I lived a very normal childhood. I was just a young, innocent girl who didn’t know much about anything besides Bratz dolls and horses. It took me 14 years to realize that I was a victim.

When I was about four years old, my mother would invite her friend and her daughter over. Her daughter was only a couple years older than me and we played all the time. One day, our innocent play turned into a doctor game. I didn’t know what was going on or that it was wrong until I was 11. She would fondle me, use her mouth, and make me touch her in vulgar ways. I remember not wanting to do it so I’d pretend. Eventually, she just stopped coming over, and the memories god shoved somewhere deep down.

When I was 11, I was just making some new friends at school. We would all play and have sleepovers. One day, my new friend said that we should date. I didn’t even know what sex actually was or what bisexual meant. She told me it’s normal for girls to like girls. It’s called being bisexual. So I went with it, thinking it was cool and people would be so jealous that I was in a relationship already.

It wasn’t just an innocent relationship.

She too fondled me, made fun of my body, would kiss me and make me have sex with her.

I went along with it, until I realized that this too felt wrong.

I told her it wasn’t me, and it ended quickly.

I didn’t want to be friends with her anymore, but when I tried telling people why, nobody believed me.

I was outcasted, but nobody ever spoke of it. I never even told my parents.

Months went on and we were on and off friends. Typical elementary school. The next school year, things changed for me.

I began to feel very ill. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t focus. I was 12 years old, unable to eat, sleeping maybe four hours during the week, and having panic attacks. I tried to eat one night but was so stressed out that I vomited everywhere.

I finally pulled these secrets I had been keeping up from wherever I tried to store and forget them and told my parents. They immediately asked me if I was bisexual, and that hurt more than anything. I explained everything, but it was far too late and I didn’t want anything to be said.

The next few years I jumped friends a lot, trying to find one I could trust. I never did.

I met a boy my freshman year of high school. He was not a virgin, which scared me, but he was charming. I was lured right in.

I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him.

He told me he understood.

We dated for two years and it seemed like he did understand.

But everything else was like walking through hell.

He would push his limits to see what he could do to upset me, he would tell me I can’t have a job so he can spend more time with me, he would guilt me, everything was my fault.

He started doing drugs, started cutting.

I was depressed.

I cut.

He acted like he cared.

He didn’t care.

He told me he smoked weed because I stressed him out.

Because I was a bad girlfriend.

I couldn’t take it anymore and finally got the strength to stand up for myself, even though I wished I was dead.

I lost myself. I talked to many different guys, did many different things, and eventually went right back to him.

This time, I was even weaker than before. He wanted me to do oral favors for him even though I never had the whole two years we were together.

He kept trying to get me to have sex with him, even though we never had before.

He didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it.

The only sexual experiences I ever had were unwanted. They were traumatizing, they were all I knew. They filled my body with guilt, disgust, horror. And it came out every time.

I told him no.

He had sex with me anyway.

I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want him to leave me. I thought we could make it work.

We couldn’t.

It was over two months later.

The cycle went on and on of us talking.

The only thing that pulled me out of it was making new friends.

I didn’t have these friends for long either, but I think they saved my life.

Before them I starved myself, I planned how I would kill my self, I didn’t want to be alive.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. I got in another relationship a year later. Everything was perfect. He respected me, he was mature. I really thought he loved me.

But he didn’t understand the past I have. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t touch him. He didn’t understand why I didn’t want to be touched.

And that’s when I woke up to him molesting me in my sleep.

Because of all of this, every relationship I have and will have in the future is affected.

I have a hard time trusting people.
I panic, I overthink.
I don’t think I’m good enough.
I think I’m fat and ugly.
I’m scared to have sexual experiences.
I get depressed.
I began to feel distant every year at the same time of the year and push people away, because this is the time of the year it all happened.
I let my fears get in the way of future relationships.
I am scared to live.

Or so I was.

September, 2017 was the month I changed my life.
I was diagnosed with depression in 2016, where I started going to counseling, but never went back. I didn’t think it would help. I didn’t think I could do it.
I fought with my mom all the time.
I cried. I cried a lot.

The day I decided I was good enough was the day I went back to counseling.

I broke off my relationship and found myself in the counselors office the next day. I went back to him weekly and didn’t hold anything back. I knew this was what I had to do. I never thought it would help, but it was the best decision I have ever made.

Today, I am going to college, and have moved in with my new boyfriend with our family of four pets.
Today, I have a man taking care of me. Protecting me. Respecting me. Loving me.
I have found someone that I can be myself with.
Someone I’m comfortable with.
Someone I can trust and love.

Today, I still have panic attacks.
I still get really low days where I question my whole life.
I overthink.
I let my fears get the best of me.

But today, I have opportunities to go to light therapy sessions.
Today I go for runs to breath in fresh air.
I communicate with my boyfriend openly so he knows how I’m feeling.

Today I’m building a better me.

The me I was always meant to be.

The me that knows this life is beautiful. This world is beautiful. The me that is so grateful that I get to breathe in this fresh air every single day.

The me that is excited for the future.
The me that has forgiven myself.
The me that has forgiven the others.
The me that is positive.
The me that can trust.

The me that’s...me.