Bear with me, this is all new to me. For as long as I can remember I have been pretty emotionally detached. However, having turned twenty seven this past February has me thinking a lot differently. Especially since having found someone with whom I can completely be myself around. It’s like why would I not allow myself to feel that free all the time. So I have decided that it is about time that I stop allowing my fear of disappointing others to keep me distant and closed off from people.
A while back I realized that I had become almost unrecognizable to myself because I had allowed people’s perceptions of me to morph me into who they believed I was. At this point I said no more but did not realize that “no more” meant that I would have to come to terms with my past experiences in order to live in my truth and be my most authentic self. I wasn’t ready, but that was months ago.
I am ready now.
At my own pace I will face the many experiences of my past and confront the broken relationships that I have been dragging along for many years. I have crawled to the beginning of this bridge many times in an attempt to walk all the way across, despite how scary it may seem, and have always chickened out.
At this point, I figure I would just walk the bridge as slowly as I need to. Maybe after a few steps it won’t be as scary as I thought or the view…maybe the view would be worth facing this fear.
So once again please bear with me, this is all new to me.
As you all know I am doing the #photoadaychallenge for the month of April on instagram and today, day 16 is “book.” I am not currently reading a book but am choosing to post a book I read a few months ago by Keke Palmer titled I Don’t Belong To You. Mainly because there is a chapter in the book that aligns everything for me right now in terms of my battle with wanting to be my most authentic self and the need to face my past. Plus it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Disclaimer: I took time to look up the definition of Sexual Assault via Merriam-Webster (“illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (such as a doctor) in a position of trust or authority”) as I did not want to offend anyone who has experienced this abuse and am not saying that I was sexually assaulted. I actually do not know what to call it. However, I am saying that this is a conversation that needs to be had.
Today I will share with you my first sexual encounters. I am leaving the comments open because the conversation needs to be had but please be mindful of what you say. You never know who you may discourage from coming forward if you decide to leave shameful remarks. I do not remember the details of every encounter. Sometimes I actually feel as if I may have completely blocked out my very first one being as though I don’t really have any memories of anything before the third grade. Moving on.
There were a lot of them. Both people and encounters. Most took place during my elementary years. I don’t remember the order in which they took place. I don’t know why or how there are so many. They happened though.
I had an older male cousin who would take me to his room to play this game where he would pick me up with my legs open toward him and slam me on his bed while thrusting himself in between my legs. Writing this has me trying to figure out exactly what kind of game this was. I spent the night at a close friend’s house when I was in about the 3rd or 4th grade and she asked if she could “eat me out” and I responded “sure what’s that.” Just about every time I went back to her house this was something that would occur. I had cousins both older and younger who would wake me out of my sleep to come into a room with them and do sexual things. There were also more friends and family friends.
I had no idea what this was doing to me mentally and emotionally. However, I think eventually I began to look forward to some of the encounters. Even though I knew something about it wasn’t right being as though it was something the adults could not know about.
I do not feel the need to continue to share the stories themselves. They aren’t what I am truly trying to bring to your attention. The whole point is that sexual assault and sexual abuse doesn’t always look like a much older male raping a young girl. It may not always look like one person screaming and crying. There may not always be someone yelling “no.”
Once again I do not know if I would call these encounters sexual assault or sexual abuse. I am not so sure I would label them anything. It is however important that you know these encounters were with people of both genders and although their ages weren’t drastically different from mine they were both older and younger than me. While some of the encounters may have been two innocent children experimenting with things they had seen or unfortunately experienced themselves there are still lasting consequences.
At some point I was able to put an end to all of these situations. I never spoke to my cousins or friends about any of it. Some of them are still in my life and well they don’t bring it up either. I don’t remember how any of it started though sometimes I tell myself it was all me. I am the common denominator. I am not sure what affects, if any, these things had on them. I do not hate them. I do not dislike them. I just hope that they are mentally and emotionally okay.
I decided to share this with you all because I know that not everyone has read the Keke Palmer book and not everyone will read it. Reading Chapter 3 made me realize that I am not the only one who has had these experiences. In that chapter she shares her first sexual encounters which happened with a female cousin around her age. She even goes to tell how sexual assault/abuse was discussed and sort of taboo in her home. She talks about being labeled fast as a child and so much more. The chapter is very eye opening and really gave me a feeling of relief. Relief in knowing that I am not alone and that I have to stare those experiences in the face.
I am here trying to do for you what she did for me. This is something that has been “haunting” me for years now. These things made me feel ashamed. Ashamed that they happened but even more ashamed that I eventually looked forward to some of the encounters. I felt as if something was wrong with me. I felt less than. I felt like I let my family down. Her sharing her story in I Don’t Belong To You opened the cage that these experiences left me in, giving me the opportunity to walk out of it. Today, I finally did.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. This is the first time I have ever spoke, in this much detail, about any of these experiences with anyone.
If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse, there are a ton of resources to assist you in many areas following. One number you can call is 800.656.HOPE (4673). To gind out more about how dialing this number can help you click here.