I was 16. He was a friend’s younger brother. I lived with the family off and on during high school to escape a bipolar and abusive mother. I can still hear him saying ‘who do you think they’ll believe…and then where will you live…?’ while he threw my clothes at me, letting me know I’d been dismissed. I felt like trash because I knew that he was right. They would never believe me — and I’d ruin my life if I ever breathed a word of it. In the almost 30 years since, I still can’t get that out of my head and it still brings tears to my eyes.
That is the day I began just saying yes or acquiescing to things I didn’t want, because saying no doesn’t mean anything…a behavior and mind-set that burdens me to this day.