Finding A Smile

I began dating my childhood best friend. He was funny, incredibly sweet, and jealous (which should have warned me from the beginning).

The first four months were incredible. He was my first kiss and the light of my life, until four months after we had been dating.
I had skipped school to stay home due to a sinus infection when he surprised me at my house with a milkshake and cheese fries. The house rule was that we had to stay outside when my parents weren’t home, so we shared lunch on the porch. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day, warm and sunny. He requested for me to get him a water and once I closed the refrigerator I found him standing behind the door. He pushed me into the hallway and began kissing me despite my pleas to return to the patio chairs and finish our meal. This led to him, “feeling guilty”, and threatening suicide. I was naive and born a people pleaser so I gave in. That was the first time it happened. It happened again two days later and almost every time we saw one another afterwards (which was at least twice a week).

Now that I look back on the situation, I realize my stupidity, but also my strength. I never spoke of the situation until four months after the breakup and spent sixteen months with the same boy who made the same excuses for why our relationship was solely based on lust and who cried every time I tried to address my feelings.
He made it seem like my family, friends, and God hated me and that only he cared about my happiness.

I began theatre in the spring and for the first time since we had been dating, I spoke to people that weren’t him or his friends. I felt normal.

The following summer, my new close friend invited me to the carnival with her and a few other girls from the college I had performed at. As I was leaving, he called me and immediately began crying and telling me that he had planned to take me that day, despite him knowing my plans a week prior. I decided to go anyway and he began yelling at me and giving me permission to go as long as I would start telling my friends that I had plans with him whenever they would invite me out, even if I didn’t. That moment was the turning point for our relationship. I released all of my feelings about everything that had happened between us and explained that saying “yes” after multiple threats was not considered consent. His reaction was to begin loading his shotgun, telling me he loved me, and hanging up.
I called him three times before calling his mother who called me back saying that he had just had a rough day and over-exaggerated. I broke up with him three days later.

After the breakup, I would like to say that everything went back to normal; however, I was still self-harming (which began when I noticed cut marks on his wrists and upon asking about them, found out that I had been the reasoning behind them). I continued to starve myself because he had always clinched my stomach between his grimy fingers as he shoved his tongue down my throat and I had conjured up the belief that he would find me unattractive if I was skinnier since he had constantly reminded me that he would break up with me if I lost weight. I kept hating myself because I had defiled my God’s name, even though I was still technically a virgin and knew that God forgives everyone. I was absolutely lost and miserable.

He forced me to change my number by calling me daily solely to curse, claim that I had raped him, and call me a whore. I tried to skip church as much as possible in order to avoid speaking to him. All of my (his) friends abandoned me when they knew we had broken up and I hardly saw the ones that I had made on my own.

I began dating my current boyfriend a little less than a year after we had broken up. He was the first person I told about the situation and the one who encouraged me to reach out for help.

Since then, I haven’t touched a razor. My family and I are close again and I even consider my sister my best friend.
I’ve been on Prozac and Visceral, and seen two therapists to help me recover from the nightmares and fear of intimacy, but I wouldn’t be here today without God and my supportive and loving family. I will never cease to praise Him because He’s the only reason I wake up in the mornings with a fresh smile on my face and a great love for others in my heart.

Although my past caused me an incredible amount of pain and regret, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m perfectly happy where I am in life, and if I had not experienced what I did, I highly doubt that I would appreciate it as much as I do now.