Updated: Jan 28, 2020
Prompt by HerStory Blog:
Bodies are a funny thing. Everyone has one and yet, they are so politicized. Especially women's bodies. Not to mention sexualized. During the month of January, we are collecting stories about bodies. How you feel about your body, why you love your body, or maybe how you don't love it yet but are working on it. Whatever your view on body image we want to read about it.
A true story inspired by my poems: “Playboy,” “My Body,” and “Bad Intentions.”
A January night I will never forget, a terrible situation grained into my mind forever. As I sit here and think back to that awful time, I wonder how I missed all the signs that things would take a turn for the worse. I wonder how we ended up where we did. I was suddenly terrified of my supposed-to-be gentle and kind boyfriend. Unfortunately, he had fooled my entire family, friends, and me for months – the truth was finally showing its ugly head and I wasn’t ready, at all. But I am getting ahead of myself, I need to tell you the full truth, the entire story behind why I hated my body for so long.
January 1, 2019
It is New Year’s morning, I am content lying beside him in bed in his cozy apartment. I am happy. Then, a question pops into my head and I can’t shake it. Rolling it over a few times, I finally decided to ask Jackson, my boyfriend of two weeks. While we are cuddling, his arms around me, I am safe, but my question is looming. I slightly looked up at him and say, “How long have you wanted to get me in your bed?”
“Since my birthday.”
“Which was a month ago today. You liked me when we went out for lunch for your birthday, It wasn’t just me who was nervous that day?”
“I still liked you, Emily.”
I smile, then another alarming question pops into my head. One I shouldn’t ask, but I blurt it out anyway. “How many girls have you been with before me?”
Without hesitation, he casually says, “12.”
“Oh.” In my head, I’m thinking, I didn’t expect this from him. He doesn't seem like the type.
I desperately want to change the subject, “So. What do you think about me going to the gym?”
“I think it is great,” he says, “but I don’t want you to lose too much weight. I don’t want you to cut your hair too short either, I like it long.”
“On the weight, I don’t know how much I want to lose or will lose. With my hair, I am never going to go too short because I can’t pull that off.”
He refers to something about my weight and most likely my curves then say, “I want you to keep your hair short, so I can tangle my fingers in it.” He plays with my hair as he finishes his sentence.
I kind of relax, but nothing about that conversation is sitting right with me. I let it slide as I try to enjoy the first day of 2019 with my boyfriend.
January 5, 2019
Pink underwear sliding a bit, I take notice, warning him that we need to slow down. Warning him that I don’t want to go that far, not yet – maybe not ever with him. I am not ready for that step, but he sure is. “Wait, my underwear keeps moving. I don’t want to go that far!”
“I am not ready to be a mom.”
“Well, I don’t want to be a dad either!”
“We need to stop then!”
He looks down at me, while still straddling me. “I have condoms over there, on the dresser.”
“No, I’m not ready! I don’t want to!”
“Emily, there are condoms over there. Please.” He bends down, gripping my wrists, pushing his body into mine, until I am deeper into the mattress.
“I don’t want to. I don’t want to!” He grabs my wrists harder and harder as he lays on top of me. I start crying, begging him to get off me. Begging him to let me go and change his mind. I feel my mind freaking out, my body growing still. I don’t know what to do, or how to get him off me.
As my tears roll down my cheeks, he hovers above my face, while still gripping my wrists hard. I turn my face from him, trying to make him get off me. I can’t move, I feel stuck.
Finally snapping back to a caring boyfriend, not a playboy act, he gets off me. I roll on my side away from him. He climbs over me, with barely any room on the bed, and lays beside me. Getting all up in my face, probably trying to get me to talk to him. But, I don’t budge. I don’t say a word as I roll away from him as I keep crying.
I don’t remember what happened after that, as the year anniversary comes up I am remembering less and less. I believe I have blocked those days out for good reason because as I stated above, there were plenty of signs. He acted like I was his piece of property to own by telling me what I could and couldn’t do with my body. That wasn’t okay, and I still don’t know how I let it slide. He dumped me four days later, under empty excuses when I knew he was mad that he couldn’t get laid. I know that’s a blunt theory, but I have come to terms with my ex-boyfriend’s true intentions for our short-lived relationship. He only revealed he still had feelings for me to get me in bed and have sex. Even knowing, I wasn’t that type of girl, he took advantage of how vulnerable I had become after we were apart for five months and I was heartbroken from another relationship. He used my vulnerability to his advantage and fooled me.
He caused me to hate my body, I felt disgusted when I looked in the mirror. I was no longer comfortable in my body because he had touched every inch of it, then decided I was worth taking advantage of – that I was just another girl. But I wasn’t just another girl, that he got in bed, I was his girlfriend. I was supposed to be so much more than a casual hook-up, yet he turned our relationship into that because I gave consent to be intimate. But, let me make this clear, I strongly made it known that I didn’t want to go all the way. Yet, somewhere along the way, he misread my signals and tried to go further. Some might say, “she asked for it.” I didn’t. Others might say, “at least he wanted protection.” Just because he wanted protection doesn’t make it any better. All that shows is that he didn’t want any connections linking us after the fact.
Realizing how much he affected my body began to drive me to do what I wanted about my weight loss and how I viewed my body in that relationship’s aftermath. I started falling back in love with the skin I was in. I remembered my worth after feeling like I was just a piece of property, not a woman. I started going to the gym three times a week, eating a little better, and then finally I started to see progress. As I sit here a year later, I am half the woman I was with him. I am a much better version of myself. I am no longer lost and insecure. I know my boundaries are valid and important. My voice matters. Most importantly, the rights to my body matter. No more men will use my body for pleasure. I am so much more than a piece of property, I am a woman.
December 2018 - February 2019 - April 2019 - October 2019 - January 2020