ABIDING LOVE – a letter to self
My name is Sabrina, Sabrina Everton. I’m that lovely sweet teen everyone loved to be around. That shiny new toy everybody wanted to identify with. That beautiful and bold young girl everyone wanted to be like. Well, I guess the correct verb will be “was”. For me, those days are OVER! And I have also found a new best friend: the beautiful garden full of wild flowers – Friends that don’t hurt others, friends I could identify with without feeling less of myself, friends I could hang around without feeling my world collapse before my eyes!
A month ago, I had been planning and preparing for a unique summer getaway with my friends, I call them “my crew”, but right now, what I feel is that type of emptiness that makes one feel like there is nothing left to live for. I feel like a destitute even though I have a home. I feel like every inch of self worth in me had been brutally snatched!
The signs are everywhere. Even though the semester was already being concluded at the time, the tale tale signs where all over my score sheets. Every teacher had something to say about the sudden downgrade in my performance. I had always been one of the bests in my class, the delight of every teacher. The reason am not surprised to see the comments.
I was also beginning to avoid my friends. I can’t remember the last time I had anyone over at my house. I spend every little time I have at the garden, my newly found abode. I was beginning to avoid anyone and everyone. I would always lock myself up in my room whenever I was home. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want anyone asking me questions.
My mum could tell that I was loosing myself, she knew that something was definitely off but she couldn’t wrap her head around it. At first, she had thought it was teenagehood but then, I’m fourteen, soon to be fifteen. She knew I hadn’t just been introduced to any new hormones yet, each effort to find out from me proved abortive. I didn’t want to talk to her, I couldn’t talk to her, I couldn’t confide in anyone!
The mere thought of the entire incident sent goose bumps all over my body. I have heard of people getting raped, I have read a few cases, I have heard of the effects it could have on the victim: psychologically, emotionally and even physically. I had only heard, little did I know that hearing about it wasn’t the same with actually experiencing it. Rape victims go through a lot but its worse when the rapist is someone you smile at, someone you care about, someone you welcomed into your home!
The mere thought of it brings about another bout of fresh tears. I feel so traumatized, I feel like I have been torn to shreds, I feel so shattered! I still remember rushing out to meet Joe at the restaurant. We were supposed to hang out that night. It was a Friday night and we needed all the time we could get to talk about our guitar practice. We have been friends since 3rd grade, he was the one person my mum called whenever she couldn’t reach me. He was like the son she never had, something she would always tease him with.
For someone who had known Joe for years, I was really myopic. The shock on my face when he said he loved me and wanted us to date was enough prove. I still recall standing still for seconds, short of words, lots of thoughts flying through my head. I didn’t like him, at least, not in the way he wanted. Even though I didn’t want to hurt his feelings I still spelt it out to him, of course, as politely as possible.
The look on his face the moment the words left my mouth was none I had seen all my life. I felt like I was face to face with a beast. I still feel the strong grip of his hands around my waist as he grabbed me and forced his way through. It was the most tragic moment of my life, surges of emotions skyrocketing!
I had cried throughout the time I walked home-the longest walk I have ever been on. I still remember scrubbing my body as many times as possible, hoping that the dirt I felt would just wipe away. I had sat in the bathtub for minutes, letting the shower rain on me as I cried my eyes out. The excruciating pain in my chest, the heaviness of my heart, the knob in my chest! The feeling of being betrayed and battered, especially by someone who ought to have my back was shattering. I felt like my heart was being cut into pieces.
Now that I think about it, even with the tears, even with the pain, one thing was sure: I still love myself. Even though I feel worthless, even though I feel nothing close to how I used to, I know I cannot reject myself – am stuck! I look at myself in the mirror and all I see is a broken young girl starring back at me. I can’t remember the last time I smiled!
I hear my mum pray every night, asking God to save me, to bring her daughter back to her, to save me from whatever it is that had made me shut the rest of the world out. Since the prayers, she had always given me my space, never asking her usual bunch of questions. She would always smile at me, remind me how much she loved me, and also let me know what she had left me for lunch before heading for work every morning.
For some reason, the therapy was working. I wasn’t so sure if I still belived in God right now as I used to but my mum remained strong for the both of us. I felt that inner peace gradually crawl into my life. I was beginning to see reasons to hang onto life. I was beginning to see that there are still a lot I can achieve in life. I was beginning to love my body and myself more. The feeling of dirtiness was beginning to crawl away. I, finally was able to confide in my mum.
The tears in her eyes as I told the story were enough to tell me how much she loved me, another reason to live! We both cried our eyes out. She was unable to say a word that night but the tears we both shed said more that enough. It was a brand new beginning for me. I was ready to keep my head high and soar like the eagle I am.
Note from Dera
This is the first time I was able to bring myself to write on this topic “rape”. I have tried in the past but couldn’t. For some reason, I felt that strong notion in my spirit to write on it this time. Incoperated in this brief story is a tale of the trauma almost every rape victim brooks. In it are also a few suggested self therapies(loving oneself despite everything, the talk therapy and most especially prayers)- my own suggestions. I believe it could be of help to someone. Let’s keep spreading love. Help whoever you can, however you can!