Choices

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the reason why it’s affected me so much wasn’t the act itself, but the fact that my choice was taken away.

I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well of course, I could have told you that from the beginning.” but no. You couldn’t have. Because you weren’t there. And you didn’t know the whole story.

It took another physical, not sexual, encounter for me to realize that indeed I wasn’t hurt by him sexually (well I was, but I wasn’t). I was hurt by the fact that things progressed too far too fast and I wasn’t in control of anything. It was all about him and his needs and not once did he realize that I was terrified. Not once did he ask if I was okay. Not once.

Yes, I made the choice to go back to his room, but he made the choice to not listen to me when I spoke.

I was afraid to admit that before the incident I enjoyed our foreplay because maybe that would mean that I wanted it, I didn’t. Let me be very clear, I did not. He was a great kisser and he was hot, and we had fun, but everything that happened after, I did not want. I’ve come to terms with being okay with the first incident, maybe, not really.

But, the sex. No. I did not want. I wasn’t ready and he knew that. He took advantage of me and he took the choice away from me.

He raped me of my choice.

Unpopular Opinions

In April of this year, as many of you already know, I was raped by a co-worker.  It took me a while to come to terms with what actually happened and that it was in no way my fault. Although, there are still some days where I have to keep reminding myself of that aspect.

Prior to the rape, I was sexually assaulted by the same individual. I told him what I was comfortable with and where my views were on sex and he completely disregarded it.

Since my assaults, I have been placed on birth control (mainly because I was already going to get on it for painful periods and slightly because of fear that it will happen again) and I have been seeing/speaking with a therapist regularly.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will forever be a victim of a sexual assault, but it doesn’t define who I am.

I have also come to terms with the fact that I did not cause my first two assaults, because I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t, but when someone is stronger than you are there really is little you can do.

However, I haven’t come to terms with the fact that I did not cause my rape. Parts of me still blames myself for even putting myself in that environment and in that situation. I have however forgiven him for what he did. But, and this is where the unpopular opinion comes in, I haven’t forgiven myself.

I know, I know, what you’re thinking, but this is my truth, for now, and I have to own it.

I was weak, I was new to the attention and the advances and I guess I cracked under it all. It’s sad that all it takes is for a guy to pay attention to you to lose a part of who you are. But, it was more than that, I know. He was aggressive from the beginning and I took that as flirting and him knowing what he wanted. I thought there was something about me that he was interested in. And there was, it just wasn’t my personality, but my private parts.

I realized too late that I was nothing but a body to him. When we flirted it was nothing more than surface stuff and he never really tried to get to know me, so that should have been a red flag from the beginning. He was just after one thing, and he basically got what he wanted.

So I forgive him for using me, I forgive him for assaulting me, and I forgive him for everything really. Because there’s nothing that I will gain by not doing so. But, I will gain peace and serenity from doing so.

Unfortunately, over the past week I realized something about myself that will get some getting used to and some fixing. I have come to realize and vocalize the fact that I am a certified people pleaser; I am constantly doing things for other people. Now listen, there is nothing wrong with that. But, when it hinders your ability to do for yourself, that’s when it becomes a problem.

I tend to put other people’s wants and needs before my own, whether they know it or not. I check in on people constantly, I make sure that, if they are going through a tough time, they are okay. I let my presence known that I am there for them and that they can reach out to me anytime. In short, I am a damn good friend. 

However, as a result of my constant need to put others first, I tend to get hurt in the process. A lot of what happened between me and the co-worker I did not want to happen, but clearly his needs overcame mine. Don’t get me wrong now, I did ask/tell him to stop several times and I said I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want anything to happen, but he didn’t listen. But, I didn’t put myself first and fight harder. I was afraid of the repercussions, afraid of what he would think, feel, say or do. To say the least I was also paralyzed in fear.

As a result, I actually want to see him again. Not to confront him, or even tell him what he did was wrong, but to prove to myself that I can stand up to him if he tries to make advances at me. I want to prove that I am strong, well, stronger now than I was before.

In reality, I just want to prove that to myself. Actually, I need to prove it to myself. But most importantly, I need to start putting myself and my needs first.

Alex.

 

Timing & Strength

So, I had another appointment yesterday. It did not end well.

For those of you who have ever been in therapy (my third time), have you ever tried to ace/win a session? You know, you walk in with bullet points ready, you have everything laid out and how you want to say it. You begin by painting the perfect picture, of how even though you’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions these past two weeks, you’re fine now and getting past it. You let the therapist know that although something has come up recently you have a fairly good grasp on the whole situation. Only, it’s all a lie and you don’t realize that until time is up.

Situation: My rapist, that’s his name now, texted me out of the blue on Sunday:

“The last virgin in Georgia… whats good”

Like what in the literally FUCK? Who the fuck does that?  Who does he think he is? Why is he texting me now? He has had my number for two months? Why now? What could else could he possibly want from me? Anyway, I waited about 5 minutes and decided not to return to old habits of my obsessing over the text and I remember, I still wanted to take back some of my control. So I decided to delete it. Within five minutes of me receiving the message, it was gone.  Just as simple as that, right? Wrong. Two hours later he responded:

“You wondering who it is yet? Your favorite person from work”

NO, just no. You don’t get to do that, you don’t get to say that. No, you’re not. I responded about an hour later, “Not ringing any bells?”

“Really? I’m crushed”

And then he fucking calls me. Of course, I am not going to answer. I didn’t. I texted back and lied and said I was at dinner and couldn’t talk. He told me to, “holler at him later”. I didn’t respond and I didn’t holler. He texted me the next day and I tried to keep my responses as short as possible, so he would stop texted me. He didn’t get the message and the last text he send was Tuesday night,

How have you been?

I felt as if I was also going through an internal conflict, If I continue to respond to him, does that mean he didn’t rape me? Or that he did and I am okay with it? Am I condoning it? Therefore, not rape? AND If I don’t respond what is he going to think about me? Will he be like, this bitch, who does she think she is? BUT it was the thought of me having to tell him that he raped me that terrified me the most, because clearly didn’t know he had.

And that’s what ruined my session. That’s what made me lose my winning streak. It wasn’t even the fact that he texted me, I thought I could care less. But, I asked my therapist what do I do if he texts back? She basically said I can’t tell you what to do, but go with your gut.

So I lost it, and started to spiral. I thought of all the different scenarios that could have transpired and it was the idea of me having to tell him what he did. That’s what I couldn’t get a grasp on. That’s what made me spiral even more and take me back to square one where I was asking myself, why didn’t I push harder? Why didn’t I just leave? Why wasn’t I stronger?, etc.

Our time ran out, and I know for sure I ran over, but I just didn’t want to leave. It was at that moment that I felt like everything I worked so hard for to put past me, all the progress I made, it was all lost.

It shouldn’t be my job to tell him that HE raped ME. However, the fact that he is just so oblivious makes me question everything.

But, I said I didn’t want to have sex, I said I wasn’t ready, I said I can’t. And I am sure as hell I said stop. But, for him to not even acknowledge that sex happened and I am no longer a virgin, pisses me off.

He took something and he doesn’t even know he took it, or he doesn’t think he did because it didn’t last long or it was mainly anal. Regardless, he took it away from me and he doesn’t even care. Or know. Or care.

Anyway, after my losing session with my therapist, I went to the car and broke down in tears. I had already purchased tickets to see Wonder Woman (amazing movie, btw) but I didn’t want to be alone from the end of my appointment at 5pm and the beginning of the movie at 7:30pm, so I called a friend and asked to go to dinner.

I unwillingly explained that I was leaving a therapy session and didn’t want to be alone. Even though she was working out, she cut it short and met me at Chili’s. I ordered a margarita to calm my nerves, obviously I forgot alcohol was a depressant, or didn’t and just didn’t care. But, by the time she got there I was already crying again. She asked if I wanted to stay and what should she do. I just didn’t want to be in my own thoughts, so I asked her to  describe her day for me.  Anything to distract me. Eventually, I stopped. I didn’t eat much, but the food I ordered was good.

Back to the topic at hand however,  she didn’t ask me what was wrong. She just asked if I was okay at the beginning. I didn’t know if I would have been willing to tell her in such a public setting, but at the very least I think I would have at least liked to have been asked.

Which brings us back to not only the topic and title at hand, but something my therapist said that I’ve always wanted.

“I wish your friends cared about you the way that you care about them.”

In one of my close group of friends, two of them are in professional schools and the third one is working. So, I always feel bad coming to them with problems because they have problems of their own. They have the stresses of law school and a Master’s program, and a job that doesn’t treat you like the invaluable asset you are.

Not only that, it’s never the right time to let them know. Everyone is never free at the same time and when they are, someone else has already posed a problem to the group and I don’t want to steal their spotlight. Plus, it’s awkward when having group calls to bring the mood down. Finally, I don’t know if this is something to be shared just in FB messenger or in video call, or even in person. I know there will never be a right time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still hope for one though right.

In the other friend group, there is only two of them and they are more open with what’s going on, which should make it easier for me, but it doesn’t. Because one is getting married and dealing with that and the joys and stresses of that and the other one is just now going through a rough patch with her boyfriend so we have to focus our energy on her.

Granted with both group of friends it’s not even just a timing issue. It’s the fact that I don’t know how they are going to react and I’m scared.

But, back to her statement. I have always felt that way. I always feel as if I am a better friend to my friends than they are to me. That was a dilemma that I faced in college and it almost broke me. I have always been the one that people come to for advice, or just to have someone listen. I am always asking if people are okay, and letting them know that I am there for them, etc. But, no one really does that for me and it sucks.

Even though, I am not sure I will tell them, I guess I just like to be asked, you know. And you never know, maybe I will. Maybe I have always wanted to, but no one has ever asked, at least not without being prompted, and I hate that. Because some days, I am not okay, but I have to be…

For them.

-A

 

Trigger Warnings 

Trigger warnings are real & needed. 

I always thought they were a joke. I always felt like people were being overly sensitive about specific issues. But, no. They’re oh so real. 

I found that out the hard way on Thursday. I was watching The Carmichael Show and I couldn’t even get through the first five minutes of it. 
Without any warning they were arguing about what constitutes rape and I think it was the first time that it actually hit me that I was raped. It was the first time that I allowed myself to feel it? I don’t know, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That day was hard and filled with alcohol and tears. I just had a breakdown, really. 

It only stopped when I found out that one of my close friends from school had a baby. A nice distraction, but a hard distraction because it reminded me of how close I was to being in the same situation. Regardless, like I said it was a nice distraction. But, I still spent all of Friday in the craziest funk. 

I was supposed to go out with a friend, but that fell through. So I decided to go out by myself. I needed to get out of the house. Big mistake. I was in the crazy funk. I went to breakfast and ate. It was good & I’m fine with eating alone. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was I had to many things on my mind. 

I didn’t want to go home so I decided to go shopping instead. I needed new running shoes and I wanted to check to see if the TJMaxx by me had a certain pair of shoes (Toms) that I wanted, they did. But, I couldn’t even be happy about it. I bought them and bought baby clothes, super cute baby clothes mind you, but I couldn’t even be happy about that either. 

Before TJMaxx I went to Marshall’s and bought work pants (lots of them) and after TJMaxx I went to Belk and bought more baby clothes. Afterwards, I went to the outlets to find tennis shoes and found none. But, literally for the whole 3 hours that I was out, I literally couldn’t feel happy. I couldn’t really feel anything? It was as if I was going through the motions just to say that I did something. I had never felt that way before and it was kind of scary. I just didn’t care. I spent over $200 on Friday and I just kept telling myself, it doesn’t even matter. 

Yesterday (Saturday) was better. I didn’t think about it as much. And I even was able to go out with my mom and feel something. I went to my favorite store Bath & Body Works, bought a few things, and felt happy. 

So at least I am making progress, right? I’m getting better. I’m drinking less, or at the very least feeling the urge to drink less. Although, today was kinda hard, I wanted to get drunk. I didn’t though. Plus side!  

Anyway, I guess I’m just learning that this will always be a part of me. It’s something that happened and something that I can’t change. So, I just have to learn how to deal with it. It’s hard, but I’m trying.

One day at a time. 

-Alexandria Bridges 

A Series of Unfortunate Realizations

It was never about me. It was about my body. It could have been anyone & I don’t think it would have mattered to them at all. Especially not to my rapist. Yes. That’s what I’m calling him because that’s what he is. He took advantage of me, I am completely clear about that now. 

I’ve gone over the events of the nights several times and I am sure now. Even though I wasn’t strong enough to, or better yet mentally prepared enough to push him off, I still said that I wasn’t ready and NO. Did I mention that? Also, I said stop, I can’t, and don’t. Just in case no wasn’t clear enough. 

But, like I said it was never about me. I didn’t mean anything to them, because if I did he would have texted me. He would have said something, but he didn’t, because he doesn’t care. I don’t think he ever did. And that’s makes matters worse. 

Because that means that my emotions, or feelings or anything for that matter, none of them mattered to him. He was just trying to score and basically did. 

Looking back, I think one of the reasons I asked him to put on a condom and go in the back way, was because I was afraid that he was going to go all the way in the front way and he wasn’t wearing any protection. I didn’t want to have sex, and more importantly I didn’t want an accidental baby. So I did the only thing I could think of, I distracted him with something else that he wanted more. Savvy right? 

It absolutely positively sucks that I even had to think of that, but didn’t know what else to do. He was going further and further in and I got scared. 

There’s no way any of these nights were consented to. 

At least I’m sure about that now. I think today’s the first day that I’m actually sure about it and not just say it. 

First stage, Denial ✔️ 

Second stage, Anger ✔️ (still in it though) 

Third stage, Bargaining ✔️

Fourth stage, Depression 

Fifth stage, Acceptance (working on it) 

I don’t know if it counts as regular stages if grief, but I’m hitting the highlights. I’ve definitely at least experienced the first three. Although, I’m hoping to skip over four. 

I’ve already cut myself again as a result of this. It has been two years ago or more since my last incident. But, I guess he gets to take that away from me too. 

Anyway, I think I’m still as angry at you as I am at myself and I know I shouldn’t be. But, at least now I’m blaming you. You get 100% of the blame and 80% of my anger, for now. I’m keeping that 20% because it’s all still new. 

I just want to wake up and have this all just be a dream, but since that can’t happen and I can’t turn back time. I’ll take 20%, for now. 

But, I’m making progress. It’s been a month and I’m still trying to figure out everything out, but at least now I know what happened and somewhat of why. 

I know it wasn’t my fault.

Alexandria

Masochism

I think I’m a masochist. In fact, I know I am. Okay, I’m 87% sure. It’s not even that I enjoyed inflicting pain in myself all the time, sometimes I do enjoy it, but most of the time I find it necessary to punish myself.

Why, you ask? I have no idea.

I’ve always been like this. Ever since I can remember, I had the weird fascination with things going wrong, mainly because I wanted to see I would react to the situation. I know I know, you’re not supposed to wish harm on anyone, but if it’s on yourself doesn’t that make it a little better?

Trust me, I know the answer to that is, no. 

Back to the topic at hand, my fascination with pain and sorrow and causing harm to myself, because I like being miserable.

It’s one of the main reasons why I used to cut myself. It started off as anger, then it morphed into a form of punishment. It could be from anything as well, not doing well in school, not doing well in track, not doing well with friends, anything really.

In college, it morphed more into me just being overwhelmed and upset. Mainly, with school and relationships (friendships). Especially junior and senior year, I just couldn’t handle the pressure of being perfect all the time. I know, who do I think I am? I know I’m not perfect and I know that no one expected me to be perfect, or at least they didn’t outwardly say it.

My friends saw me as this strong, outgoing, charismatic, person. And yes, I could be that at times, but also at times I was the complete opposite. I got sad sometimes too. In fact, I got sad a lot of times, for no reason at all. I still do, but I have to keep up with the appearance of nothing ever being wrong.

Even though, I know that’s not at all possible. For anyone.

I hated that I always had to be the strong one. I hated that I had to be there for everyone, but no one was there for me. And I hated that I felt that way. I shouldn’t have felt that way. I had great friends. I have great friends and a great  support system. But, I hated that I wasn’t able to ask for help for fear of being a burden. Thus, I hated that you (ex best friend) made me that way. Because it is your fault, I kept to myself for the long and then when I did let someone in you ruined it. You made me feel as I was the worst person in the world for coming to you with my problems. You made me feel like my problems didn’t matter. You made me feel awful. And for that I hate you. I hate how you made me feel. I hate how you continue to make me feel. And I hate that our friendship is ruined and we can’t even talk anymore.

I hate that I can’t let people in.

I hate that I have so many thoughts,

and I have to keep them all to myself.

I hate that I have so many thoughts.

Not all of them are good. In fact, a lot of them are bad. I don’t act on all of them, if I did I probably wouldn’t be here right now. You can figure out what that means.

I just hate that I have so many and I try my best to make them subside but, the more I try the more they come back. I find myself being able to drive forty minutes without music, and not even realizing it because the thoughts are so loud. I find myself reliving moments in times.

I find myself reliving that night over again.

I continue asking myself if I did anything wrong. Did I lead him on? Could I have said no sooner? Could I have pushed him off harder? Why did I feel so weak? Why did I feel like my voice didn’t matter? Why couldn’t I stand up for myself?

I know better, I should have know better.

But then again…

Why didn’t he stop when I asked him to? Why did he keep telling me to relax? Why did he take advantage of me? Why didn’t he listen when I said,

“Nothing is going to happen. I’m not ready. I can’t. Stop.”

I know it’s not my fault. I know I shouldn’t be blaming myself, but I can’t help it.  Parts of me thinks that I should have been stronger and more assertive. But, society and rules and common decency says that when a person say no or stop the other person should listen to that request.

And you sir, you did not listen to that request. You didn’t listen to my wishes. You didn’t care about me at all, because if you did then we wouldn’t have had sex, you wouldn’t have assaulted me. I wouldn’t have been raped. Oh and I would still be a virgin.

But, hindsight is 20/20.

Alex.

I Said No.

Trigger Warning: Rape

I said no & I told him to stop, but he didn’t listen.

After a long conversation with a few people, I’ve realized that I did everything I should have done and he still didn’t listen. I said I wasn’t ready, I said I didn’t want to, and he didn’t listen. I gave up trying to say anything, because I knew he wouldn’t listen.

I think I was raped.

I didn’t want what happened to me to have happen. And no, I didn’t consent then to regret it later and call rape. No, that’s not what happened. I said stop. Numerous times. I said no. Numerous times. And he didn’t listen.

He took advantage of me.

Sexual Coercion is what they call it. That’s what happened. That’s why I feel guilty. “If you have said “yes” when you didn’t really want to, know that you may have been sexually coerced. Sexual coercion is when tactics like pressure, trickery, or emotional force are used to get someone to agree to sex.” And the scariest part is I never said yes. I just stopped saying no, because he wasn’t listening anyway.

I shouldn’t have gone back. I literally can’t wrap my head around what I feel, what’s going on or anything.

At times I’m numb, at times I don’t remember, but most of the time I keep playing that night over and over again.

Did I do something wrong? Did I lead him on? Did I cause this? It’s my fault? I must have wanted it otherwise I would have tried harder to get him off, right?

You know how when a car is coming hurling towards you and you know you need to get out of the way otherwise you’ll die, but you freeze from fright?

That’s what happened.

I went back to take control, and I lost it all.

So, isn’t that rape?