The Truth of the Monster

I thought I had found the man, third time’s the charm right?

You looked at me with something in your eyes – something other than lust.

Wanting something more than domination, manipulation, and control.

But you ripped me apart, leaving a bloody mess.

 

I became yours for the taking – I felt dirty.

You never asked for consent and you didn’t stop when I said no.

Only physical force saved me – my physical force.

Once again I was violated by a man who wanted to be a pastor.

 

I blamed myself for every girl after me – every one who you hurt next.

But I wouldn’t let the monster of what you did escape from my lips.

I wouldn’t let the bile rise up – I swallowed it down.

I prayed that the others are fine and that no more will be hurt.

 

I justified what you did to me and to them.

Over and over I justified the things you did.

But then some days my head is clear from your grasp.

And I know – I know that what you did can’t be justified.

 

So one day my mind was crystal clear.

And I made my choice in that clarity.

Phone calls were made and cars were borrowed.

A long night in the police station after hours.

 

So 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 the police but I didn’t want charges.

I wanted a record for those after me, for those who might come.

 

But then I went back and I told home – our home – yours and mine.

Because even there I needed there to be a something for those to come after me.

I knew there were some to come – I was the frontrunner.

I was the trailblazer for those hurt by you.

 

I told and the monster came out in our home.

Bile rising up – tears pouring out.

I spoke those words you begged me not to.

The truth burned out – I don’t know if even I could have stopped them.

 

In the end even you – even you admitted it.

No punishments happened to you, not a single one.

And I was the one who received the backlash.

Maybe that was the truth of the monster.

Bethany

Agape: The Story of My First Tattoo

Today I got my very first tattoo. For those who don’t know, this is not “Jesus fish, upside-down Jesus fish, Jesus fish, pi, and n.” It’s the word agape in original Greek. 
I’ve been thinking about getting this tattoo for awhile – I mean honestly it’s been a couple years. The beginnings of the idea started around when I was 13 – 14. The full idea didn’t really come to me until maybe I was like 16. Until point I was still back-and-forth about exactly what I wanted but I kind of knew that I at least wanted some form of love at the top.

Then at 16 I picked that I wanted the word agape which is the Greek word for love. Agape has two main interpretations that I learned: unconditional, charitable love; and God’s love for us. 1 Corinthians 13 coincides with agape and they are constantly referenced together – in addition this is my favorite chapter of the bible. To me I find this to be part of a description of agape. It also had a lot of meaning to me. 

The original reason for wanting a form of love on my arm was because I needed a reminder to myself. From a very young age I struggled with self-harm. I wanted a subtle reminder that I am better. I also wanted a reminder that above all else God loves me, even if all else in this world fails, thus, agape; God’s unconditional love. Even now, even picturing that tattoo there has helped me not relapse into self-harm. 

Now, it’s that and a reminder of 1 Corinthians 13 I’m very attached to for a couple different reasons. First of all, I’ve always just loved the way that it flows – but that’s not why I wanted it tattooed on me. I want a reminder that I deserve better. I want a reminder to be better. Love is what should drive me, my love for God and my love for my fellow people. 

From my very first boyfriend to my most recent one, I’ve experienced abuse and sexual assault. This is a reminder that how they treated me was not love. The emotional abuse and manipulation that occurred was not love. Trying to convince me to commit suicide isn’t love. Convincing me I was ugly and they were the only ones who would love me… Isn’t love. Being angry at everything I did. Being controlling. Hurting me as a way of gaining control….Whether it was words or physical… That was not love. Calling me lucky that they loved me… Is not love. Love is patient, and it is kind. It does not put down others. It does not look for self-gain. It’s not envy. It’s not about anger. There’s no record of past wrongs to hold over anyone’s head. It protects. It conquers. It does not fail. (4-8) I need to be looking for this. For God’s love to shine through another. That I am better than manipulative people. I need to remember what love is and not get caught up in fake manipulative things. 

It’s a reminder that this is what God’s love for me is. Even if all else fails, this is what God feels towards me. Others will not be perfect. I will not be perfect. But God is. This is a reminder to follow him, to trust him, to love him, and to live my life for the one who loves such an imperfect me. 

But this is also a reminder for me on my actions and feelings towards others – not just how I am loved and should be treated. I also need to remember to treat people right. I need to remember to treat people right. I slip into anger way too much. Sometimes I can be manipulative. Sometimes I hold past wrongs over people’s heads. So I need to be better and I want to be driven by love, not anything else. 

This whole idea had already solidified in my mind by the time I went to work at Pioneer Camp at which I started working with adults with disabilities. Here, they are called agape campers and I realized I have a huge passion for this. They changed my life and it felt like God was just saying, hey stupid, yeah, agape was the right choice for a tattoo. Little by little things have just popped up that have made me certain I wanted this. 

Every once in awhile there’s something new that ties in with this tattoo. 

Bethany

Don’t Get Too Close: It’s Dark Inside

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When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

– Imagine Dragons

So my anger and pain finally caught up to me and I wrote “to” the guy who sexually assaulted me and who I tried to get justice against. I feel like a horrible person. I feel crazy. I feel ridiculous. But this is what’s inside. My pain and my horrid disgusting inability to forgive. My problem with playing victim. My demons. So here they are; no more hiding.

Letters to Carson: Day 1 through Day 40

A Letter to Justin: The Man Who Was My Friend When Convenient

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To Justin,

I can no longer say “dear” although once upon a time I would have.

Once we were close and I was there for you whenever you needed me. Now though, thinks have been rocky between us. You asked me if we were good…

No, I don’t think I’m okay with being friends with you. You’ve said a lot of hurtful things, and I don’t believe you stayed neutral during all of this. If you did, you wouldn’t have defended Carson or encouraged him to get away. You didn’t really take the chance to see it from my side.

You also really hurt me by basically calling me psycho. I’m not, because if you put yourself in my shoes, you’d understand why I did it. Yeah, you may not understand it, but I was actually rational during that. He shouldn’t have run away with no explanation, and to me that was standing up for myself. Standing up for myself when he sexually assaulted me.
You also hate being called violent, or out of control. If someone is hurting you or your friends, you put a stop to it somehow, and if they continued, you have threatened them. Because of this, I very much so don’t believe you have any right to act like what I did was crazy. That’s putting a double standard on it.
My life experiences are different than yours so you may not understand, but that doesn’t give you the right to say I’m crazy or act like I was out of line. I truly don’t believe I was, because I didn’t do that out of the blue, it was after days of trying to get an explanation from him. It didn’t hurt him to give me 30 seconds – 1 minute to talk to me…But it did hurt me to be left in the dust. It hurt me to be left when I was letting it go that he assaulted me.
I don’t think I’m okay with being friends with you, because you’ve placed so many double standards. You always promised to be here, but any time I brought up feminism, you got strange. You promised to be my friend, but rarely were you there for me, only I for you. You didn’t care when he assaulted me.
Any time I really needed a friend, you weren’t there. Only when it was easy for you.
I’m almost sorry; only for what could have been, not because I’m leaving.
Bethany

A Letter to Alex: The Man Who Stepped In

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Dear Alex,

Crazy crazy Alex whom my heart adores. The funny thing is, I really had never talked to you until the one day I mentioned I was having a hard time with the people who I sat with at lunch. You knew I was the new girl, so I didn’t know many people. You took that opportunity to take me under your wing.

Alex, you became the brother I wished I had. Sure, I had an older brother, but you were protective and caring of me. You never liked me, but you loved me all the same. You still take the time to check up on me.

Alex, I love and adore you for being who you are. We really weren’t around each other for more than a few months, but you made the biggest (positive) impact on me while I was in your High School for that one year.

You stepped in when I needed someone the most. You taught me to be strong and beautiful without a guy.

Thank you Alex,

Bethany

Anxiety: No Fight, only Flight

Palms sweaty, arms shaking. Brain blank and tunnel vision beginning. Heart racing, breath quickening. Limbs freezing and stomach feeling naseous. 

This is what it’s like to be me every day. Every day I always get an anxiety attack, and almost alway shave a panic attack. There’s no reasoning behind them; no trigger and nothing I can do.

The fight and fire leave me. I’m strong and passionate. I don’t have fear. Until this that is, then there’s no fight. All I can do. I’m falling deeper and deeper.

It’s not a question between fight or flight; there’s only one choice: flight.

Bethany