Natalye’s Click

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…

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Just One Try…Really?

When our children learn to walk they take slow and unsteady steps.  They fall down, again and again.  We watch their journey to mobility and know that eventually they will reach success.  None of us ever expect them to get it right on the first try.  We, as parents, would never say to them after their first fall, that’s it, you’re done, no walking for you.

When I was a kid I played softball.  The phrase that is forever burned into my brain is “Shake it off.”  I was the strike-out queen and that’s what the coaches and parents say when you strike out.  “Shake it off, babe.  You’ll get em next time.”  There was always a next time, another chance for me to hit the ball and run the bases.  I struck out more times than I can remember, but I’ll never forget the way I felt the time I hit a triple (even though it turned out to be a foul ball).  For a brief moment I felt the glory of hitting the mark.

So as I have begun to explore spiritual topics, the subject of reincarnation has come up.  And for me this is one of the reasons that it feels like truth to me.  Our entire lives are based on practice makes perfect.  If we fail a grade or subject in school we are sent back to repeat it.  In the job market, experience is vital.  When I wrote my first novel and queried literary agents, I quickly realized that I needed to have experience to even get noticed.  I also learned that I needed to practice my craft so that I would have a product worth reading.  So what I believe is that life is exactly like this.  I think that the soul’s ultimate goal is to reach God realization or the mystic’s conciousness.  We are put here by God, to experience for God, and ultimately reunite with God.  But that is a huge task and takes much more than just one try.  We come back again and again learning different lessons along the way.  We experience all of the duality this worldly life has to offer and eventually we reach the point where we can rise above it.

I do not find comfort in accepting that this cushy life I have, in which I have been clothed, fed, cared for, and spoiled is my only try here.  I like to believe I have earned the blessings and beauty that have filled the experience in my 34 years.  I think of the woman in Darfur who has just been brutally raped and watched her husband murdered at her feet and I pray that in the next life she will be a queen.  I can’t accept that the millions of Jews that died in the Holocaust had only one chance and that one chance ended in the most inhumane suffering.  I can’t accept that Hitler murdered all of those people and doesn’t get the chance to come back and save at least one.

I believe that God is both feminine and masculine, mother and father.  I don’t know any set of parents who would expect their children to learn every lesson and get everything right with just one try.  And if I subscribe to the belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, why would I believe that God gives me just one try to learn all of life’s lessons and return like the prodigal son?  So if you ask me why I believe in reincarnation…this is the first reason I’ll give you.

Disrespect

I commented in reply to someone on my blog post “Opt Out.”  I immediately deleted it because I just didn’t want to offend my friend and I was afraid she might read my comment the wrong way.  But one thing I wrote in it led to this post.  I wrote about respect and how what people really hope for is that others will respect them.  I said that when we are disrespected it hurts us at a deep level and we carry those wounds with us always.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote the blog post “Wounds” and mentioned that I had a couple of experiences in junior high school that are emotional wounds I carry with me.  I said I would share one of them with you eventually and the other I would probably not share.  Well, in light of my thoughts on respect, I’ve decided to share the story I had not planned to.

When I was in 7th grade we had assigned seats on the bus.  I was seated next to an 8th grade boy that I had crossed paths with for years.  He was a pee-wee football player and I was a pee-wee cheerleader.  He had been my escort in 5th grade when I won homecoming queen.  He was safe…or so I thought.  Almost immediately when we shared a seat he started touching me.  He would pinch my chest (I had just started to develop) and try to put his hands between my legs.  I don’t remember how long it went on,  probably a week or maybe two.  Getting on the bus during that time was terrifying and I spent the duration of those rides telling him to stop and forcing his hands off of me. Eventually I told my parents what was going on.  They agreed to help (of course) but before they had the opportunity, I helped myself.  One day I climbed onto the bus and approached our seat.  I was wearing a dress.  He reached over and lifted my dress.  That was it.  It was one thing if he was going to molest me privately, but to lift my dress and mortify me for an audience was not acceptable.  I lost it and fought back.  He never touched me again.

The reason I am sharing this story is because it is about respect.  When we teach our children that they do not have to listen and respect other people, we are planting seeds for this kind of behavior.  Our children are always watching us and listening.  Despite your deep seated beliefs about the roles of men, women, children, people of color, and sexual preferences, it is so important that we realize at our core we are all human beings and we all deserve and HOPE FOR respect.  If we can root ourselves in the commonalities we will teach our children about respect.  Rape and sexual assault have been common occurances for years and years and stem from a belief that women are less than men.  This belief was passed on from generation to generation, not only through words but through the actions of the adults.  I hope that we can break this cycle for the generation of children we are raising.