It took me awhile to grow up, which is funny considering I had aged tremendously in my early to mid-teens. I had gained wisdom, and at the same time, self-doubt. I was searching for who I was while asking people for approval along the way. My insecurities stemmed from the many losses I was grieving in my life; the first domino was my parents’ divorce.
I did not have the correct tools to deal with my feelings and emotions at the time. One of five sisters, I was really lucky to not be going through it alone. Looking back at my behaviors during this time, I was trying on different ways to cope, to see which style fit better. After I had concerned my friends and some of their parents, I realized that it was time to change. In addition to realizing that I needed to process my feelings in a healthy way, I also understood at age 15 that it was time to surround myself with new people. I had befriended a very special girl when I changed schools that year; we had our sweet 16 together. And just a few weeks later, God cruelly took her away.
A month later, a friend’s brother (whom I was naively friends with at the time) took advantage of me in his car; a deep pain I carried around for a few years before letting out the demon to my sister and then hypnotherapist. Unfortunately the event had caused me to lose that particular girlfriend. I had lied to her about hanging out with her brother and she couldn’t trust me anymore. Imagine, I cared so much for my friendship with her at the time that I drove to her house to apologize for lying to her. She was upset that it took me awhile to say sorry, from what I understood. Either way, our friendship was over. And I had heard a few weeks later from another friend that people heard what happened, but it wasn’t my story. It was his story; a story that included the part that I had also wanted his advances. Flashbacks to begging him to take me home before the event and him asking to come in once I had made it safely there sent chills up my spine. I had made up an excuse that my dad was home and didn’t allow boys over. I came home to undress and pressed a shirt between my legs because I was bleeding. No, he did not abuse me. I had no bruises or forced entry. But I was not assertive enough. Saying no wasn’t enough. Trying to leave his car wasn’t enough. I should have realized in that moment that this was bad news and to start screaming for help. I remember leaving my body when it was happening. No kissing happened; he was very unattractive and I was squinting away. And I should have instead been screaming for help or using more force to get out of there. I should have told everyone the truth immediately; I should have told my parents. I should have told the truth right then and there no matter what anyone thought. At the time, unfortunately, I cared too much about what people thought. At the time, unfortunately, I had cruelly blamed myself.
At age 16, I lost all the friends I grew up with; some by my choice, some by their choice. It was a painful experience, needless to say. I never told anyone what happened because I didn’t think they would believe me. I didn’t feel I could trust those girls any longer, and to this day who knows what stories they believed… Yet luckily I wasn’t alone for long because that summer I had given a nice guy from my school a chance, and he became my first love for 2 years. God/the universe protected me and showed me that there is still goodness out there, no matter what cruelty people can show you. And in college I made life-long friends who were so smart, kind, funny and warm. In medical school, I have fallen in love with a really thoughtful, brilliant and good-natured man. Life really can change for the better, if we want it to. My story isn’t over yet, but I feel so motivated to help young girls learn assertiveness and learn early on the qualities to look for in a friend–in a person. Though I so badly wish sometimes that my past didn’t have such experiences, I know that it made me the strong person I am today. And it helped me learn, to a large extent, the importance of being in a good environment and surrounding oneself with good people.
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