Cheated

I’ve had almost 30 years to process my abuse and rape. In that time I can’t even begin to tell you the range of emotions I have gone through. I’m going to try though. If you have been through something similar, you can imagine the list. My plan is to write a post about all of them. Some are harder than others to speak of, so I will start with an “easy” one 🙂

Cheated. It’s as simple as that. This person cheated me of my childhood, my innocence, and so much more.

It may seem silly, but I’ve seen a lot of “teen romance” movies. In these movies, the sweet and innocent cheerleader meets the wholesome and handsome captain of the football team. They fall deeply in love. In a montage of corny music and images of passionate kisses, they sweetly consummate their love. Yes, they are young, but their love is true and it is all wonderful and pure.

That is not how my “first time” went. At all. After months of pressure, Mark had finally had enough of my saying no. He decided not to take no for an answer anymore.  Nothing was sweet about it, nothing was pure. It was painful and forced and I was crying throughout. I bit my lip to keep from crying out loud, because I knew that would make him angrier. What kind of person can “make love” to someone who is weeping? How could he not know that this was horrible for me? Afterward, instead of a romantic scene of two people holding each other and gazing into each other’s eyes, he left to get a snack. I huddled on the bathroom floor with the shower running to cover my sobs.

Cheated. Of a first time with a wonderful person who loved me. Cheated, when I finally found that wonderful person, of giving myself to him unsullied, virtuous, whole. (Yes, I’m a bit old-fashioned. My husband waited to find the person he wanted to marry, and I couldn’t give him the same thing. My husband was cheated too.)

Cheated. In every relationship I had afterward, of the opportunity to look at that new person with trusting eyes.  Instead, I saw every man through the lens of rape.  It narrows your vision, that’s for sure.  And it’s not fair.

Yes, this isn’t the most powerful emotion that the rape caused, but it’s one that has hung on.  Only over time did I realize how much I had been cheated out of.  I want that sweet moment with the football captain, perhaps on prom night.  I grew up much too fast in that one day, and it was definitely not fair.

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“Cowardly Brave”

I told my husband about my blog last night.

As is true with so many of my writing projects, the idea for this blog rattled around in my head for many a month before it became reality.  And as is also true with my writing, I kept it all to myself.  I find that as an artist, I am an amazing coward.  I am a pianist whose crippling stage fright keeps me from playing for my dearest friends.  I am a singer whose throat tightens up when I sing alone (thankfully, I am OK in a choir).  And I am a writer who hides my pages and notebooks in a drawer or under my sweaters.

Art touches something…something raw and personal.  It opens you to others in a way that other things cannot.  And when the subject of that art is rape, the self-disclosure is even more intense and scary.

Hence, my reluctance to share.  And my anonymous blog.  So anyway, back to my husband 🙂  I said, “I’ve started a blog.  It’s about my rape.  It’s about Mark”.  (Mark is of course not my rapist’s real name).

“Are you sure you want to do that?” he replied.  “Won’t that get back to people you know?”  I assured him that I had layered the blog in a veil of secrecy that would do James Bond proud and felt reasonably sure that none of my actual information would get out.  “That’s awfully brave of you”, he said.  I told him I didn’t feel very brave, rather I felt pretty cowardly because I cannot possibly imagine sharing this story with actual people I know.  The thought makes my chest tighten up.  “Cowardly-brave?”, I suggested.  “But I want to share and try to help others.  It’s too important.”

He gave me a big hug and said, “No.  Not cowardly.  You are amazingly brave.”

It was a good feeling 🙂

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