Trigger warning: sexual assault, rape, self harm
There is never an easy point in any relationship to tell someone you've been raped. I remember sitting on a park bench under a blue sky in Brighton as I said it out loud to a friend for the first time. I remember sitting on the floor opposite a girl with a smile like all the colours of the rainbow, and standing up before she could kiss me. I remember the deep breaths before holding back tears as I told my mum, and she said we were always so careful when you were growing up as if it was her fault, and not his.
I don't remember the man who did it, I don't remember much really. Just that I didn't know for a long time, and that I was always triggered without knowing what being triggered was, and that even now that I know sometimes I wish that I didn't. I keep remembering more and more and more and more and more. And memories are often by touch. So when I liked this girl with this rainbow smile I pulled away, couldn't trust her to touch me, even though I wanted her to.
I've been asexual for most of my life, so when I started being attracted to people last year it was all a bit weird for me. And I've dated a fair few people in the past year, and that's always okay, but it becomes scary when I start to like a person, because then I don't really know what to do. Because if they like me back, it's usually impossible to let them know that things aren't okay without coming across as if I don't like them... either that, or handing them a huge truth about myself. How many dates does it take without kissing someone for them to think you're not interested? How many dates without kissing someone before you tell them you have a history of sexual assault, and talking about it is the only way you'll be able to continue spending time together like this?
Every guide on dating that seems to exist says keep it light the first few dates. But what if they try to kiss you, and your head becomes thick with pain, and you always pull away? There is no way to keep that light. And I'm always worried about hurting them, or losing them, or both. I have to really trust someone before they can kiss me, but in order to trust them I need to know they care. A few dates is usually too soon to care, and any further than that is the point of no longer being interested and everything is so complicated when touch is so difficult.
Sometimes I sit in my room, and it's sad as hell, but I write poetry about all the things that could have been different if I was normal and not like this. This word normal has haunted me my whole life. It's not normal to have short hair, it's not normal to like girls, it's not normal to cut yourself when everything seems fine on the outside. I hate the word normal.
I keep secrets inside of me like birds in cages, but I'm fed up of hiding. So I write. This blog is not a safe space. Anyone could read it, anyone could comment, anyone can read everything that makes me most vulnerable. But that's okay, because I'm a person, and I'm not normal, and this is my truth, and I'd rather share it than have it eat me up under layers of clothes. This is scary. But it will be okay, because nobody is normal, and we all have birds inside of us. And knowing that makes the world feel okay.