Month: December 2015

Grateful

December has begun, thus ends November, the Month of Thanks.

But, as usual, I’m a little slow on the uptake of trendy things.

Here is a short and definitely not complete list of the things I am grateful for. In honor of the passing of November:

I am grateful for my mother, who has instilled in me a strong sense of independence and resilience.

I am grateful for my father, who has taught me how to enjoy the small things in life and how to make incredibly strong friendships by being 100% unapologetically who I am.

I am grateful for my sister, who reminds me to stay disciplined and who, at every turn of her life, is an inspiration to me.

I am grateful for my brother, who has taught me that moving away from home, although tough, can be so worth it. He has shown me that being far away doesn’t mean you are forgotten.

I am grateful for my sorority. A large group of women who Give No Fucks and who love me and embrace me as the woman I am, not the woman they wish I were. They were my only support at school when I came back from Spain, broken and afraid.

I am grateful for my amazing support system in the people I live with in DC.  I somehow managed to move in with some of the greatest humans in the world. They teach me every day to stand up for myself. They show me that I am worth love. They make me feel safe.

I am incredibly grateful for that shitty fellowship program I moved to DC for. I learned soooo much about myself and what I will/won’t stand for. Even though the program was straight bullshit, it brought me to DC. It brought me my non-housemate best friend in DC and she rocks my world.

I am grateful for my job that brings me so much joy. And the coworkers at that job that feed my joy with their amazing selves.

I am grateful for DC’s beautiful Crime Victim’s Compensation program that reimbursed me for the clothes I had to give to the forensic team and that is providing me with 24 free therapy sessions at the DC Rape Crisis Center.

I am grateful as fuck for all of the support I have in my life. Without the amazing people I am lucky to be surrounded by, I would not be nearly as resilient. Having the ability to embrace life after trauma is directly related to all the people and things I am grateful for. I can bounce back because all of these people have taught me that I can bounce back. That life is absolutely worth living.

I am grateful for the knowledge that even though the world isn’t safe, it is beautiful. That even though I must be cautious, I needn’t be afraid. And I am grateful for my little wins that I am experiencing each day. My little wins that tell me my therapy is helping, that I am learning to love myself and take no shit.

I am grateful for the word “no” and my new found ability to use it.

I am grateful for this cathartic-ass blog. And super grateful for all of you incredible people reading it. Because your encouragement keeps me going. It keeps me sharing my story.

What are you grateful for?

I Said No.

Yesterday a freaking breakthrough happened, guys.

“What does that mean?” you may be asking yourself. Well, let me tell you.

Through reading my last few posts, I’m sure you know by now that I am taking my healing into my own hands and trudging through the last eight years of bullshit in my life. I started with addressing my thoughts and emotions about losing my virginity to date rape. I am still reeling a little bit from actually experiencing the emotions I have had bottled up for years from that.

A month or so ago I posted about a boy who, incredibly kindly, told me he wasn’t interested in me any longer. I wrote about how I couldn’t be mad at him because he was just being honest and upfront with his feelings. And that was awesome. And I didn’t realize how much he taught me in just our few dates.

But yesterday. Wowie zowie, yesterday I realized what he taught me. And it was a whopper. Get ready!

Yesterday I went on a date. I had gone on one previous date with this guy this summer, then he moved for work. His job ended up not being a great fit for him so he moved back to DC… I really had lost almost all interest at this point. But he had been haranguing me for a second date, so I said “sure.” I didn’t say it because I necessarily wanted to, but mostly because I had been texting with him and felt obligated to say yes.

So we went on our date. And he was nice, albeit a bit handsy. He drove me home and was sort of hinting at further dates and/or just coming into my house to “I dunno…watch something.” And I stopped him. I looked him in the eye and told him that I thought he was a great guy and I enjoyed talking with him, but that I wasn’t interested in going on another date. I didn’t want to lead him on or do the dreaded “fade away” where I would gradually stop responding to him hoping he would just forget I existed.

I told him these things. Because I knew that being honest and upfront was the best, and because I remembered how I felt when Guy Who Dumped Me did it. And do you know what he did?

He thanked me for being honest. He thanked me for saying no.

And I went inside and didn’t feel upset or guilty. I felt happy. But that was it. I didn’t really think much of it after that.

Later, while in therapy, I told this story to my therapist. And in the middle of the story I began to cry. Huge, triumphant tears were streaming down my face as if my emotions knew my revelation before I did. And I stopped talking so I could figure out why I was crying. It didn’t take me long to grin wider than I have in so very long. Because I had realized something amazing. Yesterday I thought about my needs and I fucking said NO.

After eight years of saying “sure,” “why not,” and “okay” to men, I had finally SAID NO. I didn’t do it angrily. And he didn’t get upset. Because, oh my goodness, BECAUSE IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO!

On my therapist’s couch I was sobbing while smiling the most radiant smile, like I am right now as I remember taking the fucking wheel in my decision making. Because I said no. I created a boundary and I stuck to it.

No more will I live in the land of the “why not?” No longer will I acquiesce half-assedly with a “sure.”

Because I am going to make my own decisions about my life, about my body. I am going to take care of me. And that means thinking something is a sure-fire yes and SAYING YES or if something isn’t a sure-fire yes, saying NO. It doesn’t have to be mean, it just has to be firm.

I. Said. No.

And you can, too.