As though waking up early and driving around all day is not exhausting enough, I listened to a conversation that really crushed me. I lay down to take a break and get some time to myself amongst all the craziness. In-between scrolling through my phone, I could hear the loud voices of my gran with my aunts speaking to my sixteen year old cousin. Her previous workplace had a bad reputation and they were giving advice with the best intentions, I suppose. They were telling her to be careful and cautious with men. They told her not to even let anyone kiss her, because then they will think that they can take whatever they want. She emphasised that there was no one that she wanted to kiss and that she knows all these dangers, even telling my gran that you can get herpes from kissing which was amusing, yet showed her maturity. I think that she has a better knowledge than I ever could have. For all the sex education they give you, they never mention psychological consequences. No one had these conversations with me. STIs are easily treated. I am glad that they spoke to her, but a part of me wishes that I did not have to hear. They told her that if she was not careful, that if something was to happen against her will, she would be damaged for life.
This is what has been ringing in my head ever since. Those words. Damaged for life. I keep thinking, is that what I am? Is that why I am like this? Does everything always come back to that moment? The most painful moment of my entire existence. The one that I wish I could forget, but that I instead relive when I close my eyes and fail to find sleep. Am I damaged goods? I thought time was supposed to heal. I hear it though. I hear all the judgements and thoughts that people have. They are beginning to become a reality. I think that this is for life. I think that this is a curse.
I fight it. I fight it everyday. Every time I stand up to face a world that has been so cruel. Every time I walk back into a home that never gave me a love I deserved. Every time that I am blamed. That I am told it is my fault. That I bring it on myself. That I am attention seeking. I fight. I get back up and I try again. Even though I often fail, I am a human and I have accepted my existence. I am trying to make it into a life. I am trying to forgive. I am trying to end the suffering. I do not want to be those words. Damaged for life. I cannot do it. That is not who I am. I am ruined. It is all because of one person. One moment. One mistake. One kiss. I think I have paid for every sin at this point. I think that I am more than I have allowed myself to be. I hold myself back in fear. I am terrified. I cannot just put myself out there. I cannot be open. I cannot break down many of my barriers.
I know that I will never be the same person. I will never be as trusting. My entire mindset has shifted as it had every right to do. Other people really have the ability to interfere with your life. It remains yours though. Every time that you take it back, you get to decide. You get to choose. Choose to be strong. Choose to accept. Choose to forgive. Choose to pick yourself up every single time you hit bottom. Choose not to be damaged. Say to yourself I am not damaged for life. I refuse for that to be my story. I refuse to let the demons win. I choose life.