At 36-year-old, I have been with to the same man for nearly 18 years. I wasn’t a virgin when I got married at age 22. He didn’t take my virginity when we started dating at the age of 18. By the time I met the boy I would eventually marry, I had already punished myself in ways I am now coming to realize wasn’t actually punishment.
It was just me.
As a girl, I craved the attention of boys. First by chasing them on the playground, putting them in a corner, holding them down to kiss them, listening to them tell me what they wanted to do to me, putting their hands down my pants, pushing my head down into their laps, listening to him berate me for liking him yet keeping me on an imaginary leash, making out with more than one boy at a time, allowing two boys to share me, sleeping over at their houses while they left me to be with another girl, and finally, willingly going home with them from a bar then later drinking something that he may have slipped a roofie into.
I’ve learned over time that I was not a bad person. I don’t deserve the last 17+ years of negativity I’ve put into my own esteem. Not only was I a girl when I did those things, I was not wrong to do them. I could have made better decisions, but at the time, I didn’t know better.
Now I know better.
I know there is nothing wrong with me that can’t be cured by my own mind. I only need to forgive myself for my own reactions, and not the actions of me as a girl searching to find who she is.
I love her and in some ways I’m jealous of her freedom. But going back is not an option.
I can now move forward to save my own daughters and hopefully help others to be mindful of their own children.
I can save them from being broken like I was.
I was manipulated, and I let it happen. Yes, I was only a teenager, but I still let it happen.
I was weak.
Luckily, I’m stronger now that it’s been nearly 18 years.
You see, there was this boy. He never physical harmed me, but the mind-fuck games were longer lasting.
I was 15 when it started.
He would kiss me.
He would touch me.
He would tell me I wasn’t his girlfriend.
He wouldn’t kiss me if other people were around.
He didn’t want me around when other girls were.
He would laugh at me when I cried.
He would say he was coming to see me at my house and then didn’t.
He would tell me to come to his house and then not be there.
He would tell me he liked my friends.
He would tell me he wanted my sister.
He would tell me I was stupid.
He would tell me I was gullible.
He would pinch the fat on my near-anorexic hips.
He would tell me he wanted a girlfriend with a flatter stomach.
He left for two weeks to visit family, promising to call but never did.
He came back and told me he gave up his virginity to his cousin.
So I gave him mine to keep his attention.
A year later, he laughed in my face and told me how stupid I was for believing him when he told me he had slept with his cousin.
A year after that, he called me to his dorm room, paid me the attention I wanted on the floor of his living room, then told me to leave.
That was the last time I saw him.
I was 18.
And then, a different boy saved me. He, my husband, has loved me. He has loved me longer than I have loved him, but only by a few weeks. He still likes to hold that over me, always teasing.
He hates him for the mess of me he left for him to save.
18 years later, and I still cry over the mind games, even though he no longer has any power over me. He had power over the girl I was.
While I am no longer that beautiful girl, I am no longer broken
My parents did nothing wrong; I was who I was. I don’t blame them for any of that. I thank them for allowing me to figure things out on my own.
I will do everything in my power to protect my daughters from boys like him. I need to show them that his kind of attention won’t be needed.
Angie Lynch is the founder and managing editor of the powerhouse women’s literary community, Smut Book Club. She is a Native Floridian without a tan, probably because she spends her days hard at work on the magical internet. For the past several years, Angie has worked way too hard at building clout as an influencer in food and margaritas as well as being a source for laughable pop culture commentary. You can read more from Angie on her blog, A Whole Lot of Nothing.
This post was originally published on my personal blog over the course of two days: Just Where Do I Get Off & Lock Up Your Daughters And Put The Fear Of Castration In Your Sons. I received a lot of positive feedback from my family and friends which I honestly wasn’t expecting. In sharing my story, I hope your sons and daughters are given just a bit more of the attention they need rather than the misguided attention they crave.
image credit Angie Lynch