I felt like I didn’t exist.
I was an empty weight.
I was worthless and unworthy.
That feeling still lingers in me.
I still feel scared to confront anyone or to speak up for myself.
Those horrific twenty minutes affects me every day of my life.
It affects me to have a normal relationship with a man romantically, even though I deeply crave companionship and intimacy.
My story doesn’t seem to leave me. It has haunted me for a long time. I went through lulls of pain and grief. I went through soul searching self-understanding.
I am proud to say that I’ve evolved into a different person. I feel more comfortable with my vulnerability and sexuality.
When I was twenty-seven years old, I met a man online and began exchanging emails. His name was Alex. Our email exchange occurred for several months as he was out of the country traveling for work. When he finally returned to the United States, we met up for our first date.
Everything about that first date seemed perfect.
It was raining profusely and Alex stood outside the restaurant holding a fresh bouquet of red roses. My heart melted at the sight.
We had a delicious dinner where the waiter mistook us as a couple celebrating our anniversary, spotting the red roses on the table. After dinner, we watched a movie together and I felt waves of heat and chemistry wash me.
Alex had to make another trip out of the country, so we continued keeping in touch through emails.
As time wore on, I realized he was becoming aggressive and controlling. He wanted to know where I was constantly despite being in different countries. He would become angry if I didn’t respond fast enough. Those seemed like little things to me, so despite my niggling feeling, I carried on. I met up for a second date and finally a third date.
After rounds of appetizers and drinks, we decided to watch a movie at the theater. I let Alex drive. Though I had two to three drinks maximum, it was enough for me to feel the buzzing sensations of alcohol. I had low tolerance for alcohol. I trusted him to drive me to the theater safely. After all, we had known each other for many months by then.
Upon arrival, Alex pulled out a bottle of whiskey from his car trunk and started drinking. I insisted he stop drinking and head to watch the movie. But he pulled me towards him and kissed me abruptly.
I was taken by surprise, but kissed him back.
As I kissed Alex, my belly stirred with an unfamiliar feeling.
I pulled my body back and pushed the car door open slightly. Just enough for fresh air to blow in. His mouth landed more kisses on my lips and face and with his hands tried to close the door I had just opened. I reached for the door again and pushed it open. He insisted to shut the door again, but I said I was feeling too hot in the car. This pulsing inner sensation in my chest and stomach commanded me to keep the door open.
It was like my body warned me before I even realized what would unfold next.
Alex jumped out of the car and screamed about his gigantic bank balance and multitude of properties he owned in the theater’s parking lot. I was desperate and embarrassed by his boastful screaming as passersby walked to the theater. Once I had calmed him and had him in the car again, I was about to suggest dropping the movie idea and calling it a night. But within seconds, he pulled me towards him with force and kissed me wildly. Then, he jumped on top of me. His six feet frame crushed my five feet frame and exerting his full force on me, my body was being swallowed by his. Air escaped my lungs. I gasped for air and tried to stop him with my petite frame and sloppy movement.
I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember telling Alex I couldn’t breathe. But he continued to force himself on me despite my words. I repeated the words over and over, but he kept going. I tried to yell as people were leaving the parking lot in their cars, but no one heard my muffled cries or saw my struggle.
Let me tell you how this feels.
I thought I was never going to breathe again.
I thought I was never going to see my family again. I thought I was never going to see my dreams come true.
I thought about what would happen next with him on top of me. I became numb and limb. But my right arm somehow slipped out from our bodies’ entanglement and I pushed the car door open.
As Alex tried to close the car door, my mouth became free and I screamed. Still no one came and I was engulfed with terror. I thought about what would happen next. I thought about him forcefully penetrating me, as he tore at my clothes. Until the security guard came running towards me, his voice urgent, asking what happened. Alex got up and dusted himself and pretended nothing happened.
The security guard asked me if I was alright and escorted me to my car.
I went home and fell asleep, holding myself tightly the entire night. The next morning, my phone revealed fifty missed calls and dozens of text messages on my phone. In the last ten hours.
I told my best friend and she encouraged me to report him to the police. But I doubted myself and actually thought maybe he hadn’t attempted to sexually assault me. Maybe it was all in my head and I was hallucinating. Seeing me falling apart and having come out of a long-term relationship at the time, my best friend stopped persuading me to report Alex to the police.
Time wore on, but I couldn’t bring myself to take myself into the dating game again. I couldn’t trust anyone. I had no desire for sexual activity. I had no desire for a man to touch me. I withdrew into my shell.
I had emotional breakdowns and outbursts often with my family. I started to become emotionally and physically exhausted. One night though, I realized I couldn’t keep living my life like this. I was heading towards depression. I had to get help.
My thirtieth birthday was approaching and I gave myself the gift of working with a love, sex, and desire coach to unravel deeply grained beliefs and patterns in me. It was a confronting process where I not only dealt with this traumatic experience, but other experiences in my life that caused me to become closed off in my twenties.
I shed many tears processing emotions stored energetically in my body for years. I learned to feel comfortable to reveal my vulnerabilities and ask for help and receive support. Night after night, I stayed home and dug deep into my body to uncover my true feelings and receive answers through my body wisdom. I saw with confronting clarity how my beliefs and fears played its patterns in my relationships with loved ones and men romantically. I spent the large part of this year crying myself to sleep mostly, yet I’ve never felt as liberated and in touch with myself as I do today.
Working with a coach was the first step to help me to communicate and express myself to my family, and to the most important in the Universe, myself. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and catch a glimmer of hope in my eyes. Tears of happiness fill my eyes because I see a completely new woman. A woman who today celebrates her sexuality and vulnerability and is proud of the commitment she showed to her growth.
By embracing the dark, messy parts and shadows of myself, I’ve learn to love myself exactly as who I am with no conditions imposed. As clichéd as that sounds, loving myself unconditionally and wholly has allowed to feel deeply present and welcome more love and abundance in all its divine forms (monetary, emotional, romantic) into my life.
Here are some words I’d like to leave you straight from the journal I kept while working with my coach:
During the session, my coach guided me to go deeper into my body. I felt called to explore vulnerability. I had the image of myself as a little girl. As a child. I saw myself with long, wavy black hair. My natural hair. No highlights or perm. My soft skin and luscious large almond-shaped eyes carried a lot of innocence and vulnerability. I felt emotions. I was not numb.
I felt emotion well up in my body and chest and throat. I feel vulnerable. I want to cry and feel lighter. I feel intimate with myself. I’ve never placed such intimate attention to how I’m feeling. I realize that I love myself dearly. A lot. I feel worthy. I showered my body with love, intimacy, affection, and attention. This is what I want in a deeply loving committed relationship and from a man. But first I must give this to myself.
Image source: Accurate-Psychic Readings