I discovered Natalye’s story while reading Jarrett’s blog (Jarrett’s click will post tomorrow). Her strength and bravery touched me so much that I immediately contacted her on Twitter (@IamPhoReal) and expressed to her how grateful I was that she had shared her powerful story. After a few days of tweeting back and forth, I asked her if I could post the story, “Damaged,” here on “Waiting for the Click.” She agreed. Here is her story just as it appeared on Jarrett’s blog.
When asked by my best friend to write something for his blog, I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything of importance that I can write about. I haven’t written anything in so long, I forgot how to even put a paragraph together, much less a piece. I have never written anything that hasn’t been inspired (besides status updates and comments on various subjects, but to me that’s just me vocalizing whatever I feel or like; and I talk TOO much. I feel I’m doing that now! lol). But while I was searching for music to put on my blip.fm account, I came across a song that got me through a very crucial time in my life. One song. One horrible moment in my life. And that one song healed me when not one person in life at the time could. (I know Jarrett that you said it didn’t have to be earthshattering, but I didn’t plan for it to be lol). I don’t want sympathy or pity. I’ve kept something in for a LONG time, and not only because it’s not what you call proper “dinner conversation”, but because I didn’t want anyone thinking I wanted someone to feel sorry for me. I’m a strong person in my eyes, but I also have some emotional damage that I didn’t know, up until a month ago, I still had. And I feel, if I can help just one person with my story, I can help myself with that problem.
In 1995, I was just starting my 2nd year in junior high (8th grade to be exact). I met a guy through one of my friends. Little did I know, that he was 23 years old. I “dated” him for a month before I thought I was ready to lose my virginity. When the chance came, I recoiled. Even though I thought I “loved” him, I just wasn’t ready yet. He was livid. He started yelling that he spent all this time & all this money on me to not get what he wanted. I was beaten.. and then, I was raped. I was left on the couch bleeding; and strong little me didn’t cry. I held myself together, called a friend, and left.
I deserved it, that’s what I believed. I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation, I told myself repeatedly. Months passed by. I was always angry. I got suspended for fighting. I bullied random people. I was arrested for shoplifting. I was lost. It was a classmate’s comment that broke me: “Nan (that was my nickname in jr high), you always made straight A’s. You’re making straight D’s & F’s now. What the hell would make you want to have people look at you like a stupid ass?” After that, I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. I hadn’t cried since before the incident. I went home that day and told my parents. I saw and felt a deluge of pain I thought didn’t exist outside of movies. What the hell do we do?
We decided to report him. To summarize the conversation, they said: It has been months Nan. If you had come forward when it happened, we would’ve had proof. It looks like it’s gonna be your word against his since you say there were no witnesses & you didn’t tell anyone of the incident. But hey, they did offer to have a counselor help me with my “problem” (insert brutal sarcasm here). I died inside after we left. I could even say that I didn’t just lose faith, I had faith in nothing & no one. It was while I was watching a movie that something cracked. It was a song. Not just the song, the lyrics caught my attention:
Healing comes so painfully & it chills to the bone
Will anyone get close to me?
I’m damaged, as I’m sure you know..
I can’t go back, I must go on…
I listened to that song over, and over for the next month. And each time I listened, I felt more & more like I could feel. I can honestly say, music saved me from suicide. I laughed more easily. I attended a Christian school after. I had a REAL best friend (who is still my bestest friend til this day). Music saved me from a situation that has psychologically damaged TOO many women that it has happened to. I wouldn’t let that happen to me. Over the years, I’ve kept the fact that I was violated to myself. Situations would arise & I would bring it up so that people would understand why I react certain ways in certain situations. Some never understood why I didn’t see a psychiatrist. But to me, singers were my psychiatrists, songs were my prescriptions & lyrics were my painkillers. When I tell people this, they’re just whatever about it. But it’s true. And I’m blessed to have something so common, yet unbelievable, help me through a horrible time.
I know there are more common situations where women that have been raped never heal. I always believed I fully healed, but I’m still pushing people away who get too close to me. And yes, I do see I always do this, even to Brooke & Joni. Hearing that song again made me realize that in some ways I am bruised; but not damaged. I can’t go back, I must go on, I must remember that; Especially when it comes to all my great friends who want to be there for me & want to help me.
And indirectly, Jarrett, you asking me to write something was a blessing in disguise. I always thought telling people that I was raped would leave me raw & vulnerable. But it was a good thing. A great thing if I can help & inspire someone else. I hope whoever reads this sees that just because something bad has happened to them, does not mean in any way, shape, or form that they deserved it! And that with the help of those who love them and those who understand, & some beautiful music, they can heal & fully embrace themselves and bask in it. More easily said than done you may say, but as you can see, it can & has been done.
My life motto: Show Love With No Remorse (RHCP).. I don’t plan to stop now…