My Telling: Adrienne
The first time, I woke up with my friend on top of me. It was someone that I trusted and had invited into my house. I put him up on the couch so that he didn’t have to walk home at midnight and he destroyed that trust. And then when I tried to push him off of me and tell him no, he told me that I was playing games, that I wanted him and he knew it. He said I needed to stop playing games. I thought, “saying no is not a game.” He raped me that night. I wondered why this was happening to me. My conclusion, it was because I walked and talked with him. It was because I smiled and I was interested in his life, and his background; in who he was. So, I stopped. I stopped being interested in people. I stopped smiling at people. I stopped trying to make people laugh. I stopped having a ready answer and a quick wit. I stopped being me.
2 ½ years later….
I had been extremely cautious around guys. But, I met a guy and he flattered me. He seemed so sweet, so I allowed him into my world, just a little starting off, then more and more. We had sex and it was okay because I was in control. Slowly, I began to fall in love. Slowly, I began to trust. Our relationship was rocky, ups and downs, arguments and make ups, but we toughed it out. Three years later we were still together. We went out to play pool the night that it happened and I can’t remember playing pool since. We got into an argument that night, but it wasn’t a bad one. At least, I didn’t think so. I drove back to my house because he was drinking and I put him in the living room. It wasn’t the first time, so I didn’t think anything of it. I woke up in the middle of night with a sense of déjà vu. He was on top of me; this man that I had come to love and trust. I thought, this couldn’t be happening again. “Do you want me to get off” he asked? “Yes! Get off of me!” I told him as I tried to push him off. I had no leverage and he finished. Little did I know that a child was made that night.
“Again.” The word went through my mind as I lay beside him. He had fallen asleep, but I was up. I felt dirty and sick. I went to the bathroom and took a shower. I come out and he was still sleeping. What could I do? What should I do? I didn’t know. All I could think was again. This has happened to me again. I felt water on my cheeks and realized that I was crying. Again was repeated over and over. I went to the couch. Once again, what I wanted meant less than nothing. Once again, I was reminded that if a guy is stronger, he can do what he wills. Once again, my trust had been betrayed. Once again, I felt like I was nothing.
I became pregnant that night, but the guy and I didn’t talk anymore. Now, I had to do what was best for this child growing in me. I would face all of the consequences. I would deal with all the reactions. It wasn’t about me. It was about my baby. I was used to this feeling. Other people first, you last. That had been my life. It was nothing new.
I had a miscarriage and I had to tell the doctor that I lost the baby. I had to go into surgery because the bleeding would not stop. I came out and the doctors told me that they had to remove my uterus. I wanted to cry, because it hurt. My life would be very different now. I wouldn’t be a mother. I would never have children of my own. I wanted to be a wife and mother since I was 12 years old. For half of my life, I had one ultimate dream: to get married and have a huge family that I could raise. “You can always adopt.” These words are echoed around me time and time again. I know that. It’s not the same. I wanted children from my own body.
The Price of Life
I thought, now what am I? What do I have? I wanted my child, I wanted to be a mother, but it’s not about me. I keep hearing that. What have I learned? I learned not to want because right when you want something badly, it’s taken away from you. I learned not to trust; because people are always going to do what they want, regardless of how it makes you feel. I learned that my opinions were not wanted or even needed. I learned that everyone else was correct and I was always wrong. I learned that I couldn’t take my life because it didn’t belong to me. So that meant that I had to live with the knowledge that it wasn’t about me.
Eventually, I found ReClaim. ReClaim taught me that I was innocent. No matter what decisions I made… ‘no’ means ‘no.’ I was not responsible for what happened to me. I was not a bad person. I was not always wrong. It’s okay to be me. It’s okay to smile and laugh and be interested in people. ReClaim helped me to open up my heart again, even in the midst of pain. ReClaim helped me to take my life back from the men that betrayed and violated me. I don’t have to hide because of what those men did to me. It’s not my shame, it’s not my secret.