CW/TW: self harm, graphic sexual language, childhood sexuality.
When I was 11 years old, my mom moved us to Philadelphia from Cincinnati to be with my now step dad and his family. I didn’t want to go, I would be moving far away from my family and changing schools and I didn’t like my step dad. I cried the entire 9 hour drive, out of sadness and spite. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. After moving to Philly, my depression became profound. I entered what I now see as an embarrassing goth phase, and became interested in things I knew were bad. In the 6th grade, I wrote a poem about my depression, and this poem was complimented by a girl named V. V was different than any person I had ever met, she hated everything like I did, and had no friends like I did. We became best friends, spending all of our time together, complaining and thinking we were better than everyone. She was the first person I felt understood me, and the first person I ever admitted my thoughts of suicide and depression to that validated me. She showed me how to cut with a razor. I started to became interested in sexuality, and had a crush on a boy a few years older than me. I asked V if she would show me how to make out, since she had kissed a boy before. This was the start of a long and confusing sexual relationship with my best friend. Wanting to look cool and “mature” I told A (the older boy I had a crush on) that V and I made out. He said he didn’t believe me, and had V and I kiss in front of him outside. I didn’t want to, but we did anyway. Shortly after, V and I started stealing her older sister’s porn, and experimenting with each other sexually. Neither of us told a soul. I didn’t even know how to bring it up to people that I was sexually active, before I had even started my period. It was deeply confusing.
This went on for about a year or so, but one night in particular changed the course of my life. I have trouble thinking about it or talking about it to this day. V and I were at her parents lake house in Delaware for a long weekend trip. We were both naked, and I was on top of her, kissing her and playing her when she told me that she was in love with me. I froze. I was startled by this completely – love was a concept I had never delved into. I told her I loved her too, not really knowing if that was true. The next morning, I couldn’t speak. V and I sat on the floor, writing notes to each other. I told her I didn’t know what love was, and that I wasn’t sure I meant what I said. I can’t remember the notes verbatim anymore. V got up to go to the bathroom, while I continued sitting on the floor. She was gone a really long time, an incomprehensibly long time. I started panicking because she had been gone for so long, at least an hour but it’s hard to say. I decided to check on her. When I opened the bathroom door, V was on the floor, and was bleeding from her wrists. She had cut both of her wrists, and there was blood all over the bathroom tiles and her pale skin that I loved so much. I can’t remember clearly how the next events turned out, I remember desperately trying to block the wounds with hair scrunchies. I must have gotten her dad. I don’t remember anything about that day, or even leaving Delaware. V lived. She was fine. But after that, we stopped seeing each other, we didn’t sit together at lunch. I felt like I didn’t even know how to be alive anymore. Months later, we moved back to Ohio because my step dad had become addicted to heroin and our entire lives fell apart.
This story isn’t one of sexual assault or rape, but it was my first experience with sexuality and love. It shaped my entire views of my self worth and the power of sexuality. I felt like the scum of the Earth for almost killing my best friend. Shortly after moving back to Ohio, I was sexually assaulted. I felt like I deserved it and I didn’t tell anyone. I then entered a sexually, physically and deeply emotionally abusive relationship from when I was 14-19. I don’t have the energy to write about this now, and honestly I’ve made more peace with my sexual assaults than with everything that happened with V. It’s just so confusing and I was way too young to know how to process. I’ve never shared the full story with anyone.
Thanks for reading. I am in a happier place and state of mind now.