I Am A Survivor. And This Is My Story.

So, I am not sure where to start and I am kind of starting early on my blog today because I am unsure how long it will take me to write it, if I will even end it off or erase it after I have wrote what I wanted to say. Lately, I have struggled with many things, some inside of my control but most of them outside of my control. When I try to make sense of the thoughts in my head it all kind of just circles back to how I was feeling and I am left in the same spot I was before, but this time with a heavier heart, an exhausted mind and more confusion.

I am an advocate of self love and self respect and everything that embodies being in love with yourself. Daily, I work hard at loving who I am and building myself up with love. I take time out to workout, meditate, do yoga, all kinds of things that make me happy. It seems as though lately, I am unsure that is enough. It has been hard for me to cope with my assault, the prevalence of rape culture and women rising up has brought some insecurity out within me. Things I had no idea where hiding, things I thought I had overcome. How did I miss these things?

If I could take you back to who I was before it happened, and attempt to compare who I am now, I can’t be sure if i am evolving, or if I am hiding parts of me because of the fear I live in. When I was younger and going through college, I was the girl that could be seen in skin tight clothing, short dresses, drinking and dancing til the music stopped and I was a social butterfly. I loved to be around people and I loved to make new friends. After my assault, I kept my drinking up for a while as a way to cope. I did not know anything else, but it wasn’t until I ended every night in tears on the bathroom floor in my favorite club, or having flashbacks when someone touched me weird that I realized, this wasn’t the scene for me in that moment. I stopped going out for a while to take care of myself. Makes sense right?

I was that girl who was the life of the party,  I didn’t want to be tied down and you couldn’t tell me what to do. I was a free soul, a free spirit and I loved every piece of me. I was the girl who enjoyed posting on social media to show off my body and all the hard work I was putting in at the gym and I wasn’t shy to show off my cleavage or a little skin at the swimming pool. I enjoyed the thought of and genuinely loved the idea of being sexy. I knew I was a full package, both smart and beautiful. I had a nice body, a full figure  and I felt that way inside.

As I sit here and write today, and I take time to reflect on who I am now… I don’t see the person I saw what seems like forever ago. I don’t go out anymore and when I do go out, I am constantly over thinking if I am overdressed, if I am being stared at because I am being too provocative, if I am underdressed. Should I have worn the longer skirt? Should I have covered more of my cleavage? I realize, I walk into room and I hide in the corner, I don’t want to be the person people see anymore. I want to be hidden. I don’t feel sexy and the times I look into the mirror and think I am sexy, I immediately retract and walk away. I am ashamed to feel this way.

Everyday, I wake up and tell myself if maybe I wasn’t pretty, sexy or any of that I wouldn’t have been in the situation I was in. Maybe if I didn’t wear provocative clothing I wouldn’t have attracted the type of person to rape me. Its not until I have flashbacks to what I was wearing that night. I was in winter clothes. It was cold outside. There was snow on the ground. And then, when I bring myself out of blaming myself, I remember IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT I WAS WEARING. I WASN’T ASKING TO BE RAPED.

So this is where my confusion, my circular thoughts and my exhaustion comes from. I see young women on social media posting pictures of their bodies, naked, provocative clothing, you name it and the old me is saying, YES YOU GO GIRL! and the new me is saying No, stop. Someone is going to objectify you and not respect you and my brain tells me thats not how you protect yourself.

I live everyday in fear.

I live in fear of being raped and being objectified, so anytime I attempt to live outside of this new conservative lifestyle I have built for myself I blame myself for what happened.

After I blame myself for 20 minutes, I begin to talk myself out of that and realize its not us women. Its the choices and the actions of the men around us who objectify and rape us. It was never us showing our skins. It was never us wearing that short skirt. It was never us with the little bit of cleavage. It is and will always be the men who choose day in and day out not to respect us, treat us as equals.

As women we deserve to be respected and treated like any other human despite what we put on our bodies, the types of pictures we post or the reasons we post them. We are all living through battles each and every day that no one can understand and to have someone shaming us because we are living the best way we know how is unfair.

Everyday, I go through this motion. I haven’t found my happiness yet in this situation and I haven’t found what works for me. My first step is being honest with myself. I have not moved on, I have not forgiven my rapist and I am still in pain.

The first step I believe is the honesty. The second step for me is networking with other women, finding some outside empowerment and then rebuilding and reconstructing my foundation as a beautiful, sexy, intelligent, bad ass woman.

The other day, I posted a status asking women on my Facebook timeline how they fill themselves up with love, when they feel most confident, when they feel most sexy and what were some things in their lives that bring them down. I was overwhelmed with the responses I received on my post and I cannot thank these beautiful women enough for their answers, the courage it took to post and the time. A lot of the women that responded said they used working out to build confidence and make themselves feel good. I love that there are so many women out there getting in tune with their body and building muscle, despite society telling women to not get “too manly.” I also had one of my friends tell me that she puts post it notes in random places in her house and will read them to herself daily. I think I may add this into my house. It could use some decor.

To answer my own questions:

How do I fill myself up with love? Currently, I spend time doing the things I love such as working out, and doing yoga. Before each workout and yoga session I set an intention for my practice or for my workout and I remind myself of this intention, and incorporate it through my day. Usually my intention is to remind myself daily how strong and beautiful I am.

When do you feel most confident? I feel most confident at work. When I am working in my community with my kids and impacting them and their parents I feel that everything I  have learned is being utilized and I am making a difference.

When do you feel most sexy? … Lately, I don’t know. I would like to say I feel sexy when I am able to engage in meaningful conversation with someone and I am able to talk freely. I also sometimes feel sexy after showers lol. I remember one of my friends said this and I was like you know what, me to.

What are some things that bring you down that you wish wouldn’t? I am my worse enemy. I allow myself to bring me down and thats the hardest to build back up. When I am talking to someone on an intimate level and they ignore me or have lack of communication or effort. Thats another big one for me. I dislike the feeling of someone not putting effort when I am giving my all and I struggle with walking away from someone I care about.

I had to take a day to answer my own questions. I am still trying to figure out which part of Oascha is growing up and which parts of me are living in fear.

I think I’m off to a pretty decent start.

I am a Survivor. And this is my story.

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