Elyana’s Story: Believing My Body

Elyana’s Story: Believing My Body

This will be the first telling of the story, my story. The story my body will remember through my fingertips and the thick folds of my brain, my lips as I speak it.

My body remembers. I get lost in my mind day after day, the afternoon rain coming in the window, and I have to convince myself I am not lying. I’ll tell my story again and and again, and each time, know it more and more true, learn to believe myself.

In this first telling of my story the boy who raped me thinks he loves me, gives me flowers and draws me pictures, kisses me with his eyes open. Is this even possible, to think someone is the love of your life and take away their power at this most complete level? I really don’t think so.

But it’s not his story anyway. It’s mine.

Let me begin again.

In this first telling of my story, I say no, no, no, no loud enough for him to hear but I make sure I’m quiet enough no one else in the house hears, even as he keeps going. I let him spoon me after. I wake up and kiss him and offer him coffee. As if this could rewrite what happened, as if rewriting the ending of the story could give me back the middle. I try to end things and he convinces me not to. The next time I see him I get on top of him and fuck him without a condom as if somehow making it my choice this time could take away my lack of choice last time. I cry this time when I say no and he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t understand why. I yell and explain and yell and explain and he doesn’t understand. He begs me to smile and I smile for him, like a plastic doll. I see him again. I’m planning to tell him it’s over but instead I drink a michelada with him and meet his sister. I let him tell me he loves me, kiss him on the bus, smile. Inside a deep terror and still trying to write myself out of the past like those fantasy novels. I get high and have sex and orgasm. When I say no later he keeps touching me. I move his hands again and again and he moves them back. Through the night I fight him off. In the morning, he wants sex without a condom and I say no, but he enters me anyway and asks if I like it. He moves my legs where he wants them like I’m a piece of clay to mould. I am silent, pushing hard against his chest with my palms, barely even fighting.

In my fantasy memory, I kick him out the first time. I scream. I see it coming when he puts his arm around me the first time and doesn’t let go. I strangle him or punch him. I’m not the girl who kisses her rapist or lets him tell her he loves her, I’m not the girl who drinks with him who tells him she forgives him. I’m not the girl who “lets this happen” the weekend Kavanaugh is confirmed.

There are all these voices. But in reality I’m the woman who tells the truth of this story and faces it and knows it and makes sense of it. When I tell people I was raped they picture it as violent and imagine all these stories. Because my story doesn’t fit the narrative, I have to keep reminding myself it isn’t any less valid. Just because it wasn’t a violent attack, just because I drank a beer with this man after, just because he told me he loved me, just because I thought I trusted him, doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape, it didn’t destroy a part of me. The shame and the self-doubt are so real, almost as physical as the anxiety and the devastation. But I know to reclaim my power, my self, my humanity, I need to believe and own the truth.

My students keep calling me to see how I am after my “medical emergency”. It’s true, I went for tests and my migraines are crippling and it is difficult to eat and I didn’t get out of bed all week. I don’t know what to tell them so I keep hanging up. I’m so sorry for leaving you, but I have to take care of myself. This means I need to begin again. I know my body and my whole self will never forget. I’ll keep telling my story until I can believe it.



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