I Hit My Breaking Point

Introduction:

I used to think the idea that someone could be unhappy for no reason at all was kind of absurd. I don’t think anyone can truly grasp the idea until they themselves have felt depressed. I’ve always had low self-esteem but I thought it was a relatively normal feeling to have. It wasn’t until today that I truly had the courage to say out loud that I am suffering. I am not even entirely sure if you can call it anxiety or depression if you haven’t been diagnosed but for right now I think that’s the best word I can think of to describe how I’m feeling. It’s the craziest feeling when you realize that your biggest critic is yourself or one of your loved ones. I know that there are a lot of factors contributing to the way that I feel. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be better, look better, act better and to wipe away my tears before people notice I’m upset. The only person I have met that is harder on me then myself is my mom. I used to think our relationship was a little crazy but nothing out of the ordinary… after all, everyone’s parents get upset and every parent can get a little out of control sometimes when they are trying to do what is best for their child but this, this was different.

Anger Issues:

It wasn’t until high school that I started to notice how truly wrong I was about the severity of my situation. Everyone has or has had issues but that didn’t make the way she was treating me okay. The woman who I called mom became my worst nightmare but to the world, she was just a loving mom who was just very involved in her daughter’s life. Every time I hit that breaking point where I knew I was in danger and I tried to get myself help she would spin the story to whoever I told and she would always worm her way back in. I’m a smart girl and I know how this sounds… poor girl with her caring mom who just wants the best right? If others weren’t thinking it, I definitely was because this is the game she played. The thing is, not only did she try and control when I went to sleep, who I hung out with, what boys I liked, how I dressed and how much money I spent she also tried to tear me down when I tried to stand up to her. Every time we had these fights I would go back to her and every time she would tear me down as soon as I tried to rebel. I wasn’t a perfect daughter: I went to sleep late and had trouble waking up in the morning for school, I didn’t have healthy eating habits and I procrastinated a lot on my school work but I have always been a hard worker, a caring person, any time I’ve noticed myself get off track I have always been sensible enough to get back on track. The truth is, a lot of these positive qualities may also be a direct result of how I was raised and this was part of the problem. My mom didn’t see how bad she was hurting me because she was too busy “trying to help.” I am not going to lie, to this day I still feel like I need help getting my shit together but the problem is that she doesn’t know how to help me without hurting me. There was this one time when I came home from school (I think I was 15 at the time) and we had a fight over a boy and also about how late I had stayed up watching TV. I locked myself in the bathroom to get away from her and she told me that while I was in there that I should just go ahead and cut myself. She was angry and I knew what she said was out of anger but she was always angry. Every single day of my life she has been angry. Well, now I’m angry. I’m angry at her for making me feel useless, unloved, uncertain, scared, alone, helpless, less-then and sad. I’m also angry for when she tries to make me feel happy, proud, accomplished and loved because what right does she have to tear me down and build me back up and how and I supposed to forgive her or believe her or stay mad at her when I don’t know what’s real or how bad she is truly struggling. Years have passed since high school and it’s always the same fights or even some new ones. I try and fix myself and whether I fail or succeed, the torment never ends only this time not only is she tearing me down but so is the depression.

Panic:

This past summer I went on a trip with my brother and I was really nervous about it. To be completely honest, my brother and I aren’t very close. Growing up we could never get along so as I grew older I tried to distance myself away from him but last year in January we sort of had this breakthrough moment where I finally felt like I was starting to understand him. My brother just like myself and my mom, is incredibly socially awkward. The awkward part I can deal with, but he also doesn’t have much of a filter. His lack of filter has gotten him into a lot of trouble. In addition to going on this trip with my brother, I was also nervous when I found out that people from my high school would be on the trip. The people I went to high school with were extremely superficial and just plain rude to anyone who had the audacity to try and live the own lives. I decided before the trip that I would try and do my own thing and stay away from these people but my brother’s lack of filter tends to attract a lot of attention. At first, I tried to distance myself from my brother and try and make friends with other people on the trip but after a while, I stopped caring about how much attention he was attracting and I stuck by him. The thing about my brother is even when he says things that attract attention or piss people off I can tell he genuinely means well and he just wants to be understood. Although my relationship with my brother is not perfect I really do enjoy his company. Even when I realized all of this and started to enjoy myself on the trip, I found myself feeling panicked. One night at dinner, for no reason at all, I felt it start to reach an extreme. I don’t really know what brought it on but I found myself rushing out of the room up the stairs until I reached my room where I locked the door and began to panic. I had trouble trying to take deep breaths and calm down. Eventually, I just began to sob and freak out. After a while, I managed to calm myself down wipe away my tears to go back downstairs where everyone else was, and pretend like nothing had happened. A few days later one of the girls who had been hanging out with the boys from my high school approached me and told me she was happy I came on the trip, we hadn’t spoken much before this point so it was kind of weird when she asked me if I had anxiety. It was pretty out of the blue, to be honest… I’m not sure if she heard me freak out or just noticed how socially awkward I was but for some reason, it was comforting to say “yes” out loud, even if she was pretty much a random stranger to me. Overall I had a really good time on the trip but ever since I got home I have been noticing these anxiety attacks happen more and more. Out of nowhere, I will find myself go from completely fine to curling up in my bed or the shower or the couch, sobbing my eyes out.

YESTERDAY

I hit my breaking point yesterday in the grocery store bathroom when I looked in the mirror and realized I didn’t know what had made the face staring back at me so sad. How had I gotten here? One minute I had been walking into the grocery store and the next I found myself rushing to the bathroom clenching my fists and holding back tears. I have been upset before but not for no reason. Not long ago I watched an episode of this show I like called Party of Five, where this woman was so depressed that she couldn’t get out of bed or take care of herself and I remember thinking how weird it was to be so upset over nothing. Yesterday was the first day I think I truly understood how she felt. Once I got out of the washroom I went outside to get some fresh air and I called my friend and I told her what had happened. After talking it out I know now that I can’t just expect this to go away.

When he Punched Me in my Nose we Both Heard it Crack

Trigger Warning: Physical Abuse, Pregnancy, Abortion. 

Seven years ago I met someone I believed would love me unconditionally, someone I thought I could possibly build a future with despite all I had been warned about. In the back of my head I felt at times something about him was off but I fought the unsettling feeling in my stomach and I chose to ignore what my friends continued to say. Logic aside, I chose to follow my heart.

We met through mutual friends one summer and initially I thought he was attractive. My friends didn’t think so but in this situation I didn’t really think it mattered what they thought. I heard about his past and I knew his lifestyle was a bit crazier than what I was used to but this excited me so anything he did outside of our relationship did not bother me at first. I knew he was a party animal but I didn’t allow that to be an issue either – I joined him.

Our one-on-ones came later; we first started hanging out in-group settings with our mutual friends at clubs. One night on the way to a club he asked my girlfriend and I if we wanted to try MDMA. I was unsure at first and hesitated but my friend went ahead and tried it so I took some as well, feeling somewhat pressured. When we got to the club we went straight to the patio and started smoking cigarettes. The drugs started to hit me and I started throwing up.

I wasn’t able to fully control myself in this situation – the vomiting, the crying and the confusion… I could hear my friend asking me if I was okay but in this moment I was unable to answer her. I could also hear him in a menacing tone asking everyone, “do you see her and do you see how it’s making her react?” He enjoyed seeing how drugs would affect people for the first time. He was aroused. I somehow ended up leaving the club with him that night. I’m not entirely sure how this happened but it ended up being the first time we had sex.

After having sex we started spending more time together. I learned his dad lived thousands of miles away from him and after starting a new family for himself he stopped caring about his first son. His mom was heavily into crack/cocaine for years before, during, and after his birth and neglected him too so he ended up living with his grandmother after his mom gave birth to him. For roughly two years we were on and off with each other but during this time there was never an official title. Only we knew what was going on.

Any time I tried to move on with another person he would get upset with me and would try to initiate fights with the guy I was speaking to. I didn’t understand this because he would never fail to remind me that I wasn’t his girlfriend. I thought him being jealous of other men was another way of displaying his feelings for me, even if it was indirect so I continued sleeping with him.

Most of the time when I was with him I was really high and out of my right mind: a few months later after continuing to have unprotected sex my period was late. I called my girlfriend who used to hang out with us in the beginning of my relationship with him and she said her period was late too. We waited a few days and then we went to a clinic together to take pregnancy tests – both tests were positive. When I called him to tell him he hung up. I called a second time and he started yelling at me. He didn’t exactly say what he wanted me to do with the baby at this point but he did say I was a slut and an idiot… this now became something that was entirely my fault.

My girlfriend and I didn’t cry at first mostly because we were both in shock. The next step was for me to figure out what to do. I was 17 at the time and I didn’t want to tell my parents. I also knew the amount of drugs I had been doing at the time would affect how my child developed. The biggest factor was my age – I knew wouldn’t be able to provide for the child on my own so I couldn’t keep the baby. The same day I found out I was pregnant was the same day I set up a day to terminate.

I felt extremely alone during this time, one of the reasons being that my girlfriend and I stopped speaking. It might’ve been the fact that we were both pregnant at the same time and had a hard time dealing with it. We were both really stressed, confused, hurting, emotional… we drifted during a time it was necessary for us to support each other. I also felt sad about my choice to have an abortion. Although it was my decision, I knew it was my irresponsibility that caused me to now have to terminate my first pregnancy. I blamed myself because I took drugs and I had unprotected sex. He was also was not a part of the abortion process and this made me feel even more alone.

We continued to see each other after the abortion but he started to say things like he didn’t want to have sex with me because a baby died in me. I began sleeping with other people, even some of his friends because I was angry with him. My pain was enough for me to justify this. When we would argue, I would throw it in his face that I slept with someone he knew. I knew the situation was unhealthy but I chose to handle it this way and continue taking drugs to cope with my loss and the entire situation. I was also hurting over my girlfriend and I not speaking. I felt isolated from everyone. I detached from my friends because they were not able to understand how I felt and I was attached to him because it involved the both of us. When it rains, it pours – situations that arise can make you feel your weakest if your support system isn’t stronger than what you’re being faced with.

The verbal abuse worsened and the physical abuse started. One night I was at his house and we were watching a movie. He suggested going out but I said this would be a bad idea because he was on house arrest. I advised we stay in and he responded by saying I was a fucking bitch and controlling. He grabbed his water bottle and poured water all over me. I decided this would be a good time for me to leave his house but he didn’t.

As I tried to leave he grabbed me. I tried to fight him off but he wouldn’t let go even though I kept saying I didn’t want to be there anymore. I started punching him because I wanted to get away. When he punched me in my nose we both heard it crack and he said, “Yeah did you hear that? I broke your nose.” I still tried to break his hold but he continued to squeeze me to the point where I blacked out temporarily. I fell and he dragged me back into the house. At some point I started to regain consciousness and I could hear he was rummaging through drawers in the kitchen; I thought his next move would be him stabbing me.

He came back to where I was and started hitting my face again. I can’t remember how I did but I got outside and started to run down the street. I knocked on his neighbour’s door and they allowed me to come in and use their phone. I called the same friend I had stopped talking to months before and she came to pick me up. The first thing she said was that I needed to go to the police to file a report and I agreed. The cops took my statement and when they pulled his record and saw the trouble he had been in before they went to get him without hesitation. I told my parents what happened when I got home and this was the first they had learned anything about what I had been going through. Charges were pressed and he went to jail for five months.

I fell into a depression. I didn’t want to go anywhere and mostly because I was scared to go outside. The entire situation starting from finding out I was pregnant and hearing his reaction right down to him putting his hands on me multiple times left me traumatized. Once, he tried to contact me from jail and when I heard his voice I hung up. I continued to use drugs as a way to cope.

Fast-forward five months: one night I went to the club and he was there. I noticed my friends kept whispering about something but wouldn’t let me in on the conversation and it hit me; he was here too. I left them to go to the washroom and as I was walking there I felt someone grab my shoulder and whisper in my ear, “I love you, I’m sorry.” He found me. It didn’t take long before I found myself kissing him until one of my girlfriends came over and pulled me off. They were furious that I would entertain him after all he had done to me but still, in a moment of weakness I tried to seek comfort in him, the one person I shouldn’t. My friends and I left the club and went back to one of my girlfriends’ house. The entire time after I left the club we were texting each other. He later stopped by my friend’s house in a cab to pick me up and despite my girlfriends telling me to not go and that they would be upset with me if I left, I did. I was happy to hear from again but I knew I shouldn’t have been. Why would I be happy to hear from someone that did the things he did? It took me a bit of time before I understood the cycle of abuse.

He said all I needed to hear: he was sorry, he would never do it again, he’s changed, and he’s learned his lesson after being in jail. So I forgave him and we were now officially in a relationship – I had the title I wanted him to give me for two years now and I felt this time would be completely different.

Although my romantic relationship seemed to be flourishing, my relationship with the women in my life went down the drain. Every single one of my girls turned on me because they didn’t support my decision to be in a relationship with him. Instead of trying to understand that I cared for him or remain in my life as a support system in case something went wrong they started calling me names. They would see me out and call me a dirty whore, they would comment on my pictures on social media saying horrible things about me and overall they made me feel even more depressed. This went on for the 7 months I stayed in a relationship with him. The first two months our relationship it felt like he had made changes within himself but after a short time I started to see signs of aggressiveness again. He never hit me again but the verbal abuse continued. He would grab me if we got into an argument and even the smallest arguments were magnified, as he couldn’t control his temper. He would go from being extremely happy with me to being extremely sad and angry within seconds. One minute our conversations were laced with words of love and the next minute he shared he thought I was a whore and worthless. I knew there was something more to him I’d never be able to control but during the time we were in a relationship I tried my best to. His mother knew I tried to leave a few times and every time I attempted to do this she would manage to persuade me to stay a bit longer by saying he needed someone like me because she wasn’t there for him when he was growing up. I was being manipulated all around.

One day we were out having lunch and I saw a girl I had asked him to stop speaking to before sent him a text message. He was being shady again. I got up to leave the restaurant but he wouldn’t let me leave. Leaving him became a problem and at times I found myself scared to go because he would either make me watch as he hurt himself or tell me he would commit suicide if I chose to leave.

We ended up in the street outside of the restaurant arguing. He started following me every time I tried to walk away and as he followed he taunted me. He would keep saying that I couldn’t call my family because I wasn’t allowed to be around him and he’d remind me I didn’t have any friends that would help me get out of the situation this time. Reminding me I was alone was his speciality. I was screaming and crying in the street and despite how many times I asked someone to help, they continued to walk right past me. I tried numerous times to get into a cab but he would open the cab door before I could get to it and tell the driver to leave. I made my way to the subway and went straight home. I told myself to take as much space as I needed and I refused to contact him.

After the incident in front of the restaurant he called me a few nights later. He apologized to me and I let it slide again. Before we ended the conversation he told me he was going to bed and that we would speak in the morning. I woke up to three voicemails from him. He lied again. He went to a club and pocket dialed me and this was the last straw for me. I grew weary and I was exhausted. I tried over and over again to help this person, to be there for him, and to show him the love he never received at home. He didn’t respect me after all I had done and after the voicemails I had confirmation that he would not change and I’d always be with someone who didn’t respect me, my body, my feelings, or who felt I deserved the truth regardless of what the situation was.

There comes a time when you have to put yourself first as cliché as that sounds. My eyes didn’t open after the first time he hurt me. It’s always easier to say what you could have done differently but what I learned after I left the situation is that when you’re in an unhealthy relationship with someone who doesn’t recognize they have trauma of their own, there is a cycle that you end up in unwillingly. It is in my nature to care and love so when in a relationship with someone that was my first priority. In his case, I wanted to show him love and care for him in ways he told me he never experienced because of his family situation.

It always starts the same way: the honeymoon phase filled with promises to change, apologies after something happens, even gifts depending on what they did. Then the tension builds: they start to criticize you, the swearing starts and if they’re not able to coerce you to do what they want, they try again with anger. Lastly explosion: attacks and pain both emotional and physical. This cycle became me. Month after month and time and time and time again I experienced each one of these phases until one day I broke free – twenty four months was enough.

Three Abortions

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse, Pregnancy, Abortion.

I think one of the hardest thing in life for me is admitting I’ve made a mistake,
Allowing myself to feel deep in my heart, that I didn’t make (what felt like) the right choice in a situation.
I like to believe that I am a strong, smart and capable woman.
But like most of us, we do have our downfalls.
We do things we’re not proud of.
Some of us will sit there and let this guilt eat them away, but me, I push it so far down, I somehow almost convince myself that it didn’t happen.
It’s a tricky little coping mechanism that I’ve picked up along the way.
Today, when I stand and look at myself in front of a mirror; I see a survivor, a warrior, a compassionate person. A caring, open, warm and loving person but I’m trying to come to terms with who I used to be.
I used to be an emotionless monster.
I’ve been so hurt for so long, that I just stopped caring.
I wanted everyone I met to feel this same level of pain that I’ve felt my whole life.
I was sick of being pushed around, I was just sick.
Both physically and mentally.
Then I turned to drugs.
I thought the fake friends, glowing lights and wild adventures would fill the needs of this inner monster I was keeping inside me.
But all it did, was make the monster bigger.
I stopped loving myself completely. That’s when things got bad.
It was like I had this glow around me, that people could just see how hurt I was.
Like a small lamb lost in the forest, only to suddenly realize that I was surrounded by wolves with no way out.
I found myself in a very abusive relationship.
Every drop of my self-esteem was slowly sucked out of me.
I got pregnant.
I couldn’t even turn and talk to my mom, for at that time I still blamed her for allowing me to live through her past.
I got an abortion.
Do you know how terrifying it is, to sit in a waiting room, all alone, and to look around and know that every single woman in that room with you was sitting with their shame between their legs.
That each and every single one of you, were going to walk out of there not knowing if what you did was truly the right choice.
I remember holding back my tears as the doctor shoved this long metal rod inside me.
I felt numb to the nurse’s reassuring words, asking me if I was okay.
How could I be?
Before this, I didn’t even know if I was pro-life or not, all I knew was that I wasn’t going to be another stereotypical teenager living on the streets, pregnant with a guy’s child she didn’t love.
I remember getting so high afterwards.
I didn’t want to think about what I’ve done.
Or why I was bleeding uncontrollably as I sit between my friends, taking turns from the bong.
I couldn’t even tell my best friend.
You think I would have smartened up after that, you would think that perhaps, I’d start using protection, or something, anything.
But I didn’t care about myself.
God, I just wanted to get away from everything.
Late nights, distant mornings, somehow sitting in class trying to finish high school.
Cramming down facts, just to spit them back out into my teachers face.
Who could argue with a smart girl?
No one.
My tongue became a violent whip, lashing out at everyone. Then I got pregnant.
Same guy, same mistake.
Maybe deep down, there was still a part of me that hoped that perhaps one day I’d wake up and my life was just a dream.
I’d be living that all American dream, white picketed fence included.
This time around, it was way harder than the first.
For the first time in years, I was beginning to see a way out of this dark hole I’ve let myself live in.
The father convincing me that we’d be a perfect family, as we stood there in our living room surrounded by teenagers passed out in a sea of empty beer cans.
The stale smell of smoke lingering in between each word as he locked me away in his room.
The thudding of my hands against the door, slowly muffled by the loud music as I sat there, wondering if this thing growing inside me would help save me from this nightmare.
But there I found myself, sitting alone in that god damn waiting room again.
Clenching hard on a stuffed animal like maybe, I was the child the doctor was going to get rid instead of the thing growing inside me.
Even as I sit here and write these words, it still doesn’t even seem possible that I’ve come from such a dark place.
Again, I had no one to talk to this about.
I told myself I was simply taking out the trash.
Months pass, battles were overcome.
I began to finally put the pieces of myself back together.
I began to learn how to love myself again.
I started thinking of a future, dreaming, making goals.
Then I was hit with the realization, that I was still just a kid caught up in the system with no money.
Who was I to believe that I could be successful in life?
Who was I to believe that I could ever be able to have the things I want.
Somehow, I stumbled my way back into the darkness of this world.
Figured selling my body was better than to work a 9-5 job.
Better pay, and all I had to do was be my old self.
It felt like a hug from a long lost friend.
Welcoming me back into the dark clubs, gangs and drugs.
This time around though, the game had changed.
Suddenly I was going in it for the money.
Trying to appear that the designer bag on my wrist was real.
That this 50-year-old man could somehow be attractive, as I looked around, bottles of champagne chilling in the hotel room.
Again, you think that I would have learned something by now, making the same mistake not once but twice.
But there I was, pregnant yet again.
This time, I was left to sit there alone, wondering how I stooped so low.
Some strangers baby growing inside me.
Sitting in class, wondering how I was supposed to keeping playing this game.
Having this stranger telling me to just get rid of it.
Bribing me with money.
Having a taxi drive me to this place of shame yet again.
Left alone, struggling to see straight after the procedure.
Lying that my ride was waiting for me outside but secretly I’m sitting on the back of the bus not even sure where I’m going.
But knowing I had to be anywhere but there.
Struggling to choose between buying the prescription drugs or dinner that night.
Then just like that, I swallowed my shame down.
Didn’t dare tell anyone of my dirty secrets.
Went on to finish high school, get a boyfriend, put as much space between the old me and this new me.
Graduated college.
Started working.
Fixing all the relationships that I’ve broken along the way.
But somehow, when I see people out here, fighting for pro-life.
Or I see a new mother, get onto the subway and I see her holding that new born baby.
It makes me cringe.
It makes me remember that, that could have been me.
It makes me remember, how dark my life used to be.
I keep thinking, that if I just move on with my life, somehow it won’t make me feel so weird inside.
But here I am, four years later and I still can’t bare to even utter to anyone that I’ve had 3 abortions.

Silence

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse.

Silence.

That’s all that was demanded,
Nod your head when you’re supposed to,
Clean up after yourself,
Leave no trace,
Keep your head down,
Don’t let anyone see the bruises that are hidden beneath that name brand scarf.

My pain settled around my room like dust,
Forever frozen in place,
Floating through life,
Blend in,
Don’t stand out,
Shuffling down the halls in school,
Don’t get too close to anyone,
They will only let you down too.

Consumed by the darkness,
Bottled up emotions,
Screaming to be let out,
Silence,
Silence the pain with food,
Consume.

My hands became hand grenades,
Exploding at everything,
Nothing,
And,
No one,
Stood a chance.

Flip of a switch,
The sun is shining in my eyes,
A curse has been broken,
Warmth.

Let it into your heart,
Realizing that there is,
Always,
A way out.

Connecting,
Blooming,
Watering myself,
Learning to soar beyond the doubt.

Letting go of the narrative,
Experiencing the now,
Simply,
Being.

I Gave Birth and Left Without a Child

Trigger Warning: Pregnancy, Miscarriage. 

I knew that as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, my daughter would take her last breath. I’ve managed to survive after losing my child.

I found who I thought was the love of my life at age 13, much earlier than anyone else I know. We clicked instantly and he and I managed to stay together all through high school despite any trials and tribulations we faced during this time. We were comfortable, in love and it was just simple.

I was 15 when I lost my virginity to this person and after the first time I had sex I became pregnant. We both decided it was too early in our lives to carry this pregnancy to term and decided together that an abortion would be the best decision for us. Despite what we decided, the idea of an abortion tore me up inside and caused me a great amount of stress. I went back and forth but after miscarrying I took this as a sign that it was meant to happen this way. After the miscarriage we still continued to talk about having a family one day even though we were still hurting. We had names picked out for our future children and we still shared our dreams and aspirations.

I met someone in college and I started to feel something for them but initially I wasn’t sure of how to explain these feelings. They were confusing because this person was a woman. I struggled with the idea of pursuing a relationship with her out of fear. I wanted to continue looking “normal” and I wanted to be accepted. I wasn’t sure of how to deal with this new label I would be given, “lesbian.” I also didn’t want to be judged. Eventually I let these thoughts go. I did not want to look back and have any regrets so I ended my relationship with my boyfriend and decided I’d follow my heart.

She forced me to explore new parts of my soul. I found out new things about myself I didn’t realize were there and the love I felt for her was like nothing I’ve felt before. It didn’t mean that what I experienced with my boyfriend wasn’t real, it just meant that I was now learning about a new kind of love that I was more receptive to. Her touch was different as her hands felt like silk. She understood me in a different way and this was a breath of fresh air. She was able to look deep and far past all I’ve experienced that caused me sorrow. In return I would have done anything to make her happy and at the time I thought she would do the same; until she cheated.

My heart shattered. This cut me deep and it was more than I could handle at the time. On the outside I started to show anger but on the inside I was in pain; new bruises. I started drinking more and smoking weed as a way to cope. I started to act reckless and outside my character. Before I knew it I found myself running back to the arms of my first love, hoping he could help me forget what I was feeling. Any time we got together we would drink, talk, laugh and I was able to forget for a second the pain I was feeling and he would put my mind at ease. We’d talk about our past together and we’d talk about what we had planned for the future. In a moment of reflecting we slept together without using condoms. I got pregnant again.

When I let him know I was pregnant he didn’t ask me to have an abortion, he told me to have one. He told his family and acted confused as if he didn’t know how it happened. He belittled me in front of his family and allowed them to criticize me and say I was forcing him to grow up before he was ready. The lack of support from him made me agree to have an abortion… until I confided in my ex girlfriend.

I wanted her to hear from me instead of someone else that I had gotten pregnant by my ex boyfriend and she became the first person I told. Her first question was about what the father thought about it and I let her know he was pressuring me to have an abortion. Her face immediately showed disgust and she questioned why I would go ahead with that option knowing in my heart I wanted to keep this baby. I shared with her that I didn’t want my child to grow up not knowing who their father was because I knew my ex boyfriend would remove himself from the situation. She responded saying my baby didn’t need him as their father because we had her and my family. She offered to help; saying she would pick up more shifts and help me with anything I needed. We cried together for hours talking about the baby and she begged me to not do it. My ex girlfriend was right – I didn’t want to have an abortion and aside from that what she said was true; I didn’t need his support and deciding whether or not to keep the baby wasn’t only his decision to make. I decided I wasn’t going to terminate my pregnancy.

Eventually, at some point during my pregnancy, my ex boyfriend got on board but when he came back my trust for him was minimal. I started to prepare for this baby as a single mother and he hated it. He’d tell me I made him feel like I didn’t need him and he was right, my response would always be, “because I don’t.” He still stuck around even though at times I was difficult and still accompanied me to my appointments and ultrasounds.

My ex girlfriend would bring me food and visit regularly. She’d talk to my belly and even if we were fighting she would ignore me but continue to ask about the baby several times a day. She hated that I was pregnant by my ex boyfriend but loved the baby I was carrying. We found ourselves arguing about plans that included my ex boyfriend and the baby; she was also upset about not being able to attend all appointments with me. She didn’t have much control over how much of the baby’s life she would be a part of and would get really angry with me. Her moods were like day and night – at times we were doing great but in those moments where she felt she lost control she started to talk down to me, calling me a whore and telling me my child would be ashamed of me for being involved with both her and my child’s father. At the same time I was constantly fighting with my ex boyfriend about everything right down to me suggesting we should hyphenate our child’s last name since we weren’t married. The stress I was feeling because of them started to become unbearable.

At three months I stopped working, at four months I was instructed to remain on bed rest, and at five months I went into labour. I quit my job and was forced to go on unemployment to pay my bills. I was not supposed to go anywhere except for my appointments and back home again. I couldn’t stomach my food, I lost 20-30 pounds, and I would faint multiple times a day if I stood too long. One night my ex-girlfriend and I got into a fight about how the baby shower would work. She still had animosity towards the father and his initial rejection of the baby. The argument got heated and she took her frustration out on me. Again, she spit comments about the failure of a mother I’d be and about my whorish ways; commenting on how no one could love me because of how spiteful (she thought) I was. The next day at my doctor’s appointment the father and I found out that my water had broken and that my amniotic fluid was dangerously low. I never got to leave the hospital.

I found out I was having a girl. I was told they needed to induce me and that I would have her that night. A lump grew in my throat when I realized what I was being told – I went into labour too early; I would be giving birth but leaving without a child. My daughter was two weeks away from having fully developed lungs and on her own she would not be able to breathe. I took some of my anger and pain out on my ex girlfriend. I texted to say the baby would die and when she tried to call me I hung up and asked her to not speak to me. The pain I experienced was unbearable not just because I chose to not have an epidural but because I knew that as soon as the umbilical cord was cut, my daughter would take her last breath.

It was heart breaking because she was active in my stomach and I tried so hard not to let my body alarm her of what was happening. She was moving happily until the very end. I gave birth and she passed away a half-an-hour later. I didn’t get to hold her until she had already passed because the doctor didn’t show up until after she had already passed away. When the nurse handed her to me she said, “it’s okay, you’re both young, you guys just try again,” before she walked away. We spent a few hours with our daughter, holding her lifeless hand before I allowed them to take her away. My ex girlfriend begged for me to tell her where I was but I wouldn’t respond.

I went into a depression. I came home to all of my daughter’s stuff in her room but without her. I completely shut down. I had suffered loss before but nothing compares to the loss of your own flesh and blood. I blamed so many people for my child’s death including myself. I felt I failed her that day. I felt like the hurtful words I listened to leading up to the day I went into labour and the stressful situations I was in could have been prevented and avoided if I didn’t continue to involve myself with these two people.

I knew it would take me years before I could accept what happened and to speak of everything without bursting into tears. I held onto so much hate that it turned me into a bitter person. I failed to see any light in anything that I did. I rejected any love anyone was trying to give to me and I carried the burden of not being able to carry my child to term.

Often times we forget to cherish the moments we have and to see how potentially beautiful these situations can be. There are many situations I wish had played out differently and with people I know would have treated me better. Sometimes we take our blessings for granted and find loopholes in why we should be grateful. Looking back now I realize that one of the most damaging things from this situation was allowing people to make decisions for me. I was already going through enough. The verbal abuse can and will drain you. I listened to the words thrown at me and internalized them as facts. I am not a whore, I am not damaged, and of course one day someone will love me. My daughter as she looks down on me is the most proud of who I am. Do not allow the words of others to define who you are or alter the decisions you make for yourself. You know what’s best for you. I hope anyone experiencing emotional turmoil and with unsupportive people sees that they are worth more! I look in the mirror every day and I tell myself exactly that: I am more than what those people thought of me. I’m slowly healing and learning ways to cope with the loss of my child. I am beautiful, I am strong, I am worthy and I have survived.

Today

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

Today

I saw him

He saw me too

I froze

Just like I always do when our paths cross
My heart dove into my stomach
I wanted to run and cry and yell and disappear

All at the same time

Today

I saw him
The man who raped me

Last year around this time, I was sitting in a cafe
I heard his voice right behind me
He was talking to his friend, pretending not to see me

So with my heart beating way too fast, I pretended that I didn’t hear his voice
I pretended that we weren’t close friends a time long ago
I pretended that on that summer afternoon, he didn’t look into my eyes and tell me

You’re beautiful

When I heard his voice that day

I felt completely invisible
I felt like my whole being didn’t exist

When I walked outside

It immediately started to rain

The rain was a gift letting me know that I do exist

The wet drops on my skin and the wind in my hair told me that I am
A human being that is breathing, alive and visible to the world around me

When he saw me today

He hid
He lowered his eyes and his head and once again pretended that I was invisible
That what he did to me didn’t happen
That I didn’t exist

Are you alive?

These were his words to me, the day after it happened
These words would shatter my heart each time he crossed my mind

Today

I want to say to you
Yes, I am alive
I am breathing
I am brave
I am brilliant
I am beautiful

I am worth so much more than the violence other people have inflicted onto my body, heart, and mind

To you, I say this:

You could not face me after it happened
You still cannot
And I understand
You don’t want to be a monster. You don’t want to be a villain

I want you to know that I forgive you

I forgive you because I no longer want to hold onto the pain I’ve carried for years
I no longer want my whole being to freeze when you cross my path
From this day forward, if our paths cross again, I will keep walking in strength and in peace
Shame and pain will no longer make me too afraid to acknowledge what you did to me

To you I ask:

Have you acknowledged what you did to me?

Have you forgiven yourself?

Today was the first time I was brave enough to go back to the place it happened
I am writing these words sitting in the place my body became yours

Without my permission
This is my healing, this is my closure

You will no longer haunt me
The tree beside me gives me comfort
At least I know, I was not alone.

Distraction

Trigger Warning: Abortion.

Sitting in the waiting room dressed in my long gown and socks I feel I look like my Grandma. They told me to remove my underwear and I feel uncomfortable sitting on the hard seats, they’re trying to make comfortable with blankets.

The few women in the waiting room display an array of emotions on their faces: calmness, fright, relaxed,
I have to wonder what they see on mine,
Am I doing the right thing?
Is this going to hurt?
I just heard I’m almost 8 weeks,
AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING?
One by one they are leaving me,
It is now me and the calm girl with the bounce in her step…she asked if I was given the IUD pamphlet…
No.

She jokes and I laugh,
We talk about being hungry,
We laugh,
We laugh in this place,
We are all here making a big decision,
And we can laugh,
She gets called and I am now sitting alone on this hard seat,
Why would this place want me to stay hungry while making a big decision?
I am the last one here,
Seeing the locked exit from the corner of my eye.

Deep breaths…
Listening to the opening of the Ginger Ale can on the other side,
A distraction,
After all of this I will be able to eat,
Distract yourself with thoughts of food,
I hear my name being called,
It is my turn,
My heart beats faster,
I’m getting rid of ‘him’
Oh my God am I doing the right thing?

The nurse tells me her name: Ricky,
I want to tell her that that is the name of my brother but I think that would be awkward,
She seems nice,
Her glasses…her glasses are nice; distraction,
Walking to the room I pass a room on my right and see the same woman I was in the waiting room with,
I see their faces and some still look calm others look like they’re in pain,
Oh my God my heart beats faster,

I enter the white room and I sit on the bed,
“Are you sure about your decision?”
I say yes but am I?
She says she likes my glasses and wants to know if I get compliments all the time too?
Yes I do and this is when I tell her I like hers,
We are like glasses sisters;
Connect,
Distraction,
I laugh nervously,
I lie down.

I look up and I see a picture on the ceiling,
What is it a picture of?
Distraction,
I don’t remember and everything is white,
Very white,
Ricky is talking to me as she is inserting an IV,
Memories of me in the hospital start to pass,
I can hear Indrani from work telling me I should not have gotten pregnant,
That word: “Pregnant.”

“Squeeze the blue ball” she says,
“Squeeze it,”
It’s in and she rests my hand on my stomach,
The IV hurts and it’s uncomfortable,
I look up to the picture and this will be my distraction,
I will not tell her this hurts.

She leaves the room briefly to get the doctor,
I hear I’m the last one; I hear I was 8 weeks,
I hear rustling… everything is starting to spin and I feel tired,
I feel like I’m pass being hungry now,
I put my hand to my head and close my eyes,
I open them to see Ricky,
She says the meds are working,
This is actually really happening!
Everything is about to change in less than ten minutes.

The doctor enters with a black nurse,
They’re talking,
The doctor doesn’t look like a doctor to me,
I see brunette hair…
She’s asking me about birth control options,
Condoms?
No condoms are bad,
I look back up at the picture,
Distraction,
What the fuck is this picture of anyway?

I can’t believe this situation I’m in,
“IUD… you can have it inserted for a week and some women keep it up to five year and take it out when they want,”
No I do not want that,
Ricky asks questions and now she’s talking to me,
I look briefly at the doctor,
Oh my God this really is happening,
Speculum,
I can feel it,
She’s telling me she’s going to dinner with her husband after,
My words jumble but I manage to tell her “that’s nice,”
At least they get to eat,
What am I going to eat after this?
I really, really am doing this,
Ricky is told to rub my belly,
She’s still talking,
I don’t know what’s going on,
Focus on her glasses… her glasses are nice,
“You’re done, everything is complete.”

Everything is spinning,
I feel nothing,
I gave it back and now I feel nothing,
Benjamin.

I am now one of the women sitting on the chair,
Eyes dancing,
Ricky pours me some Ginger Ale and says it will help,
“Heating pad?” I say no thanks,
The calm girl sitting across from me says the heating pad will feel nice,
I take the Ginger Ale but it’s going to choke me,
I can’t swallow,
Everything is going fast,
Ricky is gone,
It’s slowing down,
The pad is making me hot.

I don’t like being around these girls,
They look like they are in pain,
I feel nothing,
Nothing,
The calm girl leaves and waves bye,
I start to eat the crackers,
Focus on empty chair across from me,
Head spinning,
Salty,
Crackers drying up in my mouth,
Ginger Ale is done,
Another nurse gives me a package to read,
Purple paper “Post Abortion,”
I was pregnant ten minutes ago,
ME,
It is now gone,
I am now,
Empty,
Benjamin.

Little did my Parents Know My Babysitter would Become my Rapist

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse.

I grew up sitting on the poverty line. Proud Caribbean parents who took absolutely no nonsense raised me and luckily for me, I had both of them in my life. My mother, a workaholic, also took great pride in maintaining her home. My father, arrived in Canada at age 13, was a former musician and unlike my mother was more eccentric and outgoing. They wanted the best for my siblings and were always pushing us to get the best grades so we could become doctors or lawyers one day.

My parents both worked a lot and regardless of the hours they worked, found it difficult to afford daycare so they often looked to neighbours to babysit my brothers and I while they were at work. Little did my parents know: my babysitter would become my rapist. I didn’t understand much of what she did to me until I started watching porn at age 14. I suppressed most of this incident for much of my life and felt intense sexual urges but felt shame attached to this feeling. My parents realized I experienced these urges one day when they caught me with my pants down in my room touching myself. I explained to them that I was doing something the babysitter and I would do when my brothers weren’t around. Needless to say, she didn’t babysit after that.

As with most Caribbean families, spankings as a form of punishment is quite normal. As I grew and became a less mischievous child, I long forgot what those beatings felt like until I reached the stage in my life where I hit puberty. My father grew weary of me becoming sexual and would constantly stop me from wearing certain clothing and wouldn’t allow me to go out after school unless it was for an activity tied to schooling. This was somewhat understandable to me as I understood my parents’ upbringing and why my sexuality might be a problem for them but it was also conflicting because my brothers were allowed the freedom I craved even though I had always been the most responsible one of their children. I grew resentful and started lying to my parents about extracurricular activities so I could spend time with my friends after school.

For background, I had always been an honour roll and sometimes principal’s honour roll student. I’d participate in extracurricular activities in school, was in the school’s orchestra, and made sure my brothers were always taken care of and the house was clean before my parents got home from work. I was able to achieve and maintain all of these things starting from the age of 8. Even with all this, my parents still didn’t feel like I could be trusted out of the house with friends or have male friends over even if they were home. This was upsetting for me because I had always been a tomboy and most of my friends were males.

At age 16 I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted to hang out with my male friends and so I did regardless of what consequences came later. My father didn’t like the rebellious nature I developed and he punished me by beating me. When he saw that the beatings didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted, he became harsher: beatings with cables, choking, he would bash my head against the concrete floor, rip my hair out and verbally abuse me; calling me everything from a prostitute, to a crack head, to a bitch. I found myself facing severe depression.
I lost my virginity at age 16 to my boyfriend after one year of dating. We broke up after two years as he didn’t know how to deal with the black eyes and welts on my body that my father would leave. A man ten years older than me raped me for months because he knew about my boyfriend and threatened to tell my father so I stayed quiet and endured the sexual abuse that came. I didn’t see this as cheating, I saw this as a way to protect and save my relationships because if my parents found out, my relationship would be over. Once I realized he was doing this to other young girls, I stopped this because I now had information to threaten him with so he would leave me alone. I was still afraid of him so I didn’t go to the police but I felt by did my part by warning him against doing this to anyone else. I had low self-esteem at the time and could only scare him with his words.

Between the ages of 17-19 I turned to sex to relieve myself of my depression from the lack of freedom I was given, the sexual abuse, and the beatings from my father. My parents had already categorized me as a whore so it didn’t matter to me what I did with my body. They created my sense of worthlessness. The only thing that could stop me from researching ways to kill myself was finding a boy who wanted to be my boyfriend for a while and having as much sex with him as possible. It filled a void and I got into abusive relationship after abusive relationship with multiple men.

When I was 19 I realized I couldn’t continue the method I was using and instead turned to excessive weed and alcohol to help my feelings of self-hatred and depression. At the time and to only me, this seemed like a great time in my life. I met someone and I was in the best relationship I had ever been in and it lasted two years; we still remain friends to this day. During this period though, I would party every weekend and drink every day with other alcoholic friends but thought I was functioning because I managed to get through work every day. Even when sneaking vodka in McDonalds cups to work I didn’t realize I had a problem. Now, I can’t look at vodka without feeling nauseous.

My parents had been threatening to kick me out since I was 17. At times I would leave and sleep at my boyfriends house or a close friend of mine for long periods of time until my mother eventually asked me to come home. My life remained turbulent until I turned 21 when I moved out on my own. My ex and I were broken up but still remained close. I hadn’t let my parents get to know him because my father had always physically fought me whenever I tried to bring a guy friend home and I didn’t want my ex to see what my home life was like.

One day I was feeling my lowest. I lost my job, I had betrayed a close friend of mine and we were no longer close, and I felt unaccomplished because I wasn’t successful at completing my post secondary education despite several attempts to start. I felt like nothing more than a whore who had wasted her life. All the nasty things I had heard about myself is what I started to believe.

I asked my ex of two years to come over one day because I needed someone to talk to; I was feeling suicidal and didn’t trust myself to be alone. My father came home early and before I could explain what was happening he began choking me in front of my ex. I was mortified and this time tried to fight back. I called the police because I couldn’t handle the abuse any longer but when they arrived they sided with my father. I was outraged. Luckily my ex stood by me through the entire process and that night I went to sleep at his house. His home where he stayed with his family felt like more of a loving environment than my own.

This became my turning point. The next day I went home and packed all of my things and stayed with a friend. I had no idea where I was going from there but I managed to talk another friend into letting me stay with her for six months, using my welfare to pay a portion of the rent until I got back up on my feet. From there I got and maintained a job and secured my own apartment where I lived for two years until I started going back to school. I had mostly quit the heavy drinking that contributed to me being stagnant and when I was 21 I started participating in healthy activities such as yoga and playing my violin. At 24 I moved back into my mother’s house, focusing primarily on my education and my job. I began helping her pay bills and was happy to contribute to the household financially because she had kicked my father out after I decided to come back. I was more than happy to help her make her house a home again.

I am now preparing myself for my next move to Montreal where I will finish a degree in agricultural science and make a difference for other people’s families who have as little or maybe less resources than my own family did when we first started out. I won’t lie and say that some days I don’t imagine I’m still that destructive young girl who had nothing to live for and was ready to end it all but those days are so far and few for me now. I will never say I’m grateful for all of the things that happened to me in the past and throughout my life but I am more than happy with the woman that has emerged from those events. I am stronger than ever and I am ready to make a difference in the world.

My Rapist is my Son’s Father

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse.

It was a late December night and I was excited that I could finally get into a club. It was my nineteenth birthday, the night I got pregnant.

The previous year my girlfriends went off to university and since that time the connection we built over the four years during high school was slowly lost. I had taken a year off of school because I was at a point in my life where I was confused about what to do next or even how I felt about myself. Growing up in a household of violence and addiction really took its toll on me and I needed to figure out how to move forward with my life even though I was still living in a hostile environment. Slowly the violence and addiction of a family member had subsided so I made the decision to go back to school although the trauma, pain and lack of love were still there. On top of it, my mother had been going through a very tough time in her life and struggled with her mental health since I was twelve – this too made it difficult for me to navigate as a young woman who wasn’t able to discuss much of anything with her mother.

I began drinking at 16 and smoking at 12. People thought it was because I wanted to “fit in” but mostly it was because I needed a way to cope with everything that was falling apart around me. I learned at a young age that the way to cope was through the use of drugs and alcohol. The volatile environment I called home was a ‘no talking zone’ where feelings and love could never be spoken about freely or honestly. Violence was the norm – a way to express yourself. Addiction to drugs and alcohol was not hidden and suicide attempts were front and centre. At only twelve years old I was trying to figure out how to cope with seeing all these things; coming up with stories to tell my teachers if they asked me where the bruises and deep cuts on my forehead, legs and arms came from, while my friends hung out peacefully at home complaining about their parents not wanting them to wear mascara because they thought they were too young.

The night of my nineteenth birthday I accepted the invitation of two male co-workers to go out to a club downtown Toronto to celebrate. One of my friends picked me up in a cab where we would then meet the other at the apartment he lived in downtown. He bought me a Ciara album for my birthday and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had already bought it. I left my bag at my friend’s apartment downtown because we had discussed earlier in the day that I could stay the night to save money by not having to take a cab home. I lied to my father and said I would be staying the night with a girlfriend of mine. We made our way to the club and got in without an issue. There were no assumptions or expectations for the night ahead, at least on my end. We were all friends.

I had a crush on one of the guys that came out that night. We spoke about it in the past as the feelings were mutual but there were no plans to act on it. Growing up I never received much attention from boys. I was the quiet girl yet quick to stand up for myself or anyone else that was bullied or picked on. I was the girl who couldn’t afford to wear expensive clothes. The girl who barely passed her classes and came to school with bruises and cuts, the girl who hung out at the back of the school drinking and smoking; I was the girl who was never asked by anyone if she was okay. So, to receive the attention of an older attractive man was exciting but intimidating and nerve wracking for me. I wasn’t ready for anything from him – not even a kiss. We would be friends, I decided.

As I danced the night away one of my friends decided to go home so it was just the two of us left: me and the one I had a crush on. He kept bringing me Smirnoff after Smirnoff after Smirnoff while he sipped on water the whole night. He was a fitness and health buff so he wasn’t interested in alcohol whatsoever. I think I lost count at four Smirnoff Ice’s. As 3am rolled around it was time to leave and we headed back to his place where I had left my stuff earlier in the night. He took me on a tour of his building, showing me the amenities it had to offer, and then we headed up. We agreed that nothing would happen that night and even decided we would sleep head to feet. From there things got blurry.

On my nineteenth birthday I was raped.

When I gave birth to my son my whole life changed. Not only because I became a single mother at nineteen years old but something felt off. I didn’t realize I was raped on my nineteenth birthday until I was 25 years old. I always knew something didn’t feel right but I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t have a label for it. I slipped into a deep depression that I couldn’t even recognize. I didn’t know I was severely depressed for the first several months of my son’s life until well into my twenties. I remember having a hard time doing just about anything. I stopped calling friends, answering their calls or returning them. They slowly stopped inviting me out not realizing that something serious was going on for me. Then the phone calls stopped. I lived with my parents at the time and my father, now a sober and completely different man, was extremely supportive. He knew what was going on with me even though I didn’t but he didn’t know how to help me. He would let me sleep while he took care of my son. He would feed him, bathe him, and hold him when I couldn’t. He would try to talk to me but was only met with anger or silence. He would encourage me to go out and take care of myself. I resisted but eventually accepted. I would go out not to drink but to get drunk. I had this constant need to escape so that the pain I couldn’t label would go away.

When I was 25 I decided to see a counsellor. I was always hesitant to go to one but I finally decided to. I forced myself because I needed someone to talk to. I had run into my sons ‘father’ after six years of his chosen absence and I was beginning to have confusing memories; flashbacks to my nineteenth birthday and confusing thoughts that I didn’t understand. Within five minutes the counsellor had me in tears and within ten she told me it was normal to feel the way I was feeling about running into my sons ‘father’ because he raped me. I let the word sit in the air, not understanding it; as if I didn’t even recognize it. I remember this intense anger boiling up inside of me towards her. I screamed, “I was not raped!” I immediately grabbed my bag and ran out the door making sure I slammed it on the way out.

I didn’t understand how a complete stranger could tell me I was raped. Wouldn’t I know? Of course I would know. Right? I willingly drank on my nineteenth birthday. I went back to his place on my own free will. I put my pajamas on and decided to sleep in his bed. What do you mean I was raped? But then everything started making sense. The fact that I didn’t remember my clothes being taken off and that I didn’t remember having sex. Do you even call that sex? What would you even call it? I went to sleep but woke up during the night to him on top of me. I vaguely remember trying to push his body off mine. In the morning I woke up without clothes and I couldn’t stop wondering how. I recall going to the washroom in the morning and crying because I didn’t understand what was dripping out of me.

I always thought rape had to be violent until I was 25.

Growing up I was told what rape should look like. It was described as violent, aggressive, and painful – an event that will have you running for your life; for your well-being, mentally and physically. So how could this counsellor possibly think that I was raped? It wasn’t violent, it wasn’t aggressive, and I don’t recall feeling any pain. I didn’t wake up with any injuries. I didn’t have to run for safety. So how was it possible for someone who had only known me for ten minutes claim that I was raped on my nineteenth birthday?

Then I began to remember. I was drunk and was given drinks until I was at a point where I couldn’t even defend myself or give consent.

Consent. That was the missing piece. That was what I was missing for so many years.

Yes, I went back to his place. Yes, I laid down to sleep. No, I didn’t give consent. How could I? I was heavily intoxicated. Blacking out. Unable to even understand how and when my clothes even came off. Was a condom used? I didn’t know. I had no idea because I couldn’t remember anything. I willingly went back to his place but my intention was to sleep, his wasn’t. He was sober and I was not.

For years I blamed myself for getting pregnant at nineteen and for getting drunk that night. For trusting someone enough to sleep at their place. I did not want to have sex with him that night. Yes, I had a crush on him but I was not ready to have sex with him. I did not want to have sex with him. I just wanted to sleep but he decided he wanted to have sex with me. He did not have a drop of alcohol the whole night – he knew what he was doing and I wasn’t in the right state of mind to say no, to deny consent. And yet I did physically but it was ignored.

That night he took a piece of me. He helped himself to my body and made me feel like a stranger inside of it for years. He turned my life upside down and walked away with no consequences. No repercussions.

My rapist doesn’t know he is a rapist.

My rapist is my son’s father.

My son is my life. He is everything to me. I am his mother and he has no father and never will. My son is innocent and is not to blame for anything that happened that night. He has nothing to do with any of it. He did not ask for this to happen. He did not ask to have a rapist for a father.

My son changed my life – for the better. He makes me see the world in a completely different way. He is my light, my motivation and my life. I love him with every cell in my body. When I look at my son I see him and only him, not the man that raped me. My son is an innocent light full of love and this is all I see when I look at him; peace. I wouldn’t change what happened on my nineteenth birthday because then I wouldn’t have my son and yet I would want to. These are complicated feelings that I can never fully express or explain and I don’t think I will ever be able to but the people in my life would get this.

Rape doesn’t have to be violent in order for it to be considered rape. This is one thing I wish I was told when I was young. I blamed myself for getting pregnant for so many years before I realized that it wasn’t my fault. I went out to have a good time – to dance and have some drinks. The plan was to go back to a trusted friend’s house to sleep. Period. Full stop. I am not to blame. It was not my fault. The only thing that was my fault was trusting the wrong person to spend my time with, and even then, don’t we all at some point in our lives?

On my nineteenth birthday I was raped. Nine months later my son gave me a new life; a life full of hope, joy and unconditional love. My son has healed me in ways I could have never imagined and I am truly thankful for him. He is not to blame. I am not to blame. It was not our fault.