Thursday, July 21, 2016

Training on Empty: Chapter 5 (Possible TW)

Possible trigger warning with mention of behaviors.

Chapter 5 -A New Me

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” – Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

Cynthia Pfeffer, M.D. of Columbia University stated in 2004 that four to eight percent of adolescents suffer from some form of major depression. That percentage increases to 20 by the time a child reaches the age of 18. Often, teens are tempted to self-medicate, and I was no exception.

Following the date rape, my drug use hardly waned; if anything, it increased. I was slowly becoming numb to the world. My developing “I don’t care” attitude reached all areas of my life, except school. No matter how much I was self-destructing in the world outside school, I always managed to finish my homework and complete exams with flying colors. I was determined to prove to my dad that I was not, as he so harshly put it, retarded. A’s and B’s filled my report card, yet he still called me stupid. There was no winning with him. As a result, our relationship became more strained than it had already been, and I began to feel true hatred for him. Some therapists and doctors have suggested that being raped caused me to transfer my anger at the perpetrator to men in general. To me, it just unleashed the hatred I had bottled up for so many years onto a man who had continually let me down and criticized me and those around me. In reality, it was a little of both. There was also this idea that my father hadn’t protected me from the world, though I never felt he was to blame in this particular case. Whatever my thoughts at the time, my anger toward him was obvious.

A few months after school let out, Amber and I discovered that the band the Rolling Stones was going to be playing in Boulder. Even though I had just finished 8th grade, I was allowed to go to the big concert without a chaperone. Amber and I decided to camp out to get tickets. It was midnight when we left my house to walk the few miles to the ticket office. We had told my parents we would leave early in the morning but sneaked out without anyone knowing. I remember being a little on edge because the two of us were on our favorite drug of choice, speed, and we had just seen the movie An American Werewolf in London.

When we arrived at the ticket office, there were already quite a few people in line. Several of Amber’s high-school friends approached us and offered us some unknown type alcohol in a brown paper bag. Before I knew it, I was separated from the herd and alone with some random guy. For some reason, virtually everything about that night is still very clear in my mind today, yet I can’t remember at all what this guy looked like. I think he had dark hair. I wasn’t paying attention to a word he was saying, because I was busy trying to figure out where Amber had gone. I kept looking around, but just could not see her. The guy asked if I wanted to go for a ride in his new car. “I have to find my friend,” I blurted, and took off.

After much searching, I finally found Amber and told her about this guy. She told me I should go, that the guy probably liked me. She was clearly busy chatting it up with not one but two guys. Torn between my own needs and trying to please others, my choice ended up being a dangerous one. Reluctantly, I sought out the guy and said, “Ok, I’ll go for a ride.” I regret not following my instinct and staying put, but there was a part of me that was still desperately trying to fit in and not upset anyone.

I had a bad feeling in my stomach the entire time that he took my hand and walked me to his car. My sixth sense picked up on something ominous in the air that night. He opened the door for me, and I got in. He drove toward the mountains and made small talk as I grew increasingly more worried. I kept thinking what an idiot I was. This was so unsafe and I knew it. As he talked, I examined the car door, trying to figure out how to escape should the need arise. When he finally parked the car in an isolated parking lot near the base of the Foothills, I considered running. I imagined opening the door and just running away, but there was a side of me that was afraid. Where would I go? I’d be alone, far from my friend and far from home. What would this guy do? Would he come after me? Would he just leave me up there alone?

He asked me if I had ever given anyone a blowjob. I said no. He asked if I knew how to give one. Again, I said no. Without another word, he unzipped his pants, grabbed the back of my neck and instructed me on the proper blowjob technique. I was disgusted when he came in my mouth, but relieved as he leaned over, opened the door and allowed me to spit.

The door! Oh God, the door. I had forgotten about my escape plan. The fresh air felt good on my face. I spit the gum I was chewing out too, and thought how gross it was that I hadn’t spit it out before. Had I known what he’d had in store, I might have thought ahead. I assumed the worst part was over, so I leaned back and allowed him to close the door. We drove back to the ticket office in silence, and regrouped with the others in line. I was shocked at what had just happened. When I pulled Amber aside and told her about what had occurred, her response saddened me. “Oh, gross,” was all she said. No words of comfort or concern.

The numbness in me grew. How had I let this happen?

I tossed the incident over and over in my mind until I was sick of it. The drugs and alcohol were wearing off and I was becoming more aware of myself. Amber and I bought our tickets and parted ways. As I was walking to the bus stop for a ride home, I felt a surge of energy and hope. Then, in an instant, I decided to change. My life was going to be different. I was going to take control. I put forth an intention out into the universe that was so loud and clear, so heartfelt and determined that it couldn’t be denied. I was going on a diet!

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