The Truth About Hate

If we’re friends on Facebook, you’re already aware of the kind of catastrophic storm my life has become in the last few days. If we aren’t friends on Facebook, I want to tell you a story. About heartache, abuse, mental illness, and coming clean.

I want to take you back seven years. I was a troubled teen, struggling with mental illness, and when I was fifteen, I found a local band that made me feel like family. The lead singer made me feel special and pretty and smart, all things that I didn’t feel at that time in my life. And a few weeks after I turned sixteen, he made a move on me. And I let it happen. And half way through sex, he says, “You really are a virgin.” Mind you, I told him I was. I told him that I hadn’t done anything like this before. And he was still amazed I wasn’t lying about it.

This was not the last time this kind of thing occurred. Over the next four years, I was brainwashed into thinking that he really did love me, that none of my friends wanted me to be happy, and that my mother didn’t love me at all. And as a result, I became almost completely isolated. I was sixteen. He was thirty-one. And he didn’t care that I was young and vulnerable. At this point you might be wondering why it was I didn’t leave him. Make no mistake, I tried. Several times over. And each time he threatened to kill himself. I was one of three women in his life. One was his long time girlfriend, and the other was a mutual friend, two years younger than me. And he was having sex with both of them, too.

In the past few days, myself and two other wonderful women have stepped forward to openly talk about his abuse. We had all been sixteen at the time. The one is three years older than me, and went to school with my husband. The other is a close friend, two years younger than me. That makes us, respectively, 23, 26, and 21. Are you uncomfortable? Because looking at those numbers makes me uncomfortable.

We’ve all decided to speak out, and he has contacted all of us to try and discredit what it is we have to say. I have heard him refer to every one of us a lying slut at some point in time or another, but he refuses to acknowledge anything about his part in the situations that damaged all of us.

Yesterday I tried to press charges. In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is 12 years for sexual assault, if the victim was born before 2002. I was told that I could file a report, but it wouldn’t make it across the DA’s desk, because no crime had been committed. The exact words told to me were, “You cannot corrupt an already corrupt minor.” The state of Pennsylvania does not, apparently, recognize coercion and emotional abuse to be sexual assault. Even though it occurred between a 31 year old man and a 16 year old mentally ill girl.

I still plan on filing the report, and the other two women will be filing one as well, last I knew. My heart hurts and I am angry.

But I am also healing. I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist this week, to treat crippling anxiety and PTSD. I was put on a new medication, while my current medication’s dosage was upped. I took a shower today, and I feel better than I have in years. I felt clean. Like an entirely new person had stepped out of that shower. For years I’ve been told coming clean will help me heal, and I never believed it. I hated myself, and I hated the things that had happened to me. And as a result, these things started to impact my marriage in a way that I was having difficulty controlling.

My husband and friends have been beyond supportive in this chapter of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for them encouraging me to speak up about what happened to me.

Your abusers will tell you that nobody will listen to your story, but your abusers are lying. Recovery is always an option. People will believe you. And when you come out the other side, you will be stronger.

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Sterilization at 22 (Part Five)

I honestly wasn’t going to write anything else on this subject until after my post-op appointment. But I’ve spent the last few days healing, and I think that’s a journey that everyone should be familiar with, too. 

My ligation was four days ago. They sent me home with norco and ibuprofen. That was it. The first day home, I slept a LOT. My eyes were closing every three minutes. And I was sore. I’ve been in worse pain, so I didn’t think much of it, but the pain is nothing to laugh at. 

The surgeon suggested that I don’t stay in bed the whole time, so the second day I walked home from my mother in law’s. As it turns out, that was too much too soon and I spent the next couple days in bed. 

They gave me just enough norco, as of yesterday ibuprofen was enough to cut it, so long as I’m careful not to bump the incisions. 

With the basics out of the way, I think it’s time we talk about some of the…gross things that happen when you get your tubes tied. 

As I mentioned in part four, I went into this procedure on my period. The bleeding had essentially stopped after the procedure. Spotting has resumed, though I am certain that it is not my regular period. The fact that I don’t spot aside, the color is completely off. (I don’t care if that’s gross, vagina health is the incredibly important, and all vagina having folks should be able to distinguish between normal and not normal.) I’ve been wearing a pad, although the spotting is so infrequent that I probably don’t need to, but who wants to ruin nice panties? 

I was warned that my first period after the procedure would be different than normal. If it’s anything like this spotting, it will be considerably lighter. 

Now, sticking to the subject of vaginas, let’s talk about orgasms for a moment. It hurts. The surgeon instructed we avoid sex for a  week, and we have done so. I’ll spare you the details of how an orgasm came to pass, but I’ll tell you how it felt. Now, vagina having folks understand what terrible period cramps can feel like. It’s unbearably painful sometimes, feeling like you’re being punched directly in the ovaries. 

This is what that very first orgasm felt like. I don’t know if that will be easier after the first week, but as of the third day, it hurt like hell. 

Time to talk about poop! There are two incisions, one IN the belly button and one right on the pubic hair line. At first pooping was not a concern of mine. Norco is a narcotic, and those are notorious for causing constipation. As a couple days passed, I realized that pooping should be a concern of mine. And it turns out, I was right. At the point in time I was finally able to go, I hadn’t gone in four days. I was considerably backed up, and the movement through my intestines caused so much pain throughout the incisions. From there, it was just incredibly uncomfortable. Not quite painful, just uncomfortable. 

After four days, the incisions are clearing up a bit. There’s some bruising, but they don’t look at all as angry as they did when the procedure first happened. The pain is mostly gone now, it feels more like the aftermath of a serious work out than it does a surgery. The area itself is still tender to touch (so careful in the shower) but it doesn’t cause problems on its own. 

My incisions were sealed with a type of glue, but the edges/scab area are extremely dry and rigid, so careful that clothing doesn’t snag. 

Four days later, and the most uncomfortable of things out of the way, and I’m feeling exceptionally good about this decision. 

The pubic incision. They did a great job putting my tattoo back together
The belly button incision, just sort of extends my belly button down.

Sterilization at 22 (Part Three)

I had a mental breakdown today. I was irritable, I took personal offense to everything, and I cried. A lot. About everything. Was this directly related to the fact that I’m having my surgery next week? I’m hoping to explore that a bit. 

I had my pre-op today. For both anesthesia and the procedure itself. It’s all a go. Surgery is clear for April 26th. I am thrilled. Thrilled isn’t even the right word. 

I think the reason I was so edgy today was that this entire time, since a month or so ago when I first got approved, I was expected to be met with resistance. From all sides, I expected this to be a fight. In fact, I’ve been preparing for it. 

There has been no fight. None, from any party. A few parties telling me they regret their decision to have theirs done, on several platforms of social media, which is annoying to be sure, but not a fight. 

My mental breakdown today might have honestly been one of relief. I’ve been so heated up to defend my choice, and today I realized that I didn’t have to. Nobody has challenged it. It could be that they know arguing with me is pointless, and I will go rounds and rounds before becoming so fed up that I just quit. I didn’t need to constantly be on the edge anymore, and when my defensive walls come down, I tend to crumble with them. 

With the procedure only nine days away, I feel like it’s time I explain my choice in a bit more detail. 

I am ill. I have SLE (a form of lupus that targets organs), and mine was so severe I almost died in 2014. My kidneys went from faulty to almost completely dead in a short time span of three months. By the time I received a diagnosis, my kidneys were almost completely shut down and my stomach was starting to go. 

Looking back, it feels sort of like a bad dream. But it is not. This is my reality. I fear nothing more than I fear death. Even thinking about my own mortality causes me to have a full blown anxiety attack. 

No, I never wanted children. But the idea that I could potentially pass this life threatening genetic mutation down to a child, I don’t think I’d want children now even if I had. Kidney function drops during pregnancy (hence the swollen feet and ankles) and that’s not something I ever want to experience again. Selfish? Maybe. 

I am also mentally ill. Major depressive. Anxiety. PTSD. Borderline Personality Disorder. These things, I think, would keep me from being a good parent. Please don’t think that I’m saying people who are mentally ill don’t make good parents, but I truly think it would prevent me from being a good parent. I am selfish. Incredibly so. A fair bit of that is a result of mental illness. I’m extremely cautious about things that could potentially making my mental health worse, and I regard them with disdain and avoidance. Children cause issues in both anxiety and PTSD both. Loud noises, certain things children say that they’ve picked up from television, make me panic. A child of my own would be no different. 

Health issues aside, I have never felt a shred of maternal instinct. I do not get baby fever. A crying baby does not make me want to take care of it, it makes me unbelievably angry. I don’t like children. They are loud, they are sticky, and quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of having to take care of something until I’m dead. Children grate on my every nerve. I don’t treat them differently, I just don’t care for them. 

This is what I want. This is who I am. Child free is not the best option for everyone, and I understand that there are some women who might regret this decision. 

But I have thought long and hard about this for ten or so years. There is no changing my mind, there will be no regret. 

The next time I update my sterilization journey, my ligation will have already been done. This is my reality. 

On Being a College Drop-Out 

I haven’t been in a classroom since early October. My university professors went on strike, and I had a week off. I didn’t go back.

I told everyone (myself included) that I was taking time off. For my health. And while I originally had taken time off for my health, as time went on, I realized I probably wasn’t going back.

If, by chance, I can get the two classes that I need to receive my Associate’a degree, I will. Just to say I did get my degree.

But eventually I had to stop lying to myself and to others about the situation. I am not “taking time off.” As of now, I am a college dropout. I had a lot of feelings about college dropouts once, but looking at my life in the last few months, I can honestly say that I’m grateful I dropped out.

My stress levels are minimal comparatively speaking, I’m not sick all the time, my pain levels aren’t as bad as they were, and I in my over abundance of free time, I’ve started doing things I want to do with my life.

I’m reading again. I made the decision to seek help for my mental illness, and have been on antidepressants for going on two months now, along with an as-needed antianxiety. I started writing a book, of which I am half-way through in just fifteen days of writing. I even found a doctor who’s going to provide me with a tubal ligation.

College was (literally) killing me slowly. I was struggling balancing a job and an education, and the sheer amount of stress left me sick and in severe chronic pain. Not to mention the crippling mental health problems I was experiencing.

I became an English major so I could surround myself with the things that I love. Reading, writing, literature. By my third year of college, I didn’t love these things anymore. It all felt like a chore to me. An exhausting attempt at work, when I wanted leisure.

Perhaps it was the severe depression. Or perhaps it was truly the fact college took everything that I love away from me, I can’t be sure. But it took me five months of doing absolutely nothing to find myself again. In fact, I’m still trying to find myself.

There have been…obstacles, to say the least, that have kept me from absolute happiness along the way, but as I relearn myself, I also learn forgiveness and self-love, things I didn’t know in college.

I might not have a degree. I might be a college dropout. But I am certain this was the best decision for me