How did I get here? I am not really sure. I can look back and see where things went off the rails but it was a long ways until they came to a full stop.
Here I am, 35 years old, sitting in an office that I can hardly pay for, waiting for clients that never call, scheming how I’m going to get my next break.
On the surface, I appear calm. Cool. Collected. Intelligent. Under the surface, I’m a volcano waiting to explode. Only a few know. They flee.
I have no one. Not one person. Not one person who cares enough to even ask me how I’m doing. MY former friend has this tattoo she got on her arm. Something about being kind always because you don’t know what someone is going through. It’s a bullshit tattoo. Even she left. Just words. Nothing behind it.
I lost my mind in the last year. It’s been fifteen months of pain. I let myself get lost. Drugs. Sex. Alcohol. I didn’t care. Anything to numb the pain. Anything to forget about it, even temporarily.
I don’t know if I believe in God anymore. A God who was benevolent and loved his children surely would not let someone hurt this bad, would he? She? They?
I shouldn’t be like this. On the surface, I look fun. Exciting. Loud. Boisterous. Funny. Underneath, I am counting the days until I can’t take it anymore and I snuff out my light. And they will all say, “I had no idea! I wish she would have told me.” But on the inside, they’ll know. They will remember the times I tried to reach out. Looking for a friend. Looking for someone. Something. Hold me. Talk to me. Just acknowledge me. They’ll feel guilty because they will remember the time I came to them asking them for this and they sent me away. They all knew and they didn’t stop it. Couldn’t stop it.
I tried to turn things around. Prayed. Did therapy. Tried to be positive. Mind over matter. None of it helped. I tried to make myself busy. Distract myself from the weight attached to my heart. Too busy. So busy that I didn’t have time for myself.
15 months ago, I got attacked. It happened in a weird way. In a way I didn’t expect. I wasn’t drinking. In fact, I don’t think I had done anything. I was hanging out with a friend of mine. He’s not really a friend I guess. He’s a person who calls me when he needs something. And me, desperate to be needed. He asked if I wanted to get a drink and I said sure. He told me a friend of his was coming with. A friend who I didn’t know. I didn’t think anything of it. Not one thing. We met at this bar and I was being the “me” that I tend to be when I’m out and about in the world. Noisy and crass and boisterous and risqué. Making jokes that were inappropriate. Nothing different than any other night. I didn’t even sense what was happening. My friend said he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go home. The other guy, New Guy, was enjoying himself and asked if I would give him a ride home. I said that was fine. My son was on a high school sports team and was at an away game and would be needing a ride home so I didn’t see it as an imposition. We hung out for a bit more and then left the bar. The guy pretty much started telling me he wanted to get a blow job and I said no. He reached in to kiss me and I let him do it. I didn’t want to kiss him but I just figured letting him do it would be easier than some big fight. It wasn’t a good kiss and about that time, my son called saying they were about 45 minutes out, which gave me a good excuse to leave. I gave the guy a ride to where he was staying. This warehouse sort of in the middle of nowhere that he and my friend were working on. I needed to use the restroom and I saw my friend and asked him. He said sure. I went in the restroom and peed and washed my hands and my son called again saying they were one town over. I straightened my clothes and hair and opened the door and before I knew what was happening , I was pushed back into the restroom as hard as possible. He pushed me by my shoulders. He wasn’t a big guy and I am not a small girl but in that moment, he felt like a giant. I couldn’t even see what was happening because he flipped the light off and it was pitch black in that landlocked bathroom. He pushed me all the way against the back wall and was groping me. Everywhere. Touching me. Pushing me. Poking me. Trying to take my clothes off. He grabbed my hand and forced it to grab his penis, which was erect. He kept trying to push me down onto my knees and I know he wanted me to give him a blowjob. I had so many things running through my mind. Did my friend know this was happening? He was the one who invited this guy? Did he set this up? That friend and I had fooled around before and this guy told me that he knew? Was this a trap? Was I about to be raped in this dusty ass warehouse in the middle of nowhere? I thought if I scream, are these two going to get into a fight and I ruin a friendship or are they going to gang up on me? I thought about my son. How he was going to be stuck at the school and the coaches were going to be annoyed that I was late again. When I finally got out of the bathroom, my friend was nowhere to be seen. Left the warehouse I guess? I could think of nearly nothing but getting out of there. And mostly I thought about how I’d felt this same feeling of fear one other time before. The time I was raped the first time.
Yes, this wasn’t my first go round with being assaulted. No. The first time it happened was when I was 15. I don’t remember much of it. I blocked a lot of it out. I do remember that I was at a party in the woods. A keg party. I was probably drunk. Or high. I don’t remember which. I don’t remember how we got there. What I do remember was being raped on the ground. On top of thorns and sticks and stickers. I had splinters in my backs and thighs for weeks. I was crying and saying stop. The guy wasn’t that big but I didn’t have the strength to fight him off. Two drunk girls came upon us with a flashlight. They screamed and laughed and ran off. I was torn between asking them for help and being mortified because someone knew my secret. After it was over, I cleaned myself up, went home, and cried myself to sleep. I never told my parents. I was worried they would be mad I was at a party… how stupid was that? My first rapist continued to live in my hometown. Never amounted to much. When I would see him, he would say hello. I would be as minimally cordial as possible but never flat out rude. He died a few years back. Tragic death. I guess he got into drugs and he died from either a drug overdose or exposure. Not really sure. People in town all said, “Oh, it’s so sad. He was a good guy.” I was happy. I was glad he died. I didn’t cry and I didn’t talk about it still. I pushed that way deep down but his death brought a little of it back up. I felt bad that I was glad he was dead. But I was.
This new guy…. I didn’t see it before… but he had the same face. Sort of the same complexion. Same eyes. Two rapists. One face.
I’m a strong and powerful woman. A pillar of the community. People look up to me. I’m untouchable. Or so I thought. If I could go back and redo life, I would. I would say something. Because the first rape changed how I dealt with relationships. I was good at sex and I devalued it. If I didn’t get their attention with me, I’d get it one way or another. It held no meaning for me. I could fuck anyone or anything without feeling. I don’t think I have ever made love. Honestly. I have fucked. And the second rape made me realize that my life is one string of failed relationships. I have made no progress in 20 years. The pain is so intense that I just count the minutes until the end of the day where I can lay on the couch and get high or get drunk and sleep until the morning when I force myself out of bed and pretend to be a human for eight hours until I can come home and do it again. I think about killing myself every single day of my life. I know some day I will probably do it. No one really cares now. But they’ll care when I’m dead. That’s what this whole town is. Competing on who can be the better mourner. Who grieves the hardest? Who was the closest? All of you were right here and watched me through this and scorned me and shamed me instead of helping me. You talked shit about me. And now it’s too late. I can’t be helped. I’ve cried out to God. “HELP ME!” I get no answer. I have cried out to family. They tell me to snap out of it. I have cried out to friends. They don’t return my calls or make vague non-committal statements about hanging out sometimes. I cry out to myself and my inner voice says, “You’re done trying. Time to give up.”
And so here I am…. Writing what might very well be the last things I ever write and think to myself, “How did I get here?”