diamond in the rough.  He made it seem like he was shiny and pure and the people around him were all dirty liars.  Oh he was smart.  He knew how to use words.  He knew how to manipulate.

Looking back, I see it all.  I don’t think he meant to at first, he just wanted what he wanted and would say anything to get it. But slowly he became more and more deliberate and he became aware of what he was doing.  He even told me the last time “I just said that so I could use you”.  Well at least he figured out how to tell the truth just once.

These thoughts, his words, they swirl around my brain like water around the drain of the shower.  Except they never go away.  The drain is plugged by something and slowly it is flooding.  Slowly it goes at first.  Then a few drops spill, releasing wave after wave.  Its 1 am.  I have to wake up in 3 hours.  But still, they won’t let me rest.

Rain

Today it rained all day.  I love the rain, I always have.  It makes me want to do one of two things: dance like a five year old girl splashing in puddles, watching the crystal droplets fly from the ends of my untamed hair, or sit in a corner with a cozy blanket, steaming coffee, and a good book.  I love coffee.  I’m an addict. I’ll drink it any way as long as you don’t put too much sugar in it. I love a good strong cup of black coffee.  And a nice complicated book to go with it.  I also wouldn’t mind a philosophical mind to share a conversation with while I sip it slowly, ignoring the fact that I’ve burned my tongue for the hundredth time. You could say I’m a slow learner

Today I watched the rain with my boyfriend, while I sipped my coffee and listened to the pattering of the raindrops mingle with the sweet baritone of his voice sharing wandering thoughts which cascaded around my little car.  Little did I know that my world would be turned on its head in just an hour. That one word could turn my stomach into a thousand knots and bring the dark ghosts that I had hidden for so long flooding back into my brain.

She said the word while we talked, wandering around the halls with our cameras and avoiding the rest of our class.  Lets call her Noelani.  We were supposed to be taking pictures, but we wound up discussing the boy.  The one I tried so hard to not think about.  She got so serious and asked me, “what did he do to you?  Tell me the truth this time.” You see, I didn’t think it was a big deal. It wasn’t like he raped me, therefore it didn’t matter.  If it wasn’t that drastic then it didn’t matter.  But it was too late.  The doors couldn’t hold the flood back any longer. Images began to swirl in my mind.  I felt sick.

Next hour.  She promised we’d talk after school.  I couldn’t shake the feeling.  I stood in the bathroom letting the water wash over my hands.  I lost myself in the sound of the steady stream.  My whole body turned into the numbing flow and I stood. Staring at the water. Not moving a muscle.

Tonight I stood again. My tears mixed with the raindrops in the shower. I replayed my conversation from earlier. Noelani said so many good things. She had helped pick me up, at least a little.  But nevertheless, here I stood.  Helpless.  Numb.  Replaying the dreamlike images.  I don’t want them to be real.  But I know they are.

Real.  I hate it.  I don’t want to think about that word.  I can’t even say it out loud.  My lips form the tight “m” but the rest won’t follow.  Tap, tap, tap. The sound of the raindrops.  Click, click, click. My keyboard obeys the commands of my fingers.  Whir, whir, whir, tumble, crash. My brain won’t sit still. So I numb myself and listen to the tap turn to a patter into a white stream of nothing and everything all at once.

First blog post

This blog isn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows.  If you wanted that, well, you came to the wrong place.  This is a story about a real life girl and a real life story.  No singing animal companions, no harps that play when girl meets boy, and no fairytales.  I’ve always liked raw emotion, so that’s what you’re going to see.  This will be more Silver Linings Playbook and less The Notebook.  Lets be real. Life knocks you down a lot, usually onto your face, and usually right in the sharpest gravel around.  Life isn’t always pretty.  But baby, there are moments.  Occasionally the sun will shine through. And those are the moments that make all the shitty stuff worth it.