Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 21 {31 Days of Grace}: Things I wish weren't true

Yesterday I was getting down to the nitty-gritty of when and how my husband would propose (I would say "if" he would propose, but obviously, he did!).

I had every intention of picking up where I left off with that story last night...
...until Bible Study this morning.

We are reading and doing the Bible Study "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl" by Lysa Terkuerst.  She is quickly becoming a favorite of mine where books and Bible Studies are concerned.  I saw her speak at the Extraordinary Women's conference last fall too, and I was blown away by her message.

Anyway, the conversation today as well as the reading I did reminded me of something major from my past that I completely left out of my story.  In all honesty, I have been trying to block it out since it happened.

The reality of the situation is this though: it certainly made a huge impact on me and how I saw myself. If it can help any ONE else who experienced a similar thing, then I need to share it.

To get the full impact of what this meant in my life, I have to go back to about the 3rd grade.
There was a new girl at our school that year who had moved into town from a few towns over. In this venue, her name will be Christy, though that is not her real name of course.

Christy and I became fast friends and by the end of that school year, I would call her my best friend.  In fact, for several more years, I would call her that and we spent a LOT of time together. After her family had been in town a year or two, they built a new house and moved close to me; so much closer we could walk to each other's houses!

Christy had an older brother (Peter*) who was a senior when we were freshmen in high school. I always had a crush on Peter, but to this day, I can't really tell you why.  He wasn't especially handsome and most of the time he wasn't especially nice.  He was older; he had a car; he was very muscular as a result of the wrestling team; back then, it didn't take much for me to think a boy was cool.

During our freshman year in high school, I spent the night with Christy as I had many times before.
On this occasion, she decided to go to bed while I stayed up to finish watching a movie or tv show; Peter happened to be in the room.
It all seemed very innocent - I don't remember details - when he asked me for a back massage.  I used to do the same for my Dad all the time, so I didn't think it strange at all.
He laid face down on the floor and I rubbed his back while we finished watching the movie.

He told me how good the massage felt and playfully suggested he return the favor.
At this point I was intrigued because I sensed his flirtation but knew it couldn't be real.
Long story short, the massage turned into playful tickling and eventually kissing.
As things started to get heated, he pushed me away and said, "You'd better get to bed" in a very condescending way. He also made me promise not to tell anyone what had happened, especially Christy.

I went to bed but with butterflies in my stomach and unrealistic romantic notions in my head.

I'm not sure how long it was, but not that long, before he called me on the phone one afternoon.
He was at his house alone and wondered if I could come over.  The feeling that I shouldn't was certainly there, but I went anyway.

It was on this day that he tried to engage me in a conversation about the events of the last time we were together.  He asked me what my thoughts were and if I was interested in going out and getting to know each other better. Of course I was! 

Here I was, a 15 year old girl getting romantic (or so I thought) attention from a long-time crush. I was definitely interested!
As I write this, I am shaking; I think the same would happen if I were to run into Peter today.  Because what happened next would change my life forever...

Assuming we were going to "make out" as we had that other night, I followed Peter to his room, still alone in the house together. 

One thing led to another, and though it was not what I wanted, I left that house no longer a virgin.

It wasn't violent; for a long time I just thought I should have said NO out loud instead of just in my head.
Then I wondered if maybe I did say it out loud and he just ignored me.
I wondered if I had called this on myself; if I led him on; if I somehow gave him the impression that sex was what I wanted.

My head was swimming with what-ifs and if-onlys.  
I still thought maybe there was a relationship to be had with Peter in all this.

It didn't take me long to realize that was never his intent. My attempts to see him or talk to him on the phone were quite rudely refused.  He went so far on one phone call as to get emotional and say, "What we did was wrong," as if it were a mutual thing.

I figured out he was just trying to get rid of me and had never had any intention of dating me.

I didn't have enough worldly experience to really feel "used" although that is what I was.  I was also hurt, embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, and I felt like damaged goods. 

Who was going to want me now? 

By the way, Peter told his "conquest" story to the entire wrestling team and anyone else in the weight room who would listen. A male friend told me what he'd overheard.

I still had to see Peter around for several years after this.  Worse yet, my relationship with Christy took a hit and slid downhill continually until we graduated high school 3 years later.  I'm not sure she knows the whole story, but I know I found it hard to be around her and likely never spent the night with her again.

The most tragic part of all this, is how I looked at myself afterwards.
I labeled myself "damaged," and even when someone did want to date me, I wasn't sure why.
I let my "damaged" status make decisions for me; I chose be promiscuous in my relationships.  I figured it didn't matter anymore because I couldn't get my virginity back no matter how hard I tried.

Again, I'm sharing this in the event it can help someone (that someone could only be me and that's ok too). But also because, I need to own this; I need to get it out of that lock box shoved in a dark corner under my bed.

I need to take responsibility for the bad decisions I made leading up to the incident. I know now, it was not my fault.

Even if I said NO out loud or just in my head, Peter knew what he was doing.
Had I fought, he most certainly could have over-powered me.  I do regret that I didn't try harder to get away from him, but at the time I was so confused over what I wanted and what his intentions were.

I hope that you can be kind when reading this.
I hope that if you had a similar experience, you know it wasn't your fault - no one "calls this on themselves" no matter what they say or do.

Tonight I will pray for God to continue healing the hole in my heart that I can trace back to when I was 15.

* Name changed

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