I am angry.
You know how when you’re a little kid, and you find yourself in a kind of sticky situation and your immediate response is “It’s not my fault”? And sometimes it is your fault, and sometimes it’s not, but you’re kind of sad when the blame falls on you and it really was your fault, but even more pissed off when you’re really truly not to blame? Yeah. I’m pissed. My sexual assault was NOT my fault. And any sort of comparisons of feelings are always going to be entirely incorrect. And that is not my fault either.
Today, I had an eye doctor’s appointment back home, and my parents drove me back to school after dinner. So we’re driving, and I’m telling them about the date that I have tomorrow. I am in no way yet committed to this man, nor am I inappropriately involved with him either emotionally or physically. We have a very healthy friendship with plenty of potential. I made a list a while ago of all of the things I want in a man and I have been able to check off quite a few requirements, and the ones that I can’t either I don’t know him well enough to know yet or they’re not super hard core requirements (“Is not a pharmacist” for example, is not a hard and fast no-go). I met a guy. I’ve been running with him just about every day for about a week now, and he’s been treating me well, we have lots in common, lots to talk about, and it’s been fun getting to know him. And there’s some sparks. And due to the fact that he’s been so charming, I’ve decided that yes, I will get dinner with him tomorrow night. If anything, it will be fun to spend time with him as a friend and plus how could I ever say no to sushi?!
So my parents (mainly my mom) tells me that she doesn’t think I should be getting myself romantically involved right now, and to wait until I’m all healed up from the horrible things that have happened to me. To which I responded that I don’t want what’s happened in my past to keep me from putting myself out there. I don’t want the unspeakable acts of one person to dictate how I live my life and how I relate to men in the future and how I live my life. Of course I want to learn and grow from my experience, and I have learned so much already about myself and other people and about what I want in life. And so yes, in that regard, it will shape how I live. But I do not want it to hold me back from going on a casual “first date.”
And then my mom says that she suggests that I wait to date people again. I say that I think I’m ready to date again. And then she says that I should wait for her sake. Because of how “hard” my last relationship was on her and my dad. And “I don’t even know what she’s gone through” and how I’ve only had to deal with these issues since August, but apparently, she’s been dealing with them since I started dating him until now. AS IF SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S HAD SHIT TO “GO THROUGH.” AS IF SHE WAS THE ONE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. AS IF SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S HAD TO FEEL THIS WAY EVER BEFORE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE. AS IF NOT LIKING MY BOYFRIEND IS THE EQUIVALENT, IF NOT WORSE, OF HAVING MY BODY USED AGAINST MY EXPLICIT WISHES. And she says that she just wants what’s best for me and that I take it slow and don’t “make the same mistakes rushing into relationships” and that I “choose wisely” AS IF I HAVEN’T LEARNED THAT THE HARD WAY. AS IF IT IS MY FAULT FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME FOR PICKING HIM. AS IF I HAD ANY SAY IN THE MATTER.
THAT’S WHY I FREAKING BROKE UP WITH HIS ASS IN JUNE. SO I DIDN’T HAVE TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH HIS BULLSHIT.
BECAUSE I REALIZED WHAT A FREAKING ASSHOLE HE WAS AND I REALIZED THAT THAT WASN’T WHAT I WANT IN MY LIFE OR IN MY FUTURE OR AS THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN.
I DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME. I DIDN’T ASK FOR HIM TO VIOLATE ME LIKE THIS. IF I HAD KNOWN HOW IT WAS GOING TO TURN OUT WHEN I SAID HE COULD COME OVER THAT NIGHT, OBVIOUSLY, I WOULDN’T HAVE LET HIM COME OVER. OBVIOUSLY.
IT IS NOT MY FAULT. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. IF I WANT TO MOVE ON AND LIVE MY LIFE AND DATE NEW PEOPLE AND EXPLORE THE WORLD THEN I AM 100% CAPABLE OF MAKING THOSE DECISIONS WITH A SOUND MIND. I AM THE ONE WHO HAS HAD TO GO THROUGH BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. I AM THE ONE WHO LIVES WITH CONSTANT REMINDERS OF MY PERPETRATOR PRETTY MUCH ON A DAILY BASIS. I AM THE ONE WHO NEEDS MEDICATION IN ORDER FOR ME TO LIVE A SEMI-FUNCTIONAL LIFE. AND I AM THE ONE WHO HAS LEARNED AND GROWN AND DISCOVERED MORE ABOUT MYSELF THROUGH THE PROCESS.
I AM THE ONE WHO CAN DECIDE THAT I AM NOT THE PRODUCT OF ONLY THE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES I WENT THROUGH, BUT THE POSITIVE ONES TOO. I GET TO DECIDE THAT I WILL NOT BE DEFINED BY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, BUT THAT I CAN MOVE ON AND BE A BETTER, MORE COMPASSIONATE, WISE, AND UNDERSTANDING PERSON AT THE END OF THE DAY. AND I CAN CHOOSE TO PURSUE ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS AGAIN WHEN I THINK THAT I AM READY.
And, Mom, wouldn’t you think that after going through nearly two horrible, regrettable years of dating a controlling, manipulative, condescending, judgmental, abusive relationship, that maybe now I would hope that I can recognize the difference between an asshole and someone that might be worth getting to know? I would certainly hope so. And honestly, sometimes I do struggle. I struggle trusting myself again. I struggle trusting myself to make the right decisions when it comes to romantic relationships. I’m scared of getting manipulated again into believing that someone is something that they’re not. I’m scared of letting someone in too close. I’m scared of letting someone really know my heart and what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m scared of people letting me down, I’m scared of getting used, I’m scared that I’m going to let the anxiety/depression/PTSD get in the way and keep me from being a functional enough human being to be a good friend or partner. But at the same time, I kind of recognize these fears as being the result of my sexual assault. And I refuse to let my sexual assault run my life. I refuse to be captive to these fears. I believe that there are good people in the world. I believe that deep down, I know what kind of person that I want to end up with some day, to father my children and be my partner for life. I believe that I am worthy of love and respect.
So, Mom, I am going to go on a date tomorrow. And I will probably go on dates after tomorrow too. Maybe they will be with Matt. Maybe they will be with someone else. But I damn well am going, not because I feel like I have to or because I feel like I need a man to complete me. But because I WANT to. And because I am trying to continue growing and healing. And because it makes me happy. Even if it ends up that I’ve just made a new friend. It makes me happy. I am not rushing inappropriately into bad relationships. I am not practicing unsafe, unrestrained sex. I am not hurting myself or anyone else by getting sushi with an eligible man. If I were pursuing self-harming behaviors, then yes, please help me see that. In a non-demeaning way. A way that does not involve your personal feeling that you’ve gone through more than I have. Because you don’t. Even. Know.
That’s why I am angry.