22 years ago next month, a man came into my house and changed my life forever. He wasn’t a friend. He wasn’t a family member. To me, he was a complete stranger. He was my best friend’s drug dealer. His name was Scott. He was 22. I was 14.
At 14 you’re pretty sure that you rule the world, and that nothing will ever hurt you. So, when my best friend suggested we drink the bottle of Jack Daniels in my parent’s liquor cabinet, I didn’t argue. It was horrible, and burned on the way down. I hated every minute of it, but my best friend assured me it was going to be fun. After a few sips the burning subsided, and the fun began. We started stumbling around the house, laughing hysterically, and calling everyone we knew. “I know,” she said “Let’s call my drug dealer, he thinks you’re really pretty.” At 14 the thought of a grown-up thinking you’re pretty is a pretty awesome thing. I puffed up my chest, shook my shoulders, and agreed to the phone call.
30 minutes later there was Scott, on my doorstep. He was tall and handsome. He touched my face and said hello. I was in heaven. After he and my best friend made a little transaction off to the side, he came up to me and put his hand on my waist. “Is there some place we can go to talk in private?” Being naive, and young, I walked him down to the basement. He followed behind me, with the bottle of Jack in his hand. Once we were down there he started urging me to take sips from the bottle. After each sip he would kiss me. A peck on the cheek, then the other. A lingering kiss on the neck. His hands fondled the outside of my shirt, and then under it. He told me how beautiful I was, and what an amazing body I had. In my mind, I was a queen. This is what it meant to be a teenager, to be wanted by a man. A real man. He then asked me where my bedroom was.
I stumbled up the stairs ahead of him. Up two floors to my bedroom. The door shut. The lights went off. I suddenly felt like I had left my body. I kept getting glimpses of a naked me on the bed, with him on top. It hurt, but I let it happen because he had told me I was beautiful. That had to mean something. Right? At one point I saw the door fly open, followed by a flash of light. “Oh my god!!!! They’re actually doing it!!!” It was my best friend yelling into the phone in excitement.
The next morning I woke up, not with a handsome 22 year old next to me, but in a rumpled heap in a pool of my own vomit next to an empty Jack Daniels bottle. Everything hurt. My head. My body. I felt confused. I felt scared. I felt violated. My best friend was sitting in the living room when I got downstairs. “So?” she asked, “How was it?” I didn’t know what to say, instead I shrugged my shoulders and walked outside. She followed me outside cheerfully. She explained to me that Scott had left when I started to throw up, and that she had traded me for drugs. My best friend traded my dignity for drugs.
Since then I have had difficulties forming personal relationships, and trusting those close to me. I have no emotional attachment to sex, and I a difficult time saying “no” when a man pushes himself against me. Instead of enjoying foreplay, I fill with anxiety and go numb. I become an emotional void from the first grope to the last insertion. I have a history of choosing the wrong men because I don’t know how to say “no”. I end up taking them into my life because they told me I was beautiful. Even after they stop saying it, after they start treating me like an object, after they become complete strangers in our home, after I try to cut them out of my life; I can’t say no.
I have been raped one more time since then. That one sent me into a very dark period in my life where I hurt a lot of men. I used them the same way I though they wanted to use me. For the past 22 years I have made myself believe all I am good for is sex. I have struggled with eating disorders, alcohol addiction, and self doubt. Now, for the first time since that fateful night, I am finally ready to put my feet back under me. I am ready to take my life back, and I am sacred shitless. For those of you who know me in real life, please be gentle with me. Please help me through the rollercoaster ahead of me because I have a long way to go.
11 thoughts on “He Took One Thing, My Confidence”
There is so much in this story that makes me cringe . . . makes me sad . . . but also hopeful. I hope you are able to find your confidence again. It has always been inside you. It was never truly taken away, just hidden. I know you can find it again because I know you are a strong woman. I have been in some of the same places as you, so I know what you are capable of.
Sue and I are here for you any tine in any way you need us. One of us can be there in a few hours if you need help. The good news is that you are a beautiful person; yes you look beautiful but the person inside is so special. Learning to trust is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Vietnam and PTSD did a number on my trust, and there have been a lot of mistakes. Talking about it, as you have opened your heart is essential, as that seems to open the way to progress. PTSD meetings proved to many of us if we could talk through things, get them off our souls, reach out to others, we would slowly heal. There are good people out there, Sue being my example, I fell on my face any number of times, but I found a treasure at the end of the journey. If there is any way we can help please call, text what ever and we will be here for you.
Thank you, Don. You understand more than many how much PTSD can affect someone. It’s a difficult journey, but I honestly believe that going it with someone is easier than going it alone. That’s why I want to share my story. I want people to understand that it isn’t about how or where you grew up, it’s about how you handle what’s happened to you. I am so very blessed to have had the parents I do. If it weren’t for their confidence in me and love of me, I would have ended up in a much darker place that I am now
I have had a similar situation happen to me and I still struggle with similar things. You putting this out there is brave and also inspirational.
I can not even begin to imagine what you have been through or what it took to put this into writing. I hope you continue to grow into someone even better than anyone could ever imagine.
I admire your ability to put this in writing and want you to know I am pulling for you. Your ability to put your emotions, thoughts, hopes and dreams in print amazes me. Your post about your family life lets me know you are an amazing mother and I feel confident that your life is just beginning and that your future will be awesome!
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Thank you. It was difficult to write, but necessary if I wanted to start the healing process.
I love you. I’ve always thought of you as nothing less than amazing. And I always will.
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I remember being a teenager . . . doing *anything* for attention. I did some stupid stuff, but never got hurt. I’m so sorry things were different for you.
But yeah, your story is my nightmare as a parent to a girl — a girl who seems very pretty, very outgoing, and very attention seeking. A girl who, once she figures out what gets her attention, does the behavior more & more & more.
I’m glad you seem to have your feet under you, but so sorry it’s taken 22 years for you to feel that you’re there.
I wish I had something meaningful and inspirational to say. I hope that one day, the date doesn’t have any weight in your mind and that the day passes without a thought.
I know we have never met, but we have leaned on each other at times, Please feel free to lean and laugh or cry or whatever. You have courage galore to open your soul. I hope you find peace.
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