To the one who ruined my innocence:
I was 12, and you were older than me.
I remember the stolen glances from across the room.
I remember the butterflies in my stomach.
I remember the adrenaline that coursed through my veins each time I saw you.
I was 12, and I was enthralled by the idea that you, an older boy, would show such vested interest in a girl like me.
I remember the first time we held hands; I swore I felt sparks when you first touched me.
I said I wanted to wait for the perfect moment to have my first kiss- I was 12 after all.
I remember your assurances that my wishes would be respected.
I was 12, and I remember the sexual jokes that you began telling me; I laughed, even though I didn’t think they were funny.
I turned 13, and the butterflies in my stomach were no longer butterflies- they were moths.
I remember being driven by the overwhelming fear that you would one day leave me.
So, I let you guide me into the uncharted territory of sexually oriented text messages.
And despite my guilt and my shame, your actions felt justified to me.
You were my boyfriend, and I was your girlfriend.
You were older than me, and therefore you were right.
You told me you loved me. And that was what I needed.
I was 13. The moths in my stomach had turned to mosquitoes, bloodthirsty for affection.
When you had a bad day, you made me feel as if I were a bad girlfriend.
You doubted my love for you by criticizing everything I wouldn’t do to please you.
You ridiculed my dream of a perfect first kiss by forcing your lips upon mine on that dreadful summer day.
You destroyed my once firm sense of assertiveness, because when I said “No”, you shot me down and forced me to touch you in ways that nauseated me.
I sobbed my heart out after that.
From that moment on, it was over. You and I were over.
When you called me, crying that you missed me, my heart ached, hoping for some sort of apology from you. But my mind knew better. And the apology never came.
I remember my paranoia afterwards, the shivers down my spine at the sound of your name, the knot in my stomach from the smell of your cologne, the weight of my guilty heart at the thought of your actions.
I am 18, and I am finally myself again.
I am assertive. I am strong. I am beautiful.
I am no longer a slave to guilt or fear or shame. And I am no longer a slave to you.
If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, text LOVEIS to 22522, call 1-866-331-9474, or go to http://www.loveisrespect.org/.
If you have been sexually assaulted and you need support, information, or advice, go to https://hotline.rainn.org/ to chat with a trained staff member.
If you are in a crisis, text HOME to 741741.