I’ve been intentionally talking about stories from the past to delay discussing the present. The present is still painful. But I know I have to talk about it. My depression started because I was raped. By being raped, I was forced to acknowledge that my fear of upsetting people and my desire to please people were destroying my life.
I wasn’t ready to join the #metoo movement when it was in the media’s attention. I admire the people who shared and am so grateful. It is because of them that I feel safe enough to share with you now. This is my contribution, and if this may trigger a painful memory or experience that you’ve had and you are not ready to empathise with someone’s pain, then I understand. Please close this tab. I have been there, I have felt that wave of anxiety whenever anyone says the word “rape”, especially people who talk about it confidently like it is no big deal never having experienced it. If they had experienced it, or ever been shared with how it feels to be raped, they would know not to throw that word around in conversation. Every time I hear that word, I feel a shudder down my whole body, I feel a knot in my throat, I feel adrenaline release, I feel anxious and under threat just like I did when I was raped. That word triggers my memory, and it is happening all over again.
For you to understand what has happened to me and why it has had such a profound impact on my life, you need to know the backstory. It doesn’t start when I met the person who would rape me, it starts with the guy I slept with before. It starts with Adam.
I really liked Adam.We’d gone on a few dates and been having a lot of fun together. We hadn’t spoken about feelings yet, and I was okay with that. I was unemployed and living in a closet. My priority in life wasn’t to get a boyfriend, my priority was to get a job. I wrote poems about him because that is how I process my thoughts and feelings, and I trusted him enough to share them with him. He thought that was me falling in love with him, but instead of asking me if that was the case, he decided to ghost me.
When he didn’t message me to make further plans, I assumed that he was just busy and that he would get in touch when he was ready. It had been casual, anyway. I thought we both knew that.
One of my friends told me that he had heard that Adam had ghosted me. He laughed as he told me. I remember this feeling, like being punched in the chest. Instead of sharing how I felt, I immediately left.
I went home and my head was filled with words. I couldn’t sleep so I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote 4,000 words, which I edited to 400. And then I published it. “Sammy Says: Fuck Ghosting.” In the blog post I shared how I was not going to put up with this kind of behavior quietly, and how if I was ghosted, I would write a short story about that person and publish it on my blog. Even though they may want to invalidate our time together, I didn’t and I wouldn’t. I would use words to preserve our relationship, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I then messaged Adam saying, “Thanks for ghosting me. LOLs.” and clarified that I was only looking for fun. He responded saying that he, “really wasn’t trying to be rude, just genuinely have been quite busy and avoid confrontation at all costs ahha… and no awkwardness here if we run into each other. Genuinely had fun hanging out.”
I didn’t respond because what I wanted to say was, “Well, it’s going to be awkward on my side. And also, you should know, you were too egotistical, materialistic, and pleasure-seeking to ever be good enough to be my boyfriend. You are still acting like an asshole.” But instead, I didn’t, as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Instead, I kept silent.
Six weeks later, one of his friends sent the post to him, and for some reason, he decided to message me. Why he thought I would still care about him was beyond me, but he still sought the validation and apology that he had denied me. I mean I did call him an asshole at the end of the blog post… and no one likes to be called an asshole. Not everyone is Allen Ginsberg and thinks assholes are holy.
Adam tried to invalidate what I said, saying that “one of his friends” thought that it was very problematic to say “you owe me two orgasms”. This I responded to by saying that “owing” was meant to be creepy on purpose, and that I was literally quoting a man who had said it to me after I’d spent 40 minutes giving him a hand job and he didn’t even make me orgasm once. That man also ghosted me.
He also tried to say that he had not actually ghosted me. As ghosted isn’t a real word, but an urban word, that really didn’t work as an argument. Although, to prevent invalidation of my experience of ghosting, here is my definition:
(Verb) To intentionally avoid speaking/responding to someone when you know that what you will say will disappoint them, unintentionally causing negative emotions in that person and often damaging the trust that has been built within that relationship. SLiterary Pixie Dictionary
I gave him an apology, but not the one he wanted. I didn’t apologize for calling him an asshole, but I did apologize for freaking him out. Later I realized that that was exactly what I wanted to happen. I wanted to upset him because he upset me. I didn’t value my own thoughts yet. Little did I know the impact his invalidation of our relationship and my response would have on my life.
Read the next post, “The Definition of an Asshole”
Check out the rest of the blog posts from how to value your own thoughts.