My grandfather once told me that whenever you’re asked how you are, your answer should be “better”, because you should always be trying to be better than you were the day before. I think of him often, and try to live my life this way… Always working on being better. It only recently occurred me just how much of my life I could apply that to.
I spent a third of my life being sexually, physically, and mentally abused. From ages 7-13 I was raped, beaten, burnt, and otherwise abused by a family member, and from ages 16-19 I was sexually abused and manipulated by a former student teacher. As a young child, I suffered from what I now understand as common “coping mechanisms”… acting out, passing between needing constant companionship and refusing to let anyone touch me, sneaking and binge eating whatever I could wherever I went, lying about bruises and cigarette burn marks… The list goes on. None of that ended when I became a hormonal asshole of a teenager.. It only compounded. I started self-injuring at 14. My eating disorder was out of control and became a binge-to-bulimia problem. The eventual experiences with the student teacher convinced me that I could “recover” if I was more “sexually open”. I believed that, and I went entirely overboard (the words “slut” and “whore” were used to describe me on this ridiculous website that surfaced in the ninth grade, schoolscum.com) with it. The other “coping” I did wasn’t any better. Abusing prescription antidepressants, drinking, doing those things together in an effort to be done… it got really, really ugly. Every part of my life suffered.
When I finally told someone what went on when I was a kid, it ended poorly. I had to tell the police and the DA what happened, but the police couldn’t get a coherent thought out of the family member (who had been committed for other reasons) and the DA couldn’t question me without me sobbing (in my defense, he was a giant douchebag). I got a nice folder with a case number on it and some mandatory therapy my family couldn’t afford (that was still given to me, out of the kindness of a few special people’s hearts) and the case was filed away with the other millions of rape cases that are never prosecuted. I was a mess. And an easy target for guy #2, who I confided all of this to right before he convinced he loved me and we’d be together forever (he said the same thing to four other teenage girls and is now serving a prison sentence for what he did to them…I couldn’t bring myself to testify). I couldn’t bring myself to do a lot of things, namely have any love for myself. So I couldn’t get better.
Anyways. I could talk for days about all of that bullshit. How it stays with you, even when you’re health(ier) than you were… it gets in your head and manifests in your dreams and the exhaustion from it all makes actual rest feel like a fairytale. That’s how July usually is for me. It was a central month in both situations, and it always feels so heavy at its approach. So this year, I said, fuck that. I’m not going to just wait for it to happen, let it be terrible, then spend another month recuperating. I’ve been working on loving myself, and taking care of myself, so I took a bunch of days off from work this month and planned fun. A weekend with my family at my house. A weekend at my mom’s and celebrating my brother’s soon-to-be wife at her bridal shower. A three-day outdoor getaway with the best friend a girl could ask for, filled with hiking, biking, boating, and board games. I’m spending time with my love, celebrating our accomplishments and enjoying our life together. I took this month and I’m going to make it something good, damnit.
It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been perfect. But it’s been better, and that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
*When I said I was going the change up my blog, I guess I really meant it. If you’re still here after all of this, thank you. It’s not easy to read, and it’s even less easy to process. I’m pretty open about all of this stuff, so if you have any questions or just want to know things, you can always comment here or email me at KetoDeb@gmail.com.*