I recently dug into my past as a result of tremendous anxiety I was exhibiting. I’ve talked to a handful of people telling me that there is an unresolved issue that I am still holding onto and have not been able to let go. Because of this “thing” that I was or am, maybe, holding onto I was constantly angry and short tempered. Now I have finally been able to pin point what that “thing” is that I couldn’t let go and get past. I realized that I just had to label what the thing was. That thing was a rape & the reason why I didn’t label it was because I didn’t want to see myself or label myself as a victim. Sure I was protecting myself from falling into a whoa is me mentality or falling into a depression I thought that by ignoring what I went through would solve the problem. Turns out I was completely wrong. I was 19 when I got raped and I was such a naive young lady. I never thought what was intended for me as cuddling would soon turn into my worst nightmare. I told him “no” more than once but after saying it so many times and not seeing a change in his actions that’s when my numbness began. That was the start of my voice being taken. That life changing event was so impactful and I had no idea. Not only did o lose my voice when it came to being intimate with men but it tainted my sexual experiences. I was now so anxious and scared about possibly catching something from having sex again that I became paranoid. My sexual experiences were full of fear and doubt. I was constantly going to get exams afterwards to see if I was infected. This was how my repressed feelings showed up. I was no longer the same but I lived with it without saying anything about a rape. Ten years later is when I finally realize what happened and expressed how I feel about it. At the time I felt dirty, used, I blamed myself, I wished I could’ve kicked him off, thought well maybe if I would’ve been more firm and the list went on. But no that’s not the answer, I could’ve kicked and screamed and been more physical but that’s not the point because no means no. In a typical, healthy human interaction that no would be understood and respected. No it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t need to kick or push him off all he needed to do was listen. I have finally after ten years been able to label what happened to me and set this monster that has been haunting my body for years and set it free. This journey hasn’t been easy by any means. But boy what relief it brings once you identify and face it straight on. It has also brought my voice back, my need to be respected and honored. I still have some work to do but I feel that much closer to the end of this darkness. I want you to know that you’re not the only one. Let your voice be heard, don’t let anybody dim your light. Find that voice and use it. Face that nasty monster in the eye and free yourself.