drunk pretty girls


My first thought with stories of rape is to diminish mine. Not as bad, not as traumatic, not as violent, not as young, not as debilitating, not as.

Even though being raped shaped the person I am now. Being lost in my own body, my gritty truth swimming so far below the sandy shores of my smiling, isn’t-she-pretty-and-perfect face.

Being raped and my awakening happened in the same sixth months. somehow I became embodied despite losing the lower half of me for years, and years. It wasn’t the rape that did that, but the guilt that followed. the beating drum of loneliness, incessant, reminding. The fluorescents in the gynecologists office, the hpv such-a-shame-at-only-sixteen. The way my classmates bit my flesh with their disgust. what a throne they made for me, what a sash of slut and sin they wrapped around my shoulders. how dare I sleep with an older boy, how dare I say I liked it. how dare it be my friend’s older brother, how dare I be defined by anything besides being a fucking lying whore. What a teacher is despair. What degree I have in my own mutilation.

Did you see me, after? My baggy sweatshirt? My wet hair? Without makeup, sluggish, hiding in the back of the classroom? Did you see my pretty suburban girl turn sour and swallowed by a pain I could not name?

My therapist asks me why no one asked me. Somewhere a sweet innocence cries out with her, why wasn’t anyone there to protect me?

But no one wants to ask the pretty girl if she wanted to do what she did when she was drunk. And the bones of pretty girls are marrowed with a knowing that they will never believe her.

Before my truth became loud, my facade bellowed louder. I. Kept. Up. Appearances. I would take that gutted innocence and bury her deep. I would wear tainted like a badge of honor. I would be That Girl.

I could pretend I do not know where I learned to mold such armor, but I’ve sifted through too many of my own beaches to remember how to believe in sandcastles anymore.

I tell others pain cannot be measured. I say things I want so badly to believe. But just like I am magnificently whole, I am also still running on empty. My love affair with healing will last a lifetime. My entanglement with my own truth will unknot for for this entire century of me.

I have dug so far into my own sand to have only found murky water. But what a milestone that is. And so I keep swimming, because there are stretches of clear so terribly mesmerizing that I know it is worth it.