8.20.2005

rank

I remember the basement was dark and cold. The kind of coldness in which everything feels damp and a little rank. I was there with my boyfriend. Not my first, but certainly the most memorable. He had been so charming upstairs, in front of friends. Lots of smiles and sudden hugs from behind. He also kept my glass full of cheap liquor. I didn’t have to be forced to follow him down the stairs. I didn’t even get nervous at being alone with him, instead I was excited. He was so beautiful and I still couldn’t believe he had chosen me over all the other girls. Girls who were prettier, had more personality, were more experienced. But, I had no doubts as I followed him down the stairs.

“Careful,” he said as I tripped on the last stair. I giggled with embarrassment. He must think I am a total dork. But he just smiled at me and took my hand. He led me over to an area that was set up with a blanket and pillows. He lay down on the blanket, smiled and said, “Lay down.” I sat down next to him. “Lay down,” he said. And when I hesitated, he sat up and firmly pushed me down on my back. I wasn’t scared, just nervous. I wanted to be whatever it was he wanted me to be. I wanted to be special, to be part of something, what that something was remained indefinable to me. “Relax,” he says in my ear. It wasn’t a comforting whisper; instead it was kind of an irritated and harsh voice. I was becoming troublesome to him. This always filled me with fear. Whenever I would grow tiresome or he would become weary of me I would desperately try to change. I was like a clown, trying to please him, but his moods changed so quickly, I was always at a disadvantage, playing catch-up.

And then, I cease to exist. Who I am no longer matters. I am there for one purpose, not my own, but rather for the service of someone else. Someone who said they loved me. Someone who said I was the one they wanted. Someone who like to use force and manipulation to get what they wanted. I close my eyes and try and put myself somewhere else. I keep shivering, but I don’t think it is just because of the cold basement. “Come on,” he is really getting irritated now. The next time he tugs at my underwear, I know better than to push his hand away. Doesn’t he notice I am not participating in this? Doesn’t he notice I am not moving? Doesn’t he notice I am invisible? He pushes his tongue down my throat and tears into me.

I am 15 years old. I am in a very cold and dark basement. My underwear is torn, but I try to put it on anyway. “Hurry up,” he says. He is anxious to return to the party. I follow him up the stairs. When we reach the top he holds my arm and turns me to face him, smiling he says, “there. That wasn’t so bad? It was nothing.” It was nothing. I am nothing. And I knew in that instant that it would always be this way. I would always be nothing.

The next morning I stayed in bed and told myself that I would never see him again. He should have known better. He should have been more careful with me. I get up to use the bathroom. I see the blood in my underwear and vomit. What I really know is that I have a choice to make. I can choose to never go back to him. I can choose to do what is best for me. I can choose someone who will love and respect me. I can learn to respect myself. But I made the other decision. The one that has me go back to him. The one that has me hating myself. The kind of self-loathing that turns violent.

It was a choice that I made. It has shaped and defined who I am today. It also will define how I raise my daughter. Because I never want Emma to be left in a cold basement thinking that if she doesn’t lie there and take it, some guy won’t love her. Everything in life is a choice.

Today, I choose to get up out of bed, to care for myself and my family, to love my husband and to thank God that I lived through all those cold dark evenings to see the morning.

22 comments:

Philip said...

That's powerful and heartbreaking. I'm sorry you suffered when you were so young, and I'm thankful that you survived and you can now look back and protect those you love from going through the same thing. You are a brave woman, I think it's very strong and affirming that you posted this story.

Lizzie said...

I just finished your post and my heart is breaking. You are one amazing woman and I am in awe of your strength and bravery to face that basement, once more.

Thank you for sharing and I think that your daughter is very lucky to have you in her life.

Jules said...

It's a stirring and heartbreaking post and sadly, I think it's one that a lot of women can relate to. I'm so glad that you've realized how much you are worth. How lucky your daughter is to have you.

Kate said...

Your story is very heartbreaking. It's situations like what you had endured that makes me so scared for my two daughters. I want them to FEEL strong and powerful about themselves and not have to worry about facing a basement or a car or a bedroom. Thank you for sharing that sad moment in your life. {{{hugs}}}

Nickle Annie said...

I just want to say how sorry I am that this happened to you. I too have been in that 'cold, damp basement'. ((((HUGS))))

mothersong said...

I have been in that same basement. I am trying to raise my daughters to not ever be in that place. I am trying to raise my sons to not ever be in that place, either.

Great post.

Theresa said...

Lizzie sent me, and I agree with her. This is a powerful post, and you are a very brave woman. Your daughter is very fortunate to have you to keep her from experiencing that.

cyn said...

Very well written, thought provoking. I can relate to that 15 year old girl and the lessons that will linger a lifetime. Hello from Lizzie.

Helene said...

With courage that you've just shown in wiritng this post I think your daughter is lucky to have you as a mom.

Sheri & SuZan said...

For 25 years I've wanted to put a similar experience into words but was not able. You so elequently wrote what I've been feeling for so long. I too am making the best effort possible to make sure my 15 year old daughter never experiences something like this. You are a strong woman!

Mary Jo said...

I have been there myself as well. When I think of my nieces (I'm not a mom yet), I feel the same way. I don't want them to give up their innocence in order to try and gain some boy's love and affection. Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully.

*sent here by lizzie

Dea said...

I too came this way through Liz. Thank you for sharing this.

I want to cheer you on and wish I had more than simply words to do it with.

I have 4 daughters and because of my own past, I too am working with them to understand just how valuable and precious they are.

I hope that your message is spread far and wide!

YellowRose said...

From that cold, damp basement emerged a strong brave woman.

From one strong woman to another, thank you for sharing your story.

I'm thankful Liz sent me your way!

Donna said...

WOW. How courageous of you to share that experience. (Yes, I'm another one who found you through Lizzie and I have to say, she was right.)

Eddo said...

Shut up that was a good post!

Liz told me to tell you how awesome you are...and she was right!

I am so glad Liz told me about your site. I wish more women would tell there daughters about guys and sex and the reality of it all. MTV and television in general make losing your virginity sound so glamorous.

MP said...

Liz sent me. I'm so sorry for what happened to you. You are a powerful writer (and woman). Thank you for sharing.

Chris said...

Liz sent me too.

From one cold basement survivor to another, that was powerful and incredibly written.

The Blog Patrol said...

I am going to have to mention you on The Blog Patrol Site today... so good.

jes said...

this sounds to me like more than losing your virginity. it sounds like rape. God, how my heart breaks for you, and for so many women who will face this every day. i have had it on my heart for so long to speak out about this subject, to speak to groups of women about this subject. i'm proud of you.

Shari said...

Lizzie sent me... she apparently knows the definition of "superior blogging"...

Thank you for sharing this, for exposing it to the light of truth. Too many of our precious young girls' first sexual moments are in a cold, dark place. I applaud you for making the decision to raise your daughter in such a way that she will be less likely to be in that place.

Thank you again.

overactive-imagination said...

What an awful experience for you to have to endure especially at such a young age.
It must have been very tough for you to write that.
Big huge hugs to you!!!
Dawn

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