CW: sexual assault discussion, alcoholism discussion
I woke up in a field; filthy, hungover, and in disbelief and distress over what had happened about 48 hours before. I still had two Four Lokos remaining. I began to drink them, and I began to cry. I cried even harder when it registered in my mind I didn’t have any tissues.
That day in 2016, I spoke to my great aunt awhile on the phone. I reached out to an old friend on Messenger who mentioned RAINN. I called them.
Everyone stressed how important it was that I get to the hospital and get a rape kit done. Part of me wanted to go through with this. I even got a ride to the hospital and waited in the waiting room awhile, but ultimately I would have a panic attack and leave.
The idea of involving the cops was too much. I couldn’t comprehend the idea of dealing with court. I had just gotten out of a long-term emotionally abusive relationship a couple months prior. I still was not beginning to cope with the loss of my parents (mom in 2012 and dad in 2014). I was homeless, and I had no idea where I would go. I was an alcoholic, and I couldn’t see a way out of that. Court seemed like the surest way to tip me completely over my internal breaking point, if the rape itself didn’t.
I had run out of friends willing to let me stay with them. I was out of options. Shelters didn’t have openings. I didn’t even have a tent. My first night on the streets, I bought a couple Four Lokos, and then I decided I better eat something. So I went to Wendy’s. While I was eating and charging my phone, trying to figure out what the hell my next move would be and where the hell I could drink my beers in peace, a man came and sat across the table from me. He told me his name was Chris. He was homeless, too, but he knew of a place to sleep. I ultimately went with him, to some empty freight trucks behind a recycling warehouse. I drank my Lokos, we had a good conversation about ancestry and music, and he told me about a few other homeless people around the neighborhood. We went to sleep.
The next night, much the same, but in the middle of the night I woke up to what was at first an incomprehensible sensation. Pretty quickly I realized he had his penis in my ass. I elbowed him in the chest and told him to get out of there. He did. But he started insisting I gave him consent in my sleep, and insisting that he wasn’t in my ass. He said, “Your pussy is just tight! You thought that was your ass!” He laughed at me.
All I really knew is I never wanted to see him again. And I needed a different place to sleep.
A friend quickly helped me locate a tent and a place I could put one. I was still scared because I was alone in a rather exposed woods alongside a highway. I began to sleep in a nearby 24 hour laundromat instead.
Another friend who had been on the streets in that city before, knew someone who she had camped with, who was still out there. She spoke with him and he agreed to let me put my tent beside his tent and look out for me until I could figure out what to do. Knowing she vouched for his character, I felt pretty safe, and knew it was at least far better than what I was doing, so I went.
He was true to his word. He made sure I found access to showers through people he knew, made sure I could eat, and along with one or two of his friends I had a bit of daily comraderie. Still I was depressed over what had happened so recently before, along with all the general grief and trauma of the last few years at that point. And I felt kind of hopeless because I still couldn’t envision a way out.
But ultimately I would go on to stay with a friend in another city for a couple months. At her apartment I was able to relax a bit for the first time in a very long while. I was able to have bubble baths and read a lot of books. I still drank and struggled. But I began to see a way to hold on long enough to fight.
I went on from there to stay with a couple friends in my hometown, which is where I was when I wrote most of my old blog in 2017.
Now I am in a much better situation. But I would say it took at least two years being in this apartment I have now, for me to truly feel completely like this is even real. I really do have my life back. I’ve been sober for very nearly three years now. I’ve reconnected a lot with my creativity and my mind and passion. I have a kitty who is doing well, and who gives me a lot of joy. I have a close connection with someone with whom I see a great potential.
I feel confident ultimately I will find my way out of having to work in retail. But in the meantime I am glad that so much of everything else has come together for me.
This is not say there is never a struggle internally or memories that come to be processed from a new angle. This is to say, though, that I have found my strength and I am finding happiness.