I want to start this blog post by apologizing to all my readers. I feel like I have not shown my true self. I have not opened up about a lot of things that have made me the person that I am today. Because I just can’t stop focusing on some things from my past, it has been hard to even write a blog lately. As you know from the last post Coke and I are engaged!! Super exciting time in my life, or it should be. But I have been completely stressed out since it has happened. Let me start from the beginning:
Ten years ago I was raped. I will not go into the long story of how it went down because I just don’t feel like that is very important at all. I will say though that it was a friend that did it to me. Someone I knew and trusted. I never told anyone outside of the people that were with me when it happened and my family. It was very hard for me to deal with too because I had to see this guy for three more years after it happened. Either way that’s the start of the story but not as far as the story goes. Since this, it has been very hard to deal with the effects of the rape. And it has affected me in so many ways. At times it has been hard to sleep because of the flash backs. I have had a few panic attacks, poor choices in men, false outlook on sex, and a very hard time in relationships because of it.
The problem with all this is that most of the effects happen out of nowhere. Let me give you an example. There was this one time that I lived with a guy in college (my mom is probably reading this thinking “Why are you telling people you were living with a guy at some point”). He came home one night and I was actually having a nightmare about the night the rape happened, which I have had multiple times. When he got in the bed he startled me. To the point that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt like I didn’t know the guy that was currently laying in the bed beside me. I was scared. I felt like I was literally back in the room where the rape happened. The startle that night took me back to that place and I couldn’t sleep. So I got up, went to my car and drove to McDonalds and cried and talked to my friend in the car until I fell asleep in that parking lot. I came back home in the morning unsure of what happened and how I was ever going to get over it. I didn’t think that my current boyfriend would understand what happened, yet alone be able to deal with me and how freaked out I was.
Like I said, the rape has caused me to have a hard time in past relationships. If you have been following my blog over the years, you will remember my ex. We really had a hard time with this. One of the last things he said to me when we broke up was basically that nobody would ever want to deal with my issues. And that’s how the devil got me. Like really! I have held on to that since the day we broke up. Not to mention that “MY ISSUES”, as he would like to put it, was one of the main reasons that we were having so many problems in our relationship. Since that break up though I have been really trying to get to the root of where these triggers are coming from. What causes me to have these nightmares and panic attacks? I am strongly convinced that it’s intimacy.
I want to kind of walk you through the mind of a rape victim. Or at least through my mind. Because my rapist was someone I trusted and didn’t think I needed to be cautious around, I had let my guard down. I let him get to know me. I talked to him on the phone, went to the bar with him, spent the night in the same house with him, and considered him a real friend. I had no reason not to trust him. The immediate reaction to guys after my rape was, never let him take something from me that I can freely give away. Silly I know. But it’s actually a common mindset of a victim. I would almost rather give it up than have someone steal it from me. And that’s where the false outlook on sex came from. Mind you I was a freshman in college, and being reckless wasn’t completely out of the norm.
After some time, I grew up and shifted my thinking in that regard. But I have never been able to really let my guard down. I have always lead with the idea that your friends and the ones closest to you, are the ones that usually end up hurting you the most. This caused me to be fearful in relationships. I was always a lot more comfortable with being the “Friend” instead of the “Girl Friend”. It’s not until things would get serious that I would have another panic attack or hard time going to sleep at night. There was a point where it was scary to close my eyes. I remember telling my family that I didn’t even want to go to sleep. Remember at this time I had no idea what was causing the triggers. As far as I was concerned they were coming out of nowhere. When I look back I remember three of the most devastating episodes being at the same time of three of my most meaningful relationships.
Coke has been there for a lot of what happened with my ex, as my best friend. He was the person I talked to and cried to when I felt like I was forced to do things that I didn’t feel comfortable doing. He was the person that I went to when I felt vulnerable. He has always understood. I have never told anyone this next part, not even Coke. But a long time ago, after one of my attacks, I really sought God and just needed to get some answers. I was so hurt and confused and he told me that my husband will not be concerned about sex, he would be understanding of all my pain and the physical would never be the focus of our relationship. When I heard that, I found comfort in it. But it was years before I actually met the person God was telling me about, Coke. I am not even sure that I have ever told anybody this next thing either: Me and Coke have been friend for so long, but we never laid eyes on each other until the summer of last year. Friends for years and best friends at that, who have never seen each other. We fell in love before any physical attraction was ever even there. The physical has never been important to either of us in our relationship.
After Coke asked me to marry him, the anxiety of the intimacy that waits ahead for us, scared me. Man when I tell you the devil really knows how to push your buttons, he really knows! A week after our engagement, I headed to Philly to go to Disney for our first family trip. The entire three-hour car ride I couldn’t think of anything but how scared I was to walk into the unknown with him. Not scared so much because of the attacks and the dreams that I would potentially face once we are married. The thing that I kept going back to was what my ex said “No one will ever be able to deal with your issues!” I cried that night. Knowing that I don’t know what to expect. Not sure how he will deal with it, if I had another attack. I know what is expected when you get married, sex! Any rape victim will tell you that sometimes you are into it and other days your body is a temple that can’t be touched. Those days could last weeks, months, years even. How do you make a marriage last with that? How can you keep your spouse happy? These were all the thoughts that went over and over in my head.
But when I talked to Coke that weekend I got my answer. He told me that marriage isn’t selfish. There are things that we will both need from each other, but the one thing we need more than anything is an open line of communication. He reassured me that he would never hurt me like my ex did or the guy that raped me. He looked me in the eye and told me that the physical isn’t everything and it’s certainly not the reason he fell in love with me. My fear at the time was the unknown. Walking into a marriage that is bound to be full of intimacy, the one thing that has caused me so much pain over the years. But after talking to my fiancé and hearing his reassuring words and the look on his face, I know things will be alright.
Yesterday my mom taught an amazing word at church. She said something that pushed my hand in writing this post and made me feel comfortable enough to finally share all this with you guys. You can’t walk in fear, when God speaks you should be looking for that, seeking it, and going after that thing. God spoke to me years ago about what my husband would be like. He told me exactly what to look for. Instead of looking for only that, I got off track. I spent time with the wrong ones, probably ultimately causing me to have these attacks. So why would God give me this man and then cause me to live in a relationship full of hell and turmoil? He wouldn’t right. I didn’t get any peace about this until last night. My mom’s words were that we should be thanking God constantly when he gives us a word, knowing that the manifestation is NOW! There is no reason for me to worry. Craziest thing is that the situation hasn’t even presented itself yet and I was already in fear. But what for? Look at me giving my Testimony before the TEST! But if we are living the way God had intended for us to live, wouldn’t we be doing that anyway