Warning: This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
I’ve always tended to blame myself for everything wrong in the world.
Someone doesn’t like me? It must be because I’m a horrible person.
The adversities I faced? I probably deserved them.
My dysfunctional family? It’s my fault for ruining them.
So when my first relationship didn’t go the way it should’ve, it’s not shocking I felt guilty.
Women and violence: The hidden numbers. Post continues after video.
I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t lovable beyond my body. I was a drunk, a slut, a disaster waiting to explode on anyone who loved me. I was a swirling hurricane of chaos and uncertainty.
But my perceptions changed because of an unlikely person — my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.
I was clocking in for my waitressing shift when she first contacted me.
My relationship with this ex (let’s call him ‘Tyler’) had ended over a year ago at this point. Naturally, I was surprised when I received a Snapchat from a girl named “Anna”, asking if I could talk. I sent her my number, tied on my apron, and began the dinner rush.
She called me as I left the restaurant a few hours later. I answered on the first ring.
As I drove home, I listened to Anna explain that Tyler cheated on her, and when she confronted him, he confessed to more than just adultery.
He admitted he struggled with a “sex addiction,” and started seeing a therapist. She knew how many girls he’d slept with during their relationship, and his tendency to manipulate people.
I rolled to a stop at a red light.
She also said, “he never explicitly told me, but I think he might’ve put stuff in your drink before.”
I froze when I heard those words, gripping the steering wheel. The light turned green. Two cars honked at me to go.
“He begged me not to tell you, but I felt like I needed to,” she said. “I’m so sorry.”
I pressed the pedal to the floor, speeding away from the inpatient cars behind me.
A few days later, I did what I do best. I wrote about my relationship with Tyler. I rearranged, edited, and stripped off the story’s passive voice. I pasted it into a new draft and searched through Unsplash for a captivating image.