Hey my loves,
So I’m currently at the beach house, (by the time I post this I’ll be back home in civilization with internet, so bear with me). I know it is a long blog post for a change, but please bear with me, it is worth the read.
For the first time in years I’m relaxed. I don’t have anything to do, anyone to talk to, or any pressure on me. No university work or deadlines to worry about. Just me, myself and I. Admittedly, it hasn’t even been 24 hours, yet I’m already in a state of Zen. I think sometimes a person needs that. Away from technology and social pressure and to really be at peace. I’m not a spiritual person by any means, but I believe more strongly every year that it is important to take a step back from the technology high life. Who cares what your friends are posting on Instagram, or how many days are left until your acquaintance gives birth and shares it all on Facebook. Really, for once, just don’t care.
Enjoy some peace and quiet once in a while Read a book, walk on the beach, have a swim, eat with your family without your phone on the table. Cherish these moments.
Admittedly, I’ve had the year from hell behind me. Not only was I in my final year of University which was tremendous pressure, I was dealing with personal problems. I’ve always considered myself a strong person that doesn’t require or ask the help of others. Not ever. To me, it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. However, it got to the point where I honestly couldn’t handle and fix it myself. I decided to seek a counsellor (which goes completely against my instinct, even though I am a psychologist…) and ask for help. It took her less than an hour to figure me out. She knew I was stubborn, I don’t ask for help, and I don’t want to be seen as weak. Great. I tried to fight it at first, thinking I still didn’t need her help… but then I realized that it was hopeless. I did need the help, and for the first time in my life, allowed her to help me.
I don’t like sharing my problems, again, I see it as a sign of weakness, and as a result of past experiences, I was still a little reluctant. A year later, I realize that at times it is ok to ask for help and to say that you aren’t okay. Sometimes you just need to say it to feel better.
As I said when I started this blog just under a year ago, I began the blog because I was dealing with something personal and emotional, and needed a way to express myself and channel my emotions into something positive. I’ve always withheld what happened, and what the problem was. I’m not too sure if it was to protect myself, others around me, or that I just thought that it was too personal. I’m always scared to hurt the ones that I love dearly, it is my greatest fear. That being said though, all the people that matter to me the most: my immediate family, and a handful of my closest friends, know what happened. They have put up with me the past year through thick and thin. And I can honestly say, I haven’t exactly been a bundle of joy to be around. I know that, and I apologize. I have changed as a person dramatically. Some parts for the better, some I must admit, for worse. It is though experiences that really make you realize who you are as a person, and what you stand for. Also, to see some of the people I care about most, reach out to me and try to help me in any way that they can has absolutely been incredible.
As promised in my previous blog post, it is time for me to be myself. To stop the charade and lying to myself about my current situation and body. My current body is a reflection of the situation that happened. It is not an excuse, but it was most definitely a trigger.
On that note, perhaps it is time for me to be honest about everything then. To really let go of the situation, to vent, and to accept the situation. I’m currently at a point that I’m doing good; I’m feeling good with the skin that I am in in certain areas. Mentally, this past year has all been about development for me, I am stronger now than I have ever been, and I have a positive outlook on life. This reflects on my performance in certain areas in the past few months.
Without further or due, let’s get to the point. I was raped. There it is. Finally on paper. Even as I am typing this, my hearth is pounding out of my chest. I’m scared about sharing it. I know there are still loved ones and family that don’t know it, and will be shocked to death when they hear it, but this is what it is. I don’t want to be seen as a victim or treated as one. I have never asked or wanted special attention from friends, loved ones, or even the university. Hence me keeping this very quiet.
For some, this will be an explanation as to why I have changed so much in the past year. I know I haven’t been that bubbly, confident, energetic and outgoing girl I perhaps was when I lived in Holland or my first few years in London. Some of it changes with maturity, sure, but, this was mainly the reason. I was angry. Angry at myself, at the crappy situation, and most of all, how I let it affect me. How can one stupid situation or person change my whole life upside down? How did I let it?
No more complaining about that. I’ve been through the darkest period of my life, and I’ve come out on top, stronger than ever. For me, the hardest part was telling the ones I love. Emotions have definitely been mixed. Some cried, some yelled, some didn’t believe it and a few very special ones, accepted the situation, took me for who I am, and decided that they weren’t going to treat me as a victim. I naturally won’t name these few people, they know who they are. They love and care for me the way that I am, and to this very date, still don’t think differently of me.
The hardest thing for me was telling the males in my life. My dad, my friends… Their reactions haven’t always been… as nice. I guess it is natural for a male to have that sort of initial reaction, purely because they are concerned and protective. I know the few men in my life care for me very dearly, and will try to do everything in their power to make sure that I am safe. For that, I am thankful. You all know who you are, my family, my girls, my guys; you have all been there for me. Accepting the fact that I have been a royal pain in the backside, but still stuck by me. For that, I will be forever grateful and in debt.
The reason why I decided to share this was not only to clear it from my mind, but perhaps to be there for somebody else. To say, it is ok, life carries on, you will be a stronger person as a result of it, and most of all, you aren’t alone. Women are often blamed for situations like these, saying that they have provoked the situation, they really wanted it. No one wants this; no one provokes a situation like this. No matter how a woman is dressed, or how she behaves, it is still not an excuse. Even if a woman wants to walk around naked, it still does not give you the right to violate her. It is simply not done. Keep your paws at home and off her.
Sharing this, I want girls out there to know, that I am there for them. Message me, email me, write me, anything, if you have been through a similar situation, and you feel like there is no one out there to talk to. Admittedly, I’ve read forums and online communities for women that had something like this happen to them, but it is intimidating to comment on there, and you fear that someone will find out. I completely understand it. For that, I want to say, I am here. I am not going to tell anyone (my Psychology degree will back that up 😉 ), and I will try my best to be a helping hand.
After telling a few people what happened, I was shocked at the number of girls, and most of all, close friends on mine, to whom something similar like this has happened. We all keep our mouths so shut about it, in fear that someone will find out and judge and treat us differently. In all honesty, it makes me angry to think how many of friends have been through something like this, in silence. What has happened to society that allows young men to think it is ok to hurt a woman like that? (I know it happens other way around too, but bear with me). Has the media normalized sexuality? Have rap videos contributed to sexism, always depicting the woman to be inferior. Since when is this ok? I don’t understand it.
Girls, it is time to speak up about it. Don’t let an unfortunate situation change you as a person, and if it does, you make damn well sure that it changes you for the better. It sure has for me. I’m willing to sacrifice a year of feeling crappy to contribute to my ultimate success. Success wise, I’ve never been better. It is working out for me. I channel all my anger, sadness, and frustration into my work. Naturally, my blog was the initial source for me to release some of those emotions. But, in the back of my mind, I knew I wasn’t being 100% honest with my readers, and felt responsible for that. My other source for channelling my emotions was my University work. I can’t say that it didn’t work out well.
I have to be honest and say that I still hadn’t come to terms with my final degree grade, not that I am not happy with it, the complete contrary in fact! I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that I have actually stuck to something I believed so strongly in, dropped everything around me, and really went for it. I hope people can appreciate the strength it took to show up to university the next day after it happened, to pass my exams with flying colours the day I told my parents and had a massive argument about it, to get First Class Honours in my degree, when my whole world was caving in around me (or so it felt).
I want girls to know how strong they can really be. No matter if you went through a traumatic experience or not, you are stronger than you think. Accept the help from your loved ones, and stand up for what you believe in. I certainly did.
Writing this blog post was the last bit of therapy that I needed. I needed to let this last bit go in order to really move on with my life. I want to continue my life with a fresh sheet of paper in front of me, and for me to decide how I fill the pages. I am confident mentally. I am confident in myself and my abilities. All I need to do now, is match my body to that.
I believe that once you are ready for that mentally, the rest will follow. I will stay positive, and continue to work hard, be grateful and thankful for what and who I have in my life. Girls (and guys), I am here for you, you are not alone. Be strong.