“But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”
― Albert Camus
I always thought I’d end up killing myself one day; that’s the way I’d go out–swallowing a bottle of pills, driving into a tree, or jumping out a window. So many ways to die; not enough time to execute them all. (See what I did there?) But then healing has this way of sneaking up on you, of taking your past and turning it into a future, of taking the darkness and turning it into hope. One day, you wake up, and you realize that somewhere along the way, life became the only option for you.
My life didn’t end the day I was raped–I just thought it did. It’s an easy thing to assume, when you’re lying on the bathroom floor, looking up at five guys who just spent the last fifteen minutes telling you how disgusting you are, how no one will ever love you. My life didn’t end the day I was raped; life just taught me how to fight like hell to survive. There’s healing in fighting, healing in surviving, healing in breathing when everything within you tells you to give up.
There’s healing even when you feel like drowning.
I didn’t even have time to turn the bathroom sink off before one of them grabbed me, didn’t even have time to scream as they covered my mouth and started pulling at my clothes. The tears filling my eyes echoed the drip of the bathroom sink. And in that moment, I felt like I was drowning.
There really are no words to describe the physical and emotional pain that come with being held down and raped. I fought back. I screamed. I cried. But what else could I have done? What else could I have done to protect myself in a school, as I was wearing jeans and a hoodie? Really the only thing you can do is take the pain, the torture because everytime you scream, they do it harder.
No one teaches you how to be a survivor. No one tells you that surviving sucks. They just tell you how to prepare yourself so you don’t have to be a survivor. Statistics say that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life. And all we have left are questions with no answers: Why, Where was God, Why didn’t someone stop it?
Healing means accepting the fact that sometimes, the questions you have have no answers. Healing means accepting the past and moving forward, means getting angry and then letting it go.
One day, you wake up, and you realize that somewhere along the way, life became the only option for you.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified–what 13-year-old child wouldn’t be. I didn’t know how to tell my parents, my church family. I would rather have them think I was a ‘slut’ who had sex at 13 than be a rape victim. It’s easier to place the blame on yourself than it is on others. It’s easier to be angry at God than it is to be angry at a human, but still, the person I was angry at the most was myself.
A month later, I had a miscarriage. And I have to be honest, my initial reaction wasn’t sadness; it was happiness, followed by deep seeded guilt– guilt I’ve carried with me for far too long. Sometimes I wonder if God knew what he was doing, and then I remember this: I wouldn’t be where I am today if I was a mother at 13.
life just taught me how to fight like hell to survive.
I thought I’d be dead by now–should’ve been dead by now. I mean, I’ve attempted suicide enough times, almost driven into trees enough times, skipped enough meals, self-harmed deep enough enough times. And yet, here I am.
I wouldn’t consider myself healed yet, far from it. I just now have the tools in my toolbox, the medication in my bloodstream, the voice of my therapist in my head giving me enough strength to push on. Push forward.
And I know now that God… well, God… was holding my hand through everything, crying with me, angry with me. And that’s enough to keep my head above water, even when I feel like drowning.