Escaping, Forgiveness & Progress; I’m going to be okay

So this week has been interesting to say the least. I had a lowkey breakdown, cried in front of my boss, decided to quit my job, found forgiveness, confronted Cody and ran away for a bit. 

It all started Wednesday when I got a text from Cody. He had been texting me nonstop all week, he drove a hour and half to my current town that I live in and was wanting to see me. (When I moved away from my home town in August, I deliberately did not tell anyone where exactly I was moving to because I feared Cody would find me) However my drunken self told Cody at that party last week, the area in which I live now, so of course he shows up wanting to hang out. I freaked out, the last thing I need is the psycho guy who tried to kill me stalking me again. 

The entire day was a disaster, I couldn’t calm myself down no matter what I tried. Even though it has been over a year since everything happened between us, I’m still very much afraid of angering this guy. I went to work where my boss decided it was a good day to yell at me for everything going wrong with the store which resulted in me freaking out. I instantly had a flashback involving the violence I endured with Cody which scared me greatly. I began hyperventilating and then of coursed puked, my manager just stood there wondering what the fuck was wrong with me. I then began bawling my eyes out and I honestly didn’t even know why I was crying. My boss was not very understanding and told me to get a fucking grip, so I threw my hat and key down and told him I quit. I left the store a complete wreck and decided I needed to go deal with this Cody thing. 

Cody and I met up at a coffee shop across town, a good 30 minutes from where I actually live. I didn’t know what I was really going to say to him… I just knew I couldn’t keep doing this whole him texting me and wanting to be with me thing. So I told him we needed to stop all of this, I can’t be with him because I still haven’t gotten over all that he did to me. He of course started with the whole “I’ve changed, I promise I’m not like that anymore”. His attitude changed and I could see he was beginning to get upset, he balled his hand in a fist and began clinching his teeth. I immediately began apologizing. I was so afraid of upsetting him… Cody asked me why I was apologizing and then reached his hand over towards me and I unintentionally flinched. His expression immediately changed, the look in his eyes was heartbreaking. I couldn’t say anything so I just sat there staring back at the guy who I once swore I would marry. 

Cody shifted in his seat and then said, “You’re afraid of me…You’re really afraid of me aren’t you?” I had no idea how to respond… The lump in my throat grew bigger and I just knew I was going to cry again. Cody continued, “You’re right we can’t do this… I’m sorry McKenzie. You loved me even though I was a complete monster to you, you never stopped loving me. For that I thank you, you’ll always be the one who saved me.” His eyes filled with tears and so did mine. What he said it hurt, he was right but I love him. Cody deleted my number and told me I didn’t have to worry about him talking to me anymore, he said he loved me but he knew he wasn’t the one for me anymore. He hugged me and left. Cody walked out of that coffee shop and didn’t look back at me, he was gone. 

I sat there crying my eyes out and I honestly could not understand it. This was the boy who beat the shit out of me, who sent me to the hospital so many times with broken bones, and here I was bawling like a baby over him. I finally pulled myself together and left. I went home packed a bag, went down to my parents got the key to their cabin in Tennessee and took off. 

I needed to get away, everything was just too much. I spent the week in solitude and it was the best thing for me. I went to a few meditation and yoga classes, did a lot of running and cleared my mind. I disconnected from everything, turned my phone off and didn’t bother with social media. I wrote a lot this week about everything, I allowed myself to feel all of the emotions I’ve been avoiding. I cried, I screamed and I let myself fall apart. It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time, I found some inner peace with the whole Cody thing. I found forgiveness for what he did to me, I found forgiveness for myself for staying with him. 

While away, I thought a lot about the Cameron thing and the night I was raped. I worked on some EMDR skills I’ve been learning in therapy and surprisingly I think they are working. We have been working on blacking out Cameron’s face from my memory (since one of the key elements of the reoccurring nightmares is of his face the night he raped me) The nightmares I’ve been having lately Cameron’s face have been a blur, everything that happened that night still replays in my dreams but I can’t see Cameron’s face anymore… at least not while I’m dreaming anyways. It seems like therapy is finally starting to work and I’m finally making progress. It’s been one intense week but I’ve never felt better. I got another job, I start this week and I’m happy for the first time in a long time. I’m really honestly happy. I think I’m going to be okay, everything’s going to be okay. 

Fucking Up: A Date With The Devil & Bad Choices

I have spent the majority of this week trying to understand why I do the things I do. I’m pretty sure I’ve fucked up and I have no idea what to even do about any of this. 

Earlier this week I went down to my hometown to see my parents, while visiting I took my sisters to a ball game. My younger sister posted a picture of us on social media where I then received a message from the guy who I never expected to speak to again, Cody. (My crazy abusive ex) He was surprised I was back in town and apparently at the same ball game we were at. He wanted to see me and talk about everything that happened between us. 
I was hesitate to message him back and at first declined his offer to see him, but after some convincing I finally agreed. I left my sisters to go meet up with the boy who a little over a year ago, I took a restraining order out on. I was feeling cocky and decided that it was finally my chance to tell him exactly how I felt. I wanted to be honest with him, tell him how bad he hurt me use my words to cut him so deeply that he would never be able to forget what I had to say. 

As soon as I saw him my hands began to shake and the knot in my stomach grew larger. I was honestly afraid, I didn’t know really what to expect. He complimented me, told me how nice I looked and how my short hair suited me. After a few minutes of talking something changed, I wasn’t angry… I noticed him, I looked in those dark brown eyes and saw the boy I had once fallen in love with. We talked and he apologized over and over again for everything he ever said, for every bruise he caused, for every broken bone and fit he threw. He was genuinely sorry and then he began talking about Cameron and wanted to know exactly what happened between us. So I told him what Cameron did and Cody cried. He apologized for not being there for me, for beating me that night I first told him about the rape. The knot in my stomach slowly turned to butterflies and I was calm. We were enjoying each other’s company and I held on to every word he said. 
We talked for while about what has been going on in our lives since everything happened with us. 

He’s doing so much better, while he was in Texas at that treatment center for his anger, he started on a business degree. He hopes to get his masters in a couple of years and he’s not as religious as he used to be. He’s really happy and I was surprisingly happy for him. The ball game was ending when he leaned in and kissed me, I kissed him back. I oddly felt safe with him, things were almost like they were when we first started dating. We hugged and then he kissed me one last time before we parted ways. My younger sister had saw us kiss and came storming over furious about what she saw. I assured her it was fine and we left, I made her promise not to tell my mom. 

Later that night I went to a party and Cody met up with me. We walked in with his arm around me and everyone in the room had something to say. It was just like we used to be, the perfect golden couple back together again. As the night went on my sobriety quickly faded and before I knew it I was stumbling around hanging onto Cody. One thing led to the next, him and I ended up in some girls bedroom. Things heated up quickly and we had drunken sex where midway I began to cry. Cody didn’t know what to do, I was too intoxicated to get a grip and calm down. He decided it was time to take me home. 

As we were leaving people began asking what was wrong with me and then my little sister came running up screaming at Cody asking what he did to me. She began hitting him in the chest and then hauled off and punched him in the mouth. Cody stumbled backwards and kept telling her he didn’t do anything. I shouted at her to stop and told her we should just leave. She took me home 20 questioning me the entire way back, lecturing me on how stupid I was to be messing around with the guy who nearly killed me. I didn’t know how to explain it, I still don’t know how to explain why I chose to go out with him again. 

My mother later found out about my encounter with Cody, she flipped out and forbade me from seeing him. Cody and I had exchanged numbers during my drunken escapade, so he’s been texting me and I just don’t know what to even say. 

Shouldn’t I hate him? Shouldn’t I just absolutely despise him? Hate him??? But for some reason I don’t… I loved that boy and sadly I still do. But I can’t be with him, how do I even know he’s changed?!

 Last night for the first time in a long time I had a nightmare about the night Cody came into my apartment with a gun and threaten to kill me. I haven’t dreamt of Cody in a long time so this particular dream is terrifying. My therapist thinks it’s best if I don’t attempt to get back with him, she’s right I shouldn’t. But I just don’t know how to tell him no. After nearly two years I still have yet to gain the courage to tell him no. 

One Hell Of A Week: Things are not okay…

Truthfully, this week has been hell and I’m honestly surprised I haven’t killed myself yet. I’m so incredibly exhausted and I just need my mind to quiet down for a bit, I just need the nightmares to stop, I just need everything to stop…

My sleeping medication was switched again  (the Remeron I was on just stopped working last week) so I was finally able to sleep again, which of course meant the nightmares returned. This week I’ve felt like I can’t get Cameron out of my head, he’s always there. I want to stop feeling his hands on me. I want to stop hearing his voice. I want to forget him. It’s just a lot this week and I just wish it wasn’t so hard. 

Adam (my now ex boyfriend) had been staying at my place this week and he hasn’t been the most understanding lately when it comes to this whole Cameron thing. Adam doesn’t understand why “I’m so fucked up” according to him, so we got into it which was terrible. Thursday night he went to kiss me and then attempted to put his hand up my shirt, (we haven’t done anything but kiss since we started dating) I told him we couldn’t and that was when he told me, “Trust me, Kenzie, it will be fun.” 

This set off a terrible flashback to the night with Cameron when he too said, “No baby, it will be fun. Trust me.” I was right back there in that bedroom with Cameron, I couldn’t make the flashback stop, it was too much I could feel Cameron’s hands on me, his breath on my neck, the smell of his cologne… it was just too much. When I finally calmed down Adam was frustrated with me and snapped, “Jesus Christ Kenzie, stop freaking out! I can’t touch you without you going crazy! Calm the fuck down!” I was really taken aback by what he said, I don’t purposely freak out and I never meant for him to get upset. I don’t usually cry, but I couldn’t help it, he was being an ass and I was too overwhelmed. Adam told me I needed to get over it and stop crying. I began snapping back at him and sure enough we were in a very heated argument. Before he left he told me, “For God sakes McKenzie, stop letting some guy who fucked you almost two years ago control your life!” I told him what Cameron did was rape and you can’t just get over that! 

The next day resulted in more drama between us, I found out he was cheating on me with his best friend Hannah who he swore “I didn’t need to worry about”. So we broke up and that was that. I was angry and let my mouth get the best of me, he yelled back as well and we ended on a very not so good note. It was a lot and I was exhausted from all the drama with him, I wish I could just get over what Cameron did. I wish I could be intimate while sober with someone without freaking out. I wish I didn’t wake up screaming from nightmares daily, I wish I could control the flashbacks and stop the panic attacks but I can’t and it’s infuriating. I wish I could be fucking normal!

Then if my life couldn’t get any worse, Saturday when I went to leave my home I realized my brakes in my car wasn’t working. Luckily I live pretty close to a mechanics, I was then told that my brake line looked like someone had cut it and so I had to deal with that. I ended up calling Adam which resulted in him telling me I deserve everything I get and me asking him if he was the one to cut my brake lines. He of course denied it so I called my parents who insisted that the bastard would pay, my father told me he would handle this. I ended up having to ask my landlords if I could see the video from the entrance  gate of our apartment complex (I live in a gated community type thing) After watching the footage I saw that Adam had indeed came by my apartment late at night (sadly we don’t have cameras in the parking lot). 

This was enough “proof” for my father who was furious about the situation. Adam ended up admitting to cutting my brake lines apparently, his side chick Hannah had put him up to it. My father assured me he would take care of this situation and I shouldn’t have to worry about Adam anymore. 

 So all of this happened this week and it has been a lot!!! I’ve just been so fucking exhausted with everything going on. I just need things to be okay right now and they are anything but. It’s been a terribly hard week and I just wish things were better. I just wish everything with Cameron never happened. I wish Adam wouldn’t have gone psycho on me. I wish I could just stop everything for a while… it’s a bit much. 
I’m just going through the motions and trying to get by without offing myself honestly. Things are bad right now and I don’t know when they will get better…

Having Support After Rape: My Family Finally Understands

I think my parents finally understand…I spent the weekend at my parents again, my mother received some not so good news about her health so my family “needed” me. (They still think of me as the strong one, the one they can lean on when things get tough) It was also my youngest sisters graduation from kindergarten so it was easier for me to just stay a couple of nights down there instead of driving back and forth. 

Two weeks ago when I spent some time in my home town, I made sure to only sleep for a few hours so I wouldn’t have any nightmares, I didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night screaming and then have to explain what was happening to not so understanding parents. This weekend however I was so insanely exhausted I fell asleep early and woken everyone from yet another nightmare about Cameron. 

I drove down Saturday after work and treated my younger sisters to dinner and a movie. It was good to spend some much needed quality time with them, they are overly worried about my mothers health and it was good to just get their minds off of it for a while. We took my youngest sister to the park to burn off some energy and ended up playing tag with her for two hours. Needless to say by the time we got home we were all pretty worn out. My mother insisted on me sleeping in the guest room down the hall from her bedroom, she said she wanted all of her daughters close to her. (I usually just sleep in my old room upstairs on the other side of my parents home) I was so incredibly tired I didn’t even take my sleeping pill. I of course woke up in a cold sweat, screaming from having yet another all too vivid nightmare of the night I was raped. This of course woke up just about everyone. My father came running in the room with a gun in his hand flipping on the lights shouting “what’s wrong?! what’s wrong??” My mother followed behind him worried to death that something terrible must’ve happened. My younger sister who’s 16 and bedroom was across the hall also came running in gripping her metal baseball bat. 

I couldn’t say anything, as soon as I saw my father holding the gun I began hyperventilating. I just couldn’t get it together and calm down. Everyone was talking at once and my mom was freaking out thinking I was dying. She rushed beside me and tried to calm me down. All of this commotion woke up my other sister and her fiancé who both came running in wanting to know what happened, luckily my youngest sister can sleep through anything. I finally stopped hyperventilating enough to just say I was about to puke. My sister handed me a trash bail and sure enough I puked my dinner out. 

No one understood what just happened and they were all so incredibly worried. I told them I was fine and they needed to just go back to bed. My father of course wanted to know what caused all of this. I told them this is just what happens. I do this, it was just a nightmare, I’ll be fine. My mother insisted on me explaining myself because “just a nightmare” doesn’t make you hyperventilate and puke. With everyone’s worrying eyes on me I began to explain the unexplainable. I told them I have PTSD caused from Cameron and the night I was raped. I have terrible nightmares that cause me to hyperventilate and then I usually puke. 

I didn’t really know how everyone was going to take this giant truth bomb I just dropped. How my closest family members who I never spoke about this kinda stuff would react to this news. I was so incredibly vulnerable, I had just let my guard down in front of the very people who think of me as this insanely strong person who can withstand any storm. 

My little sister ran up to me embraced me in a huge hug she didn’t say anything she just held onto me. My family isn’t much for hugging and my 16 year old sister is not the most sympathetic person on the planet, so it was shocking that she was the first to embrace me like she did. My father didn’t say anything just stared at me and I couldn’t tell if he felt sorry for me or just thought I was insane. My mother also sat there staring at me and then her eyes filled with tears and she said, “oh my poor baby. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.” My other sister and her fiancé had so many questions, why this happens, what I am suppose to do about it, how I have ptsd if I’ve never been in war, how do I make it stop and so many more. 

And so my family and I had this moment at two in the morning, this one blissful moment of them finally understanding what I have been going through. I began answering their questions the best I could and before we knew it an entire hour passed. My little sisters sat on the floor listening to every word and asking questions about how I manage to deal with this. My mother just kept saying “I didn’t know honey, I didn’t know.” My father finally told everyone it was time to go back to bed. My mother hugged me and told me she would be just down the hall and I was safe and it was going to be okay. I don’t think she even knows how much that meant to me. My 16 year old sister asked me if I would like to sleep in the bed with her I told I would love to. When we were little, she used to have nightmares and would always climb in my bed and sleep with me, so it was kinda crazy that now the roles were reversed. 

My sister and I laid there in bed and talked for another hour she told me how sorry she was for what happened to me. She told me she didn’t want me to feel like I was alone anymore and that she was there for me. The next morning we sat together for breakfast and for the first time in a long time I felt like I was part of the family. My mother wanted to know more about therapy and how she can help. She was genuinely concerned and curious about what was going on with me. Yesterday as I was getting ready to go back to my own home my father came up to me and told me that he loves me and if I need anything just to call him. 

I can’t tell you how much this all meant to me. Ever since the rape I have felt so alone and after my family originally found out about it I felt like they would never understand. However after this weekend I think they finally do, I think they finally get just how much it affected me. I think I’m going to be okay honestly. I think I’m going to get over all of what was done to me and be okay. I know I will still have my bad days, I know I will still have the nightmares and some days I will feel like I am stuck in that bedroom with Cameron on top of me… but I know now that I have my family and they are always there for me and that is something to keep me going. That is something I now have and have wanted all this time, things are going to be okay, I’m going to be okay. 

It Wasn’t My Fault: Accepting Powerlessness After Rape, this is healing

I spent the weekend in my hometown with my parents and visiting all of my old friends. It was good to see everyone, to get away for a little bit… back home things are simple, time seems to go a little bit slower, everyone knows everyone and everyone feels at home. However I couldnt help but feel fearful. I haven’t felt safe in that town since Cameron did what he did. I don’t know if I will ever feel at ease when coming home and I think that’s the worse thing he did. He stole my sense of security in the place I once called home.

Ive been thinking a lot about how things used to be before I was raped. It’s odd really, it’s as if my life is now separated into two different timelines, the life before I was raped and the life after. The person I once was, the happy, god believing, church going, trusting, cheerleader McKenzie who didn’t have a care in the world. And the person I am now, the clinically depressed, lost soul, recovering alcoholic, fearful, overly anxious McKenzie who is barely hanging on. The in between of the two is all blurred with that fateful September night where my entire life changed as I knew it. 

Before September 1 2015, I was never afraid of being raped. Rape wasn’t something I ever worried about. I lived in a safe town where bad things didn’t happen, or at least you didn’t know about it. Everyone knew everyone, we all believed in the same God and the crime rate was low. When I was 16, I spent my summer nights at the mall with my friends outside of our county. My mother feared what could happen outside of our safe small town. She warned me about the bad men who lurked in alleyways and preyed on 16 year old girls who dressed provocatively and wore too much makeup. She told me I was to always travel in pairs and to never go anywhere alone when I’m outside of town. My father told me to make sure I locked my car doors and if anything was to happen scream fire, for more people would come to help than if I screamed rape. How odd is it for women to think of their bodies as burning buildings and properties instead of human beings. My mother was never afraid of me being out late if I was in our safe town, she was never fearful of the guys I brought home or the men I let stay over night. My parents never thought to warn me of the guys who sat on the front pew every Sunday at church, the guys who you invited into your home and offered a bowl of ice creme to. My parents didn’t warn me about the well dressed men who told you how beautiful you were. My hometown was safe… until it wasn’t. It makes me sick to think about how much Cameron stole from me, he stole the sense of security and safety I had in that town. 

While I was in town I decided I wanted to go by my first apartment, the same apartment where I first met Cody and fell in love with him. The same apartment where our fairytale love turned into a nightmare horror. The same apartment where he held a gun to my head and beat me senseless so many times. The same apartment where I was held down and raped in. The same apartment where so many secrets were kept, locked behind closed doors. If only those walls could talk the horrors they would tell. 

I thought going back there, visiting the place where it happened in, would help in some way. Lately I’ve been feeling trapped in that bedroom where he held me down, I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get out. It seems like I’m in constant search of finding the part of me he didn’t take away, I hoped I could find it there. One of my friends Becca moved into that apartment shortly after I moved away, she was fine with me stopping by. I don’t really know what I expected to gain from going by there, I just knew I felt like I needed to do it.   I had one of my close friends from back home Dani come with me, she was there for a lot of the aftermath of everything that went on last year. 

I wasn’t prepared for that apartment to trigger so many memories of all the things that occurred in that house. It’s still the same exact apartment I lived in, nothing really has changed other than the furniture. I instantly had a flashback of one of the many nights Cody beat the shit out of me in that kitchen. It was so vivid and I felt like i was there again, helpless and fragile. Broken… laying on that tile floor sobbing as Cody kicked my sides and told me how worthless I was. I came to with Dani grasping my arm asking if I was okay. I assured them both I was totally fine, surprisingly people still believe my lies. 

I walked through that apartment being reminded of all the hell I went through with Cody, all the beatings that occurred, all the arguements we had, and all the good memories. The first time he kissed me was on that front porch one summer night, the first time I knew I was in love with him was sitting on the counter in the kitchen one Sunday morning while he made blueberry pancakes. The first time we made love was on the living room floor listening to She’s like the Wind by Patrick Swayze during a power outage caused from a hellish storm. That apartment was where we shared so much with the bad came the good. Cody might’ve been an abusive man but he loved me when he was kind and when things were good they were great. 

Becca took us down the hall leading us to her bedroom, showing off all of her decor and art she has hung on the walls. She’s an amazing artist and loves to brag to whomever would take the time to listen. We walked down that hall and came to the door of her bedroom, the room that used to be mine. She has her room set up a lot like I used to. Her bed is straight across from the doorway and even though I was looking at her room I couldn’t help but see my old room. 

I went back to that night where Cameron carried me down the hall into my room closing the door with his foot, tossing me on the bed, kissing me, touching me… I couldn’t make the flashback stop, it was too much. It was too real, I could smell his cologne, I could hear the radio playing American Pie by Don McLean. I could feel his hands on my hips moving my shirt up, touching my breasts. I tried to stop him, I tried to move him off of me, but I couldn’t. He grabbed my wrists and held them above my head, he was so much bigger than I was. He was so much stronger. I couldn’t do anything. I was so powerless, so helpless. I was right back there again, I couldn’t breathe. I began hyperventilating it was all too much. Dani tried to get me to calm down, she sat beside me and kept reminding me I was okay. But I wasn’t okay, I wasn’t okay at all. None of this was okay, what happened in that apartment was not okay, what was done to me was not okay. 

I finally calmed down and just cried, I couldn’t stay strong any longer. Becca didn’t know what to say or do, Dani just kept reassuring me I was okay. I sobbed and told her, it wasn’t suppose to happen. I wasn’t suppose to be raped. If I wouldn’t have kissed him it wouldn’t have happened. 

Becca and Dani told me it wasn’t my fault, no matter what I did it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t want it. I said no he shouldn’t have done it. Dani asked me why I believed it was my fault, she asked me how I could believe that if I said no, if I tried to stop him. I freaked out a bit, I know why I have to say it was my fault. I know why I keep blaming myself. I began hyperventilating again, I couldn’t calm down. I felt like I was suffocating. I got up and ran outside, I puked. Dani and Becca followed behind, Dani asked again how I could blame myself. 

I told her I had to… if I admitted it wasn’t my fault, if I put all the blame on Cameron, it makes it real. It makes what happened to me too real, it makes it rape and even though I know logically that’s what it was admitting it wasn’t my fault, is admitting I was powerless. It makes it too much. I cried, I couldn’t think that way but now that I finally said it out loud, the words I’ve tried so desperately to swallow back were rising and there was no stopping them. I looked up at Dani and between sobs said, “It wasn’t my fault.”

 Those four words that I’ve tried so hard to never admit were finally said and it was finally real. Dani and Becca sat beside me, of on that front porch of the apartment that was once the crime scene of my rape, and we cried. They both cried for me and I cried for what was done to me. Admitting it wasn’t my fault was a lot. I didn’t know how to feel about everything, it was like a punch in the stomach but a weight lifted. I felt better to have said it but was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. It was good and it was bad…. it was the cold brutal truth. 

It wasn’t my fault. Accepting that I was powerless, that I was traumatized, that I was held down against my will and raped, this is recovery. Accepting it wasn’t my fault is healing. 

Progress, Broken Dishes & Letting Go: this is healing

These past two weeks have been difficult, therapy is a lot and EMDR leaves you exhausted mentally and physically. Luckily I have an amazing therapist and a really great support group that I know I can count on. 

I dove into therapy full on, I told my therapist I want to try everything to move on from this. She told me that it will be hard, but she will work with me and push me to go further. However when I say we need to stop, we stop. I’m grateful that she listens to me and when I get too overwhelmed we can stop. Diving into EMDR full on is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Replaying what Cameron did to me over and over really has taken a toll on me. 

I have been pushing myself and it’s hard, it’s really hard… I usually don’t react to what goes on in therapy not really. I have a tendency of holding everything in and pretending like I’m fine. I’ve learned this week that doing that causes more damage than good. Swallowing all of the anger and hurt from what Cameron did to me causes it to boil over and explode which usually leads to a not so good spiraling episode. 

My best friend Chris decided to stay with me for the past couple of weeks. She has been amazing through all of this, therapy leaves me in a weird headspace and I tend to have horrible panic attacks afterwards. (My therapist is working on grounding excercises as well with me) Chris asks a lot about the flashbacks and nightmares I have, but I never want to talk about it. She was raped by her uncle when she was 15. She has been there for me from the beginning and I will always be so grateful to have her in my life. She knows how difficult all of this is and has reminded me time and time again that she is there to listen, I just can’t seem to let myself talk about it. 
Today I kinda lost it, I have been so angry about what Cameron did to me. It makes me furious that he chose to rape me. He chose to hold me down and do what he wanted. He chose to ignore my pleas. He chose to rape Lindsey not long after he did the same to me. It was his choice, I never got a choice and I hate him with everything in me for that. Work was stressful as always and I have been so snappy with everyone lately, during dinner Chris asked me to hand her a plate and I just lost it. She wasn’t trying to be snarky but I got upset by what she said. (Obviously I wasn’t okay… I mean who gets pissed off over someone asking for a fucking plate?!) 

I threw the plate and then just stood there staring at her and the floor with shards of porcelain scattered everywhere. It felt good to break it… and so I grabbed another one threw it down, and then another one and another one. Chris didn’t say anything, she just joined in and we threw plates and glasses and bowls until the sound of glass breaking was music to our ears. And then when I ran out of plates (in that cabinet thank god I didn’t go too crazy and break the rest of the dishes that remained ) I just began to sob. 

I fell to the floor and cried, Chris hugged me and told me to just let it out.. let go of it all. I sobbed and sobbed and then I screamed to top of my lungs. Chris joined me and screamed right with me. I began telling her how I begged him to stop and he wouldn’t. I told her that about how I cried and he looked me in the eye just once and refused to make contact with me for the remainder of the rape. The fact that he couldn’t look at me, makes me so fucking angry, it’s like he knew what he was doing was wrong but did it anyways. He couldn’t bother looking me in the eye while he got what he wanted, it was like I was nothing to him. I kicked the cabinet and cried some more. We sat there with broken dishes surrounding us, Chris just hugged me close and cried with me. 

I felt so much better afterwards, even with a hoarse voice from all the screaming and red puffy eyes from all the crying, I felt like a weight was lifted. I knew I could do this… I knew then I could work through what was done to me and be okay again one day. Chris and I cleaned up all the glass and then went out to buy new dishes. 

I realized tonight bottling up all my emotions from therapy does nothing but causes more damage in the long run (and a lot of broken dishes). For the first time in a long time I lay here in bed with Chris asleep next to me and I feel safe. I’m not afraid. Typically nights are the worst and I always go to sleep terrified that Cameron will find me, break into my room and rape me again… tonight I lay here and I know I am safe. I know Cameron is miles away, the front door and my bedroom door is locked, and my stainless steel baseball bat is beside my nightstand. I know Chris is asleep beside of me and my roommate is in the basement. I know that no one is lurking in the shadows and that the worst thing that could ever happen to me, already has. I know that I am okay, I am going to be okay, and that I am safe. 

And this is progress, this is healing. 

I should’ve been the last: Taking My Life Back After Rape

Yesterday, I found out that Lindsey (the girl Cameron raped after me) tried to take her own life. She took a bottle of aspirin and left a suicide note apologizing for what she did and explaining that she couldn’t live with “this anymore”. She mentioned my name in the suicide note and stated that she could never forgive me. She hoped that I rot in hell for what I did as well as what he did without naming whom “he” was. I found out about all of this from one of her friends who called me hysterically crying telling me it was my fault. 

She still blames me for her rape and I  honestly can say I do not blame her for doing so. I am not sure if I was the first person Cameron raped, but I do know I should’ve been the last. I should’ve reported him and sent that bastard to jail for what he did. I should’ve made it known what he is and what he did, but I didn’t and that is one regret I have to live with for the rest of my life. 

I have tried reaching out to her prior to this incident but she refused to talk about it. She told me the last time we spoke that it was my fault and if I would’ve done something when it happened to me it never would’ve happened to her. She was 17 when it happened, she found out she was pregnant from him and had asked me if I would go with her to get an abortion. I agreed and after that she refused to speak about it. She kept telling me she had to move on from it and she wasn’t going to be like me and let it ruin her life. She moved 4 hours away from our hometown shortly after, she blocked me from all social media outlets and I haven’t heard anything from her since. 

I wish I could’ve been there for her and tried to talk her out of attempting to take her own life. I wish I could’ve helped her but you can’t help those who don’t want it. She’s going to be okay… as okay as you can be from a suicide attempt I guess. I hate myself so much for not reporting him and for not preventing all of this.  I wish I could take it back, take back that night I was raped and chose not to do anything. I wish I could go back to that night and called the cops after Cameron left, I wished I wouldn’t have gotten in the shower immediately afterwards and tried so hard to scrub his fingerprints off of me. I wish I wouldn’t have washed all of the evidence down the drain. I wish I wouldn’t have ever gone out to dinner with that fucking bastard. I wish I would’ve done a lot of things differently. 

Wishing doesn’t do anything now though, does it?  I could close my eyes and make a wish on every birthday candle, every wishbone, every eye lash that falls, every shooting star, that none of this would’ve happened. I could wish that Cameron wouldn’t have done what he did and that I should’ve done more but no amount of wishing changes the past. No amount of wishes fixes what’s been done. 

Lindsey shouldn’t have to go through this, she never should’ve been raped. She didn’t deserve any of this… I didn’t deserve any of this. No one deserves any of this. When I heard what had happened I didn’t know what to say but sorry. I just kept telling her friend I was so sorry. I broke down yesterday and bawled my eyes out about the whole ordeal. I cried and cried until I couldn’t cry anymore, until I was out of tears and out of breath. My head throbbed from the sobs and my eyes were red and raw from all tears. 

I couldn’t cry anymore and it was like something in me just sorta snapped. I realized that I could feel bad, I could blame myself and hold onto all of this hatred as tight as I can, but it doesn’t change anything. I can go over all of the what ifs and the should’ve, would’ve, could’ves until I’m blue in the face but it doesn’t do anything. Regrets don’t solve anything. Anger doesn’t make it better. Hatred doesn’t ease the pain. Beating myself up about what happened to Lindsey doesn’t help her. So what is the point?!! What is the point in being so furious and so upset?!? I am wasting so much time obsessing over what was done and I’m tired of it. 

I’m so incredibly tired of beating myself up, of laying awake at night wishing I would’ve done more. Of replaying that night over and over again in my head trying to think of new ways I could’ve prevented it. And so from now on I’m not. I’m not going to give Cameron more of my life. I’m not going to allow him to continue to take from me. He took my choice, my trust, my security, my faith, my dignity, my voice. He took so much from me and he keeps taking even a year and 7 months later he continues to rob me of so much, and I am so fucking done with it! I will no longer allow him to rob me of anything else! 

From this point forward I am fighting back, I am going to get my life back! I am going to dive into therapy full on, (lately I’ve just been testing the waters dipping my toes in afraid to dive completely in) I am going to work on moving on from this. I am going to let my voice be heard, I’m no longer going to shy away from talking about what he did to me. I am going to do whatever it takes to be okay again, to be happy and to get my life back. I turn 22 tomorrow and I have decided this will be the year of McKenzie, I am going to embrace life and do everything I ever wanted to do. I am going to fight back and not allow Cameron to ruin my life anymore. I know it won’t be easy, I know I will have bad days and I know it will hard as hell but I’m determined to do this. I don’t want to waste anymore time mourning the loss of who I once was before he raped me. I want to find the person I am now and find happiness again. I want to be okay and I will be…one day. 

Spiraling, Bad News, & An Intervention: The Cycle of Hell 

This week was a bit chaotic to say the least, I received some bad news, pissed off an entire congregation, spiraled a bit, had an intervention and a very intense, exhausting therapy session. 

I received a phone call from my mother I knew before she even said anything that it was bad news. My mother never calls me, she informed me that she is dying. She was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure, the doctors told her there’s not much they can do other than a possible transplant. The outlook is not very good and so that’s happening. I honestly did not expect for it to really affect me like it did, my mother and I do not have the best relationship. She wanted me to come down for Easter and reminded me that I was the “strong one” of the family and my sisters desperately needed me to be that person for them. It’s ironic really, I am anything but the strong one, I do not cope well with bad news. I spiral and I break far too easily. I maybe able to mask my weakness with a smile but I am not strong. My parents always thought of me as the strong one growing up just because I was good at pretending that everything was just fine, I don’t know how they haven’t realized how horrible I am with things like this. I always fake it and then I spiral and it gets bad. I really did not know what to say to her other than I would be there. So I prepared myself the best I could broke out the fake happy, peppy McKenzie and went overboard with pretending like everything was fine. I wasn’t taking the news very well, but I smiled anyways. 

I fell back onto my faithful companion of alcohol this past week after my mothers bad news. I couldn’t deal with everything sober and certainly could not keep up the facade of being totally fine. I went down to my parents prepared with a bottle of vodka in my passenger seat and a flask in my purse. Obviously this was a recipe for disaster. My mother insisted I attend Sunday Service even though she knows I do not practice this religion anymore. This led to the entire church judging me and the sermon some how being turned into a lecture about how some children of God have strayed far away from what they were brought up in. 

He then continued and preached about how God will try to punish those who have strayed away, may that be by causing bad things to happen to them or whatever. He stared at me while saying all of this and then said the most fucked up thing ever. “God will try to break you down for you to see your wrong doing and encourage you to turn to him. He will do whatever it takes to waken you and bring you back to him, he may even go as far as causing you to be raped in order for you to turn back to God. Everything that happens to you is Gods way, you deserve all that you get.” I honestly could not believe what he said, and couldn’t help but feel disgusted with this nonsense, the congregation agreed with him with Amens coming from various pews. I stood up and looked dead at this guy and told him he was wrong, so incredibly wrong. I told him no one deserves to be raped and for him to be a suppose preacher and say that, is complete bullshit. And then I marched myself right out of that church with everyone staring at me. I couldn’t believe he would say this and I couldn’t believe that these people actually agreed with him! I opened my flask and downed the vodka while waiting for the service to end. 

My parents and sisters did not take my reaction to the pastors sermon very well and of course I was the one in the wrong. Easter dinner resulted in my mother and father yelling at me, reminding me how disappointed they are with me and how I’m ruining their lives apparently. I didn’t really have much to say, there was no reason in arguing with them and I planned to leave once they were finished so I didn’t really care. I figured things couldn’t get much worse but I was wrong. My mother noticed the bandaid on my arm and of course she had to know what happened which resulted in her holding my arm down while my sister ripped it off and then my mom flipping out because of the self harm cuts. My father told me I needed to grow up and if I wanted to kill myself so badly I should just go ahead and do it. I left after that and of course was not in the best head space. 

I returned to my apartment two hours away where I consumed a great deal of alcohol and kinda went off the deep end with a carving knife.  My best friend Chris showed up and flipped out when she saw what I had done, my arms were a bloody mess and I fucked up majorly. She helped cleaned up the blood and tried to attend to the wounds which were pretty bad. She stayed with me that night and the next day decided I was in need of an intervention. So Chris, Justice and my (complicated) boyfriend Adam sat down with me and we had this huge discussion about how I am spiraling and I need people to fall back on. They wanted to be my people, I really did not want anyone else in my life. All I seem to do is disappoint everyone and I really did not want to bring anyone else into this mess called my life. Chris told me I needed to either allow them to be there for me and count on them to be the ones to go to when things get bad or I wasn’t going to get any better. She told me I had to have people to help me get through all of this and I just needed to trust them. I reluctantly agreed and so now I have people so that’s a thing. 

They ended up staying with me that night and we now have this agreement that one of them will be there at my apartment on Tuesdays, so I have someone in case therapy is too much like it was last week. I also made an agreement with them that I will contact them if I begin to spiral and I won’t do anything drastic before they get there. So that’s a thing. 

I went to therapy yesterday where we did more EMDR and it was rough. They don’t tell you just how much of a toll EMDR will have on you. My therapist insisted we go back to that night I was raped and relive the experience once more. We didn’t get far into the session before I freaked out and panicked. I couldn’t deal with all of it, it was a bit too much and I began clawing at my arm to bring me out of the intense flashback I was having. My therapist grabbed my arms and tried to ground me. Once the flashback was over I lost it. I completely broke down, I began sobbing about everything it was a lot and I just couldn’t keep it together anymore. My therapist asked to see my arms and so I reluctantly showed her them, she grew concerned for they looked a bit bad. I assured her everything was fine but she made me sign a contract stating that if I harmed myself I would contact her immediately just in case. So that’s a thing. 

I feel as though I am stuck in an endless cycle of pure hell with nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks. I can’t seem to move forward from everything, my therapist however keeps reassuring me that I am just in the middle of the tunnel to recovery and it will take time before I see any improvement. I can’t help but have my doubts that I will never get over this. I want to be able to be okay again and not think about what Cameron did every second of every day. I feel like I’m getting worse than better, it just seems a bit hopeless right now. I know I have to just keep keeping on and things will eventually be okay but it’s a lot. This week was just a lot. 

EMDR Therapy, Flashbacks & Panic Attacks: This is the hard part 

“There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually, you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And everyday when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day, it’s the second.”
This week was rough, I’m not going to lie it was a really hard week. I went to therapy yesterday and we talked about the nightmares I’ve been having about Cameron (nothing new, the same ones that have been haunting me since that night). My therapist decided we would try EMDR again, we stopped a few weeks ago to give me a bit of a break since it is very intense. This time she had me hold these two buzzers in each of my hands that would alternate. We began the EMDR and she had me think back to that night and picture Cameron’s face. 

The night that Cameron raped me, he made eye contact with me for a split second when he first began. He looked at me when I whimpered “please don’t”, it was the only time during the rape we would make eye contact, he closed his eyes afterwards. His eyes were so blue, I knew then I would forever have a hate for blue eyed boys.  I will never forget the look on his face when he looked at me in that moment, he looked almost ashamed of what he was about to do and then he just continued. 

The flashback brought me right back there, that night in my bed Cameron raping me. I couldn’t make it stop and I began panicking. It was intense, I just couldn’t deal. The flashback subsided and I dropped the buzzers, my therapist moved closer to me and placed them back in my hand she told me to describe what I saw. I told her I couldn’t do this, it was too much. But she persisted. So I recalled his eyes, his face, the smell of the cigarettes on his breath. She told me she wanted me to continued, and so I again went right back to that night. The flashback was just as grueling and worse the second time around. I couldn’t ground myself and subconsciously began clawing at my wrist (which was bandaged from a couple of days prior where I burned myself to ground during a flashback. I know I shouldn’t be inflicting wounds onto myself but it’s been a rough week and I can’t seem to ground myself during flashbacks.) 

My therapist put her hand over my bandage wrist and began talking to me, the flashback slowly ended and she asked me how long I’ve been self harming. I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about in which she responded “McKenzie, I have been doing this long enough to know when someone is self harming. You started clawing at your arm during the flashback. You have to be honest with me for this to work.” And so I told her the truth about my self harm and then had a panic attack. 

After finally calming down from the panic attack she wanted me to tell her more about the night with Cameron. I just wanted the therapy session to be over. We discussed Cameron for a bit and then we did some more grounding excercises to calm me. She then wanted to make sure I was safe to go home and I assured her I was. 

I had my (complicated) boyfriend Adam drive me to therapy yesterday and pick me up since my car was in the shop. Thankfully he was the one driving me home because I was wreck. We only got five minutes down the road before I began having a panic attack and told him to pull over, I puked my guts out and then went home to sleep because I was insanely exhausted.

 I woke up a few hours later to a lovely nightmare that of course led to a flashback.  I couldn’t stop the flashback no matter what I tried, I ended up taking a pair of scissors to my wrist slicing open more wounds. The flashback subsided from the self inflictions. I then had a panic attack from all of the blood which was just terrible. I finally calmed down cleaned up the cuts and decided I would go crash at my friends house since obviously I wasn’t in the best head space. 

It was a very grueling and exhausting day. I really hope this EMDR therapy actually works because it’s hell. I just want the flashbacks and panic attacks to stop. I just want this part of the pain to end. I want to wake up and not think about the night I was raped. I know I just began the EMDR and I know it’s going to take a while for it to start working and desensitize me from the rape, but I just don’t know how much more of it I can handle. It takes a toll on my body and makes me so fucking exhausted every time. I am just ready to be over the hard part. 

Why did he have to rape me? 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what causes someone to become a rapist. Why do rapists rape? Did someone once take their voice away and now they choose to do the same? Is it the sense of empowerment they gain from forcing themselves upon someone? Is it just because they were never taught no? Did their parents forget to teach them that you are not to take what doesn’t belong to you? Is it just because they can? 

I wonder why Cameron chose to do what he did. Why he chose to ignore my pleas and cries and continue to do what he wanted. Why he did the same thing to another girl a few months after doing it to me. I wonder if he ever lays awake at night disgusted with what he’s done. I wonder if he’s ever prayed to God to forgive him for such a horrible crime. I wonder if he will ever be sorry for what he did to me. I wonder why he couldn’t have just killed me instead, why he didn’t just slit my throat and left me there to die. 

I wish I could just ask him why he did what he did. I don’t know if I knew the answers to the questions if it would actually resolve anything. I don’t know if I would feel better and would  be able to get over all of this faster or not… I honestly don’t know if it would do any good. I just can’t help but crave the answer so badly. 

This past week I have been told countless times how much I have changed since last year. Apparently everyone is concerned that I’m becoming distant and they are worried because “I’m just not like how I used to be.” My old friends have informed me they feel as if they have lost the old McKenzie, that the old me is dead and they miss how happy I used to be, how outgoing and bubbly I once was. They wish I was like I used to be, they wish I could just move on from all of this and be okay again. 

Everyone is right I guess, I have changed a lot since last year. I am no longer that happy, peppy, excited person I used to be. That long haired blonde beauty who wore the cross around her neck religiously is dead. She died last year after Cameron took what he wanted from her on that warm September night. I’m no longer that oh so trusting, naive girl I once was. I no longer believe that everyone is good in the world or that everyone deserves forgiveness. I have become this cynical, pissed the fuck off at the universe, empty person. I don’t believe in God or myself anymore. I chopped off all of my hair and dyed it every color imaginable, refusing to resemble that girl Cameron was so into that he couldn’t control himself. I have changed everything about me. 

I wish to god I could get the fuck over this and move on with my life. I wish I could forget it ever happened and be okay again. I wish it was easier to just move on from being raped. I wish I could just be fucking okay again god how I wish I could be fucking normal again! 

I want to feel something other than this agonizing self hatred that is rotting away at me at the core. I hate myself so much for putting myself in the situation to get raped to begin with. I hate myself for not doing more to stop it. I hate myself for not reporting him after it happened. I hate myself for allowing him to walk free and do it again to another girl. I hate myself so fucking much it’s almost unbearable. 

I guess I’m just feeling really shitty this week is all. I can’t get Cameron’s image out of my head, I can’t stop thinking about all of the would’ve, could’ve, should’ves of that night. I can’t stop obsessing over the night of the rape. I can’t stop blaming myself and beating myself up about it.