I've actually wanted to write this not for a while, but now I feel like I am in a place where I can do so and not feel like I'm lying. Things have been changing for me since December, and I'm not sure what changed. However, I am not going to argue with the results. Just because I'm writing it, however, doesn't mean that you are under any obligation to read it. I'm prepared to talk a lot today. Also, you should know that I almost never reread before I post. So it is entirely possible that I say something totally strange in here. If so, I'm sorry, but I'm also kind of amused. Have a great day everyone!
I think it all started when my ex-boyfriend and I met for coffee. He was my first boyfriend, when I was sixteen, and we dated a total of three times. He was my best friend before that, and I thought he was just wonderful. He was a year older than me, and very kind, and I just hung on his every word. When he asked me out, I don't think I ever even questioned if I wanted to date him. He wanted to date me, and that was such an incredible concept that I couldn't say no. I would have done anything for him, and often did. I won't drag you through all of the details, save to say that the first time we broke up, it was because he'd told his parents about my childhood abuse, and PTSD. They told him to break up with me, and so he did. (Apparently his mom, who's supposed to be a leading child psycologist, recently asked him if his new girlfriend was "another crazy." Can I just say that I don't know who's the crazy one here? Sorry. I just wonder about that.) I was devastated, and made high tradgedy of my heartbreak, until, a few months later, he decided to ask me out again. I was delighted, and again, went along with anything he said, even going so far as to sneak into his house, on his command. Slowly, however, I became aware of my mother and therapists comments that he was not treating me well. After several weeks of this, I finally took him aside and asked him to please change his behavior. I put a time limit on it, saying that if he couldn't make an effort to change at least some of his behavior in a week, then I couldn't be with him. Short version: He told me I'd better break up with him now, because he wasn't going to tolerate me doing it later. Ergo, I wound up breaking up with him. A year went by, we remained friends (I had a stubborn refusal to let him stop being my friend.) We dated again, briefly. I told him this time that I was not okay with having sex, I wanted to wait. He said he was fine with that, then broke up with me not long later because I wasn't acting like a girlfriend. Oddly, my mother told me I wasn't acting like a girlfriend before he did...I don't understand. Is there something that you HAVE to do to be a girlfriend? I thought I was taking care of me, for a change.
The reason for that long paragraph, is to lead you to November of this year. In November, I woke up and decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. (Long story. Basically you write a novel in a month. Mine was more 50,000 words of introspection. I wanted to make myself "snap out" of my depression in that month.) So, that day, I woke up, I went and I wrote a whopping 8,000 words worth of introspective things that I had never dared say. It was possibly the only time in my life where I acted based on what I was feeling without worrying about the possible consequences. I wrote what I thought, and didn't edit or even reread. However, after that first day, I was kind of freaked out by some of what I had written. By some chance, my ex was on facebook, so I started talking to him, telling him how freaky this was, but how proud I was of having written it. He asked if he could read it, and I sent it to him. It wasn't until several minutes after I sent it to him that I realized I had mentioned him in in...in a non-flattering capacity. I began panicking. When he read that part (maybe three sentences, maybe a whole paragraph) he called me up, angry (and rightfully so) demanding to know what the truth was. So I told him everything I could think of to explain why I would write such hurtful things. I spent an hour? two hours? on the phone with him, apologizing and feel horrible guilt for hurting his feelings. I felt like I always hurt him, and began planning to kill myself when I returned to my room. Well, eventually he kind of calmed down and changed the subject to lighter things, thereby defusing some of my suicidal thinking. Obviously I did not kill myself, I did not even attempt to. But, as my therapist pointed out to me later, this shows what kind of power he holds over me, and what kind of power I let him hold over me. I thought the matter had blown over, so when he invited me for coffee over winter break, I agreed, no problem. We spent the first ten or so minutes of our coffee discussing Kindles vs. books, and the rest of the hour that we were together arguing. He told me that he was incredibly hurt that I would write such a thing, and I apologized. He told me that he couldn't look at me and our time together the same way, and I apologized. He told me that he had been there for me, and I apologized. He told me that now that he knew I'd felt that way once, he'd always think I felt that way, and I apologized. He told me that I "had no right to feel that way about [him] after everything [he] did for me" and I started to apologize. And then I stopped. And I said "Wait a minute. What? Did you really just tell me I'm not allowed to feel upset with you? Uh-uh. I am NOT okay with this." So I told him the truth. He was choosing to make himself unhappy. I was not doing anything to him anymore. I was horribly sorry that I'd hurt his feelings, and I was thankful for what he did to support me, but I was going to listen to what everyone had been telling me for years, and make myself happy. His happiness was no longer my responsibility, in this new mindset, it was his. He could be unhappy all he wanted, but I wasn't going to feel guilty because of it. Happiness, I suddenly realized, is a choice, not a gift granted on you by luck, and other people. I was done with the guilt. I left him that day, and we have not talked since. Frankly, it feels great!
I have never been able to stand up for myself, only others, and that conversation was really a turning point for me. Even when I was not really aware of it, it was as though confidence was slowly building up in me.
This term started, and I went back to school, only to find that the majority of the friends I'd had last term, seemed no longer interested in my friendship. This upset and hurt me greatly, but I tried to focus on other things. In the course of these "other things" I made the decision to tell my therapist about my rape, and hope for the best. It took me three weeks to finally get to the point where she knew I was trying to say something. (I had to eventually write it up and send it to her. I just couldn't get the words out.) So last Thursday, she finally found out. (I should also mention that during the course of the sessions where I was trying to work up the nerve, a lot of other good discoveries were made. It's like after two years of therapy, I'm finally making progress.) I was on pins and needles waiting for Tuesday (yesterday) when our meeting was. I was anxious all day. Then, the meeting comes, and we have planning issues. So we rescheduled for that night, and I returned to pins and needles. We had our conversation, and she didn't hate me, she supported me entirely, and was glad that I'd told her. She told me something that made and still makes me want to cry every time I hear it. "You were young, and you were powerless. You were a little girl who was hurting and just wanted to be held. But instead of saying "That's okay" you are criticizing this little girl and telling her that she was bad. You are punishing her for not being perfect. For getting hurt." (I am nearly crying as I type this. This is ridiculous!) I can't stop thinking about that. (And coming near tears every single time...this could become problematic if I go out in public.) I don't know how I feel about this yet, but it has clearly touched a nerve somewhere. So I'm going to keep thinking about it.
While all this was going on (not the conversation, the things leading up to it) I found myself joining PWP, something I wanted to do when I first heard about it two years ago, but didn't have the guts for. I joined, and within a few days, I was going to bed feeling good about myself. I felt like when I logged in to PWP I was the person I always wanted to be. I felt like I was a good person. One of my old friends asked me about a week after I'd joined why I thought I was a bad person. For the first time in my life I didn't know the answer. I couldn't tell him! It was one of the strangest, yet most wonderful feelings I could have imagined.
Last night, I saw something I didn't like, and I spoke up about it! That's incredible! I don't do that! I am so proud of myself right now, I can't even tell you. Yes, everything fell apart. Yes, I lost a friend, and got temporarily banned (twice!) from one of my favorite places in the internetverse. (I don't think websites are technically places in the universe, hence the new word.) But I am proud of myself for saying something. Maybe next time I will be able to do so in a better way, but for now, I am just over the moon that I spoke up. I feel good about myself. So I lost a friend. There is no replacing a friend, but I did gain more friends who can't be replaced. Yes, I got banned, but the world didn't end. Someone called me aggressive! I can't stop smiling about that. So, in a weird way, what should have been, and logically was an absolutely terrible night, became something purely remarkable.
I woke up this morning and I felt GOOD. Aside from the effects from the three hours of sleep, and the strange sensations you apprarently get when you fall asleep with a cough drop in your mouth (I don't advise it. It makes your mouth shrivel in weird ways, and everything feels strange until you've drunk a lot of liquid.) I felt great! I went to my first ever college midterm and I sat down and looked at the test, and thought to myself "This is it? I can handle this!" I wanted to roar at my test, show it who was boss. (Think of what a story that would have made! "I was taking my midterm and the girl next to me roared at her test....like actually roared at it!") I did that test, and I did it with humor! I amused myself while giving good answers to historical questions. I felt barely a trace of my usual test anxiety, and I am (to use the word) pumped! (I've never actually used that word. Now I'm wondering how it aquired this particular meaning.) I feel like I can handle anything life throws at me. It is a new day and I feel STRONG! RAWR!