be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something).”I’ve lost my appetite”
synonyms: be deprived of, suffer the loss of; no longer have
“he’s lost a lot of blood”
become unable to find (something or someone). “I’ve lost the car keys”
synonyms: mislay, misplace, be unable to find, lose track of, leave (behind), fail to keep/retain, fail to keep sight of
This verb is powerful. I am in the midst of the most difficult time in my life. I’ve walked through broken hearts, death in my family, one each year for 4 years. Rape. And this particular time in my life is worse than all of those combined. The reason I chose to title my first post, ” I lost myself” is because I feel like I have “become unable to find” myself. That I have “failed to keep” myself. I am “deprived of or have ceased to retain” myself. I am completely and utterly lost.
Over the last decade I have finally come to notice there have been a fair amount of traumatic events that have occurred. The one event that had the most damaging effect on me was being raped. I was a brand new flight attendant; ridiculously happy to have gotten the most amazing job I could have ever hoped for. I graduated from a tiny little Christian college and I was NAIVE and TRUSTING of EVERYONE and of course ready to see the world; eager for everything flying had to offer. I had only been “on the line” (training was over and I was an official flight attendant, still on “probation” of course, 6 months of that, so I couldn’t do ANYTHING wrong, not even call in sick) for 4 months and I got the layover I was PRAYING for HONOLULU. I was so excited. I was obsessed with the beach and had never been to Hawaii so naturally I was beaming. I was beaming even more when I introduced myself to the first officer. I swear he looked like he walked off of The Bachelor. Yes First Officer Hottie, I will accept this rose. I was smitten, he was so hot. And he asked me out so naturally as a bonehead 22 year old I started thinking, ” Oh my gosh he’s beautiful and he’s a pilot and I’m a flight attendant and we are going to fall in love and get married and life will be perfect.” Ridiculous I know but I had just come from small town Christian college where there was the running joke, “You go there to get your MRS. degree”. Insert eye roll, I know. Anyway he asked me out on the plane pretty quickly and I was clearly thirsty. I swear it was like I’d never seen a boy before.
Fast forward 5 hours through the amazing inflight service, the halfway to Hawaii game, several movies and passengers later and I was in my hotel room in Honolulu getting ready for my date with First Officer Hottie. At this point in my life I was 22, educated, cause of my degree 😉 and confident in who I was. I was excited for this date. I heard him knock on my hotel door and I opened it. I looked hot or so I thought. I can still see exactly what I was wearing. I think that’s normal when you experience something traumatic to have the details etched into your brain. He was standing there like he owned the place and I looked at him doe-eyed and eager for our date. Before I walked out my hotel room door I said, ” If you think I am going to sleep with you tonight its not going to happen. I am not that type of girl and we will need to say goodnight now.” I was a virgin and planning on saving myself until I got married. I’ve often reflected on what I said to him replaying it in my mind over and over, wondering if he took that as a challenge. To me I felt like I creating a necessary boundary and if he wasn’t down with that I wasn’t going to waste his time or mine. But he complied and smiled and said “Not at all.” So I thought I was safe. I thought I was safe. Writing that breaks my heart for that stupid, naive girl. Walking out of her room expecting to enjoy the first night of her seemingly grown up life only to have her entire existence change.
I didn’t drink much at all. It wasn’t allowed at the college I went to. Not even if you were 21, not at all. However I did have my first drink at 21. I went out with a bunch of my friends and I had a “Sex on the Beach”, (ironic huh?) which I shared with ALL of my friends there, so I basically only had a sip and then I did a shot and oh my gosh I was TERRIFIED I was going to get drunk so that was my 21st… Hilarious right?!?! Then my senior year of college I got actually drunk for the first time. I went to my very first party at a friend from school’s house and proceeded to have maybe 3 drinks and I couldn’t walk. It was AUTOMATIC truth serum for me and I was blurting out everything to EVERYONE within earshot. I was like “Guys Jesus is going to be mad at me.” I was really concerned about that and the guy next to me left the couch because I was a “buzzkill”. After a few hours of throwing up everything I had ever eaten I decided I was never drinking again. Well a year later in flight attendant training which was like 6 weeks of straight up movie college life. I was drinking again. Not excessive and certainly not getting as drunk as the first time but definitely lived my college experience at flight attendant school.
We went downstairs to the hotel restaurant and I ordered some fruity Hawaiian cocktail because I was grown and sophisticated and a flight attendant and this is what you do on a date with a hot guy 10 years older than you. I excused myself once to go to the bathroom and of course check that I still looked cute. I can’t remember if I ate or what but I came back and finished my drink and we walked to the next place. We met up with some of his pilot friends because he used to fly for a Hawaiian airline. I remember ordering 2 more drinks that night, I think we went dancing somewhere and I remember his friend warming me to be careful and I thought that was weird but I was too carefree and jovial to even give credibility to what he said or heed his warning. Plus I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him. I said that. I said nothing was going to happen. It was my terms, my boundary and my body. I’m sure it was a gorgeous night out but I was tipsy and giddy and a total lightweight and just happy to have the company of this guy so I don’t quite remember the details but it was Honolulu in July in the middle of the night so I am sure it was perfect out. We walked back to the hotel and I should have said goodnight. I should have gone to my room and said goodnight. I didn’t. We went back to his room and started making out. Then we were on the bed and the kissing continued. It’s around this time that things start to become really really foggy. I knew something was happening to me, I could feel pressure but I didn’t know what it was, what was happening and I couldn’t speak, let alone think.
Everything went black. I have absolutely no recollection of the actual rape. I came to, had no grasp of the time. I was fully clothed so that was really confusing and then I looked up and saw that he was completely naked. To say I freaked out was an understatement. I had never seen a man naked before and that was not the way I wanted it to happen. I have no clue what I said but there was a lot of yelling and I left. I am thankful to this day that he didn’t try and kill me or something because I was hysterical and couldn’t remember or understand or make sense of what just happened. I was just so so so scared. I went back to my room feeling dirtier than I have ever felt in my life. To this day I have never felt as filthy as I did that night. I unlocked my hotel room and shut it behind me. I went into the bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as it could go and I got undressed and I sat there and bled and bled and bled. I can not mentally go there. I can see the image of myself naked, arms wrapped around my knees, weeping, water pouring over me and the blood going down the drain. It feels like someone else. Like I am watching a movie. I can’t attach the emotion to me. If I do I don’t know if I can recover. That was the moment I lost myself. I didn’t tell anyone. The shame and guilt was far to crippling, crushing, heavy to bear. I had been saving myself for marriage and know I was damaged. 22 years of waiting for the perfect waiting night, being genuinely excited to wait, totally okay with not having sex even though everyone else was and I was the total weirdo for not and I had that gift taken from me. I wish I could say I called the cops and got a rape kit and he was arrested and prosecuted but I was SCARED, ASHAMED, HORRIFIED. I genuinely thought that somehow, someway I would have gotten in trouble and the airline would have sided with him and I would have lost my job. It was horrific. I didn’t tell. I was silent and the once vibrant, vivacious, outgoing woman I was got lost.
That was nearly 10 years ago and that was the moment I got lost. I am 32 now, married and still lost. Being raped was paralyzing. I have not recovered from that and the ten years of life that happened after has been adding on to that event like Jenga blocks. And finally everything crumbled. All the blocks have fallen down and I am left in pieces. I am a complete and total mess. God works well with brokenness. I know that. I realized in the middle of being shattered I can not fix this on my own. I can’t continue to be fake. I can’t continue to pretend that I have it all together. I can’t keep up the facade. So I have decided to step into finding truth ( being accurate and exact) and transparency (honest and open and not secretive). I want to find myself again and rejoin the world of living people. Understand who I am and who God created me to be. To live as a victor and not be a victim of my circumstances. To rise above trauma and pain and to learn to be emotionally healthy. That’s why I decided to write. This is my journey to freedom and to rediscovering me.
I am in the process of figuring out who I am all over again. For now I know these things about myself and I am sure as I continue on my journey of healing and self awareness I will learn more about who I am growing to be. I am a single mother to the most beautiful little boy I have ever seen. I have a wonderful family of strong determined women who have poured into me and built strength and courage that I didn’t know I possessed. I love to travel and explore and discover new places. Pink is my favorite color, unashamedly, pink and sparkles. I am strong, stronger than I give myself credit for. I am who I am by the grace of God, He has blessed me abundantly and far more than I deserve. I have a heart for people and my goal in writing is to encourage them to seek God not only when they have everything cleaned up and figured out but to know and reassure them that they can come to God in the middle of their mess, the broken and their yuck. He is waiting with arms tenderly wide open willing to embrace whatever mess you are in the middle of.