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Because I Keep Dying

Nikki sent this to me yesterday, wanting her story to be heard. There’s nothing I can say to introduce this. Just listen.

( content warning: descriptions of sexual assault / rape )

I started dying when I was very young.

During a time when personality and temperament were being formed, pieces of me were robbed by the calloused hands to tender places that decided I was his to take from. He took a sense of value and replaced it with the sense of commodity; I was a toy. My essence died when I was 18 months old.

When I was seven years old, I’d grown into a little girl with shadows behind my eyes because that part that was taken left a space where life struggled to find its way; and it contaminates the whole, like one bad apple can rot a whole box. With shadows behind my eyes and a sense of freedom robbed that I did not understand, another set of hands would sit me on his lap and my little body was his playground. And I was frightened, but I didn’t know why and I didn’t understand why this didn’t feel good at all. He was the adult and we are to respect adults, aren’t we? And he killed me with his hands, but somehow I was still breathing.

Another murdered me with his words, as he explained in far too much detail the way he wanted to cut my clothes off and have his way with the nine-year old body underneath. A violation that made me feel stupid for not understanding why this behavior from men didn’t feel good and shouldn’t I know or respond in some other way? I was shocked speechless and leaned on the counter and giggled a nervous one and jutted my hip out a little. I really thought there was something wrong with me for not responding differently, but I will pretend I’m just a little coy.

And when I was 11, another staying at our house, invited himself into the bathroom while I’m taking a bath. He closed the door behind him and assaulted me with his eyes, watching me; examining me. And he explained with far too many words the most appropriate way to wash my budding body and why it was important to do so.

I just keep dying.

When I was 16, other kids seemed to know a whole lot more about their bodies and the thing that was supposed to happen between boys and girls. But I was naive and felt stupid and didn’t understand why I didn’t or couldn’t fantasize about boys or men when the man next door asked me about it while he was masturbating in full frontal view of me. What is wrong with me for not being able to feel anything but horror at the sight and thought of the male anatomy? At this point, hormones were turned on and internally I felt the attraction to boys, but was scared to death of them at the same time.

I must have a target on me.

Because there was another one would keep grabbing my backside in the hallway at school and touching me inappropriately whenever I would walk by. I would eventually complain to the guidance counselor… who did nothing.

And then there was that other guy… I felt trapped… he forced me to use my mouth…not for words.

And a friend’s dad came over with an agenda, it seemed, as he pinned me up against the wall and breathed his wretched breath into my face and against my neck as he raped me with his words. A movement outside the door saved me from his words becoming my reality.

And another who would go on and on and on about my friend who he would love to marry and treat like a queen, but me…he could totally throw me down and F* me silly, but she… she was a queen and worthy of respect and adoration.

And that time that I liked a boy and he liked me back, but he wouldn’t date me because I was a virgin. So I gave myself away, and he still didn’t want me.

The dead corpse of my soul was surrounded by a body that was good enough to take, but never good enough to keep.

And I just keep dying.

Somehow when a dying little girl becomes a woman, the tables turn and she’s no longer a victim, but the cause of her own circumstances.

The one who would speak filth into my ear as I was trapped onboard a large gray vessel out to sea, and when he pinned me into a corner of the pantry and grabbed handfuls of whatever he wanted…?

That turned into my violating his black rights, not one of a man violating a woman’s.

And that date rape…because I invited him into my house?

And the ones who have lured me in with their kind words, not to have me, but to take me. But I listened and trusted somehow and responded and should have known better.

And the rape of my soul…because I responded to a man who pushed all the right buttons, but had no interest in me, just the response that would feed his ego and appetite; betrayal of my own instincts and natural responses. But when I met all the other women…my insides turned out and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I have officially been destroyed.

These are not the only stories. The violations go on and on and on. Four decades of offense and I just keep dying.

And I want to relate and wonder if anybody can see me. And I wonder who I am that they see because I’ve only ever known myself to be a commodity to be consumed and thrown away when done. And I don’t understand what has been so wrong with me and why do I seem to have this target on me?

And I am dying to know who I am.

And I am dying to know how to be free.

And I am dying to know if a man could ever love me for me.

[ image: rachel a. k. ]

published June 4, 2014

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