One, Two, Three

One, two, three. Every single one. 


1.
I loved you.

Manipulation was your game. You were good.


Sitting and waiting. Talking. With baited breath I waited for you to ask me out. It was perfect. A godly boy asking me out in the church. So I waited for the question.

“Can I feel you?”

No. No you can’t. No. I screamed. I shouted.

But instead I was silent. I was 14 and you were 17. I was embarrassed. Scared.

But under the cross your hands slid up.
Before I had ever even been kissed.

And I cried. You saw it.

But you drove me home and wouldn’t take me back to my grandparents house until I gave you what you wanted.


A year of tying up my will. A year of strangling my self worth.

Then finally you asked me that day, November, cold and snowy, in the back of your car, if I wanted to have sex with you.

No! No. You’ve taken too much. Let me have this. I screamed. I shouted.

But instead I was silent. I was 15 and you were 18. You told me…if you asked I wasn’t allowed to say no. I didn’t say no. But I never said yes. And you knew. We had talked about it. You knew I didn’t want it.

The webs you spun in my mind were so vast I still haven’t untangled them. I was unlovable and lucky to have you. You’d leave me.

I was dead inside after that day.


Slut. Whore. Liar. Attention seeking.

I tried to speak up. I did.

But I was told that I couldn’t be raped by my boyfriend. That it couldn’t happen by the hands of a man who wanted to be a pastor.


I confronted you. Told you exactly what you did to me.

You called it non-consensual sex. You said rape was a heavy word.
It’s a heavy thing: what you did to me.
It’s something that won’t leave my shoulders. It’ll weigh me down.

You told me you loved me. But your love was not patient or kind. You kept a record of every wrong I did. You manipulated me and controlled my every action. You lashed out with anger every second you could. And I was your punching bag.

So I wonder, do you love her, the way you loved me?

God I hope not, I hope you truly are changed. I tried to speak up. I tried to speak out. But she didn’t believe me.

I hope I did my part. Because I can’t imagine her being married to the abusive man I dated.


2.
All you are is abuse.

You were kind once. Maybe it was part of your game.

Games. You were good at those. Do you remember? Like the one you played with me for months? Manipulating and twisting. Changing and hurting. That game you played? You called it “I want you to kill yourself.”

You admitted it.

You’ve admitted a lot to me. Like how you only wanted me for my body. That you wanted me to “enjoy when we are fucking and shut up when we aren’t.”

Because that’s all I was to you. I was no friend. Not even a person. Just an object to find release with.

You knew I wanted more. That I loved you. You knew my past. So you lied. You played those games.

There was that time when you hit me. You said it was an accident. My bloody lip and the space between us didn’t agree.

Do you remember the other games you played? My favorite was the one where you begged me for things and then told everyone I threw myself at you. I said no. I said no so many times. But you knew how I felt about you. You used it against me. You wanted to break me. In the end I allowed it. That was my fault. I was wrapped around your finger.


I tried to tell, you know. I tried to tell about all of it. Of course you did. That’s when you tried to destroy me. You lost control over me, so you tried to hurt me. But still, I tried to tell. It worked…maybe.

Can you call it working when I’m called a slut and liar? Did it really work when society thinks I spoke up just to get back at you? 


You are abuse.

And I forgive you.

But I haven’t forgiven myself for the fear you left me with. Nor do I find it easy forgive those who blindly ran to your aid. I find it hard to forgive my destruction.

But I forgive you.


3.
I didn’t just want you. I wanted to marry you.

I thought I found the man. For once a man who appreciated me and my intelligence. Who looked at me and saw beauty. Not treating me like a doll. Not telling me to “enjoy when we are fucking and shut up when we aren’t”

Looking at me with eyes filled with something other than lust. Wanting me around for something other than domination, manipulation, and control.

But you ripped that from me leaving a bloody mess. For the third time I’d lost. You looked at me like I was for you. Like I was yours for the taking. I felt dirty.

You didn’t ask for consent. You didn’t stop when I said no. Only physical force saved me.

I saved me, but I couldn’t save the faith and trust I had in people. I couldn’t really stop myself from feeling violated. Violated by the man who wants to be a pastor.


I blame myself for every girl after me. But still I couldn’t let the monster escape from my lips. I couldn’t hurt you. I couldn’t tell. I still justify what you did. I justify what you did to me, and I pray that the other girls are fine.


But then some days my head is clear from your grasp and I know. I know it can’t be justified.


So one day I made my choice. Phone calls were made. Cars were borrowed. All pushing me to one long night in the police station after hours.

I told. I opened my mouth and the monster came out.
The dark mess came out slowly, then all at once. Like bile I couldn’t keep down.
I told. I told the police. I didn’t want charges. I wanted a record for those who came after me.

But then I went home and I told.

Our home. Yours and mine. Because I needed there to be something for those to come after me, because I knew they were coming. I was the front-runner.

I told. The monster came out in our home.
Bile rising up. Tears pouring out.
I spoke those words you begged me not to.

In the end even you.
Even you admitted it.

And I was the one who received the backlash.



One, two, three.
Every damn one. I don’t know what healthy looks like.
One, two, three. Three strikes. I’m out.


Or I thought I was.

But maybe now I’ve grown. I’m out of their games, but I’m not out of my own.

I am stronger than what happened. I am stronger than my broken past. One day I will stand up, full and tall, free of the weight, free of the fear, and free of the bile, that these men left me with.

My story isn’t over yet. I haven’t reached my strongest. I haven’t broken.
My story isn’t over and I’ll be damned if I let it end like this.

One, two, three.
I’m not out of the game yet.


This is a story that outlines my three relationships I’ve been in. Everything in this is true, and while it’s not prettily written it’s something I wrote to read aloud during Take Back the Night. I’m hoping this story will continue to grow with me and have a better ending with more of a resolve. 

Thanks for reading!

-April 16th, 2016

Hey guys, so some of you may have noticed, and some of you may have never read this before, but I added more to my story. Since writing this in April I did some more things and it changed the ending of my story a bit. I really wanted to at least get some of it finished before this November as it’s the anniversary of a couple different things for me. I’ve reached a point in my life where I realized these instances do not define my future, but they do explain a lot of who I am. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone, but I do want to share these things with people. So many of my friends who have read it said they can relate to it and honestly that’s part of why I’m sharing it. 

I am not a perfect person. I have not written my wrongdoings and I do have them – but this originally started as therapy for me. If you want to know all my faults, feel free to ask about them. No side was perfect.

So honestly, thank you for reading. Welcome to my mind.

-October 26th, 2016

Bethany

 

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