At the ripe and mischievous young age between four and twelve I was a troublemaker. My daily goal was to do anything I could to annoy my older sister. Some of my favorite acts of annoyance was to barge in her room and leave with some trinket of hers in hand, ask her a million questions of which I argued every answer, poke her, and even show her my small childish bare bum. My parent probably thought we hated each other. Hell, even my sister thought I hated her, and she probably hated me. However, looking back at my childhood, that was my own funny and outlandish way of showing her love. Even now, with my closest friends it is not uncommon for me to tell them “I hate you,” and “You’re Satan.” I know, The Worlds Worst Friend Award goes to me. They know every time I say something mean I am really showing them love. Am I mentally insane? Probably. I’ve learned to accept my idiosyncrasies. The peculiar child I was only grew to became the unorthodoxed adult I am today.
It may be the second most cliche thing to express as a lesson I learned, but your past becomes who you are. There were many times when I was bashished to a few hours jail time in my small six year old room, while my sister was allowed to wonder about the free world and watch whatever Disney movie her heart desired. I can specifically recall a time she was watching Lion King and I was in my room. I was just old enough to know how to manipulate a mirror to allow me to watch the TV while laying in the floor right outside my “jail cell.” No matter how much I yearned to be Nala… or even Tamon, I knew my spirit animal was the annoyance of Rifiki fused with the mannerisms of Pumba. One of my favorite parts of the whole movie is this interaction:
After my initial denial of being raped, I accepted my experiences. Many rape survivors undergo a period feeling of shame. Ashamed of what happened to them. Ashamed of “allowing” the rape to happened. I was fortunate enough not to feel ashamed of myself. Endless questions definitely riddled my mind of why and how this happened, but never was I ashamed. I do not mean I went around with a Barbara Streisand-esque “Don’t Rain On My Parade” attitude announcing to all of Broadway and the world that I was raped. Even with some of the closest of my friends I use the vague description of “assault” to express why we broke up. My immediate goal after the incident was to make this event my past. I wanted to think of this event as many think of how they broke their arm in grade school. It was painful, terrible, and inconvient event that happened and is now in the past. Everyday I tried my best not to think of him or what happened to me, and failed. Even over eight long months later, I can only recall one day that he didn’t enter my mind. That one day I yearn to be everyday. Until one day the thought “I haven’t thought about him in a long time” is the only thought I have for him.
I do not and will not allow his actions to define me. However, your past become a integral part of you. “We are all just stories in the end. So, just make it a good one” as one of my favorite TV shows so eloquently phrased. As a character in this long and draw out short story of life, I am making the active decision everyday to make my story a brave and inspiring one. The hardest part about being a rape survivor is letting it be a part of your story. I never want him to be a part of my life ever again, however he will always be a part of it. It is a continual and slow learning curve of how to allow this dreadful experience mold my future into a grander and happier one. A constant struggle between post traumatic flashbacks and taking all the frustration and anger and changing it into a positive. I would like to end this entry with my all time favorite moment in all of literature and cinema. Which, I hope, reminds you that we all need a Samwise Gamgee to our Frodo. Even if we are our own Sam.
*I apologize for all the movie and TV quotes. There were so many that I learned from and hold dear to my heart.