Alcohol quieted my anxiety and dulled my hurt. I never ate enough, so when I drank, I would get drunker, faster. Alcohol gave me guts and I felt bold, sexy, and powerful under its spell.
My new gal pal and I drank that day until all I can recall are shared, flirtatious smiles with the gorgeous guy across the bar—the kind of guy I could never have attracted before my eating disorder. Then…nothing. Blackness.
A shred of memory of the backseat of a car and maybe (?) an apartment parking lot (mine?), then nothing.
In the light of morning, with a pounding head and dry mouth, I woke to find a hand touching me. I rolled over to find a man who was only vaguely familiar, but definitely not someone I knew. I didn’t even know his first name, let alone his last.
With disorientation and rising terror, I looked around the room. On the carpet, there was a discarded condom. I turned and mumbled, “Did we?” And he said “Yeah. You kept calling me by another name [my first love, my ex-boyfriend] and telling me you loved me.”
Shaking, the shock and shame engulfing me, my body language told him to get the hell out. I mumbled my name and asked his and we exchanged numbers out of some desperation for normalcy, but of course I wanted nothing more to do with him. He left like a dog with his tail between his legs.
I showered and cried uncontrollably for several minutes, even hours that day. Haunted, devastated, ashamed. My only solace was knowing we had used a condom at least once in the encounter. I had been lucky, but only partly, I realized.
In the hours, days, and weeks following the incident, I tried to piece together what happened that night. [Where was my friend (with me that night) while all this was happening? Why didn’t she stop me? And him? Why didn’t she help me? I have blamed myself solely for years but have also recently become so angry that my friend, whom I believe was in better control of her faculties that night, didn’t try harder to protect me.] When I pleaded for clarity, any answers, she told me a wild story of a house party with glitter, very public making out, and a mattress—absolutely none of which I remember. She seemed to think it was funny. Maybe she was not in complete control either that night, but certainly she remembered enough. We never spoke again.
And…why didn’t HE stop? Didn’t he hear my confusion? Yes. He told me so. He clearly knew I was drunk and chose to keep going.
Shortly after the incident I grew increasingly withdrawn, anxious, and paranoid about having every STI known to man, especially, obsessively—HIV. I got tested, and fortunately, was clean. I developed panic disorder and clinical depression, which I had battled on and off throughout my life up to that point, but this incident and the related guilt put me over the edge. I started my medication journey, but have since realized that I needed therapy, as well.
Very sadly, this incident had been only my second full sexual experience. It breaks my heart that afterwards, at that early point in my adult life, I felt so damaged and “dirty”. Sex lost its magic, meaning, and pleasure, and I have since used my body without as much care as before.
I’m getting a therapist’s help now, thankfully, but I know I will always carry this with me. I am stronger now and married to a wonderful man who cares for my heart and soul.
Thank you for helping me shed this pain.