Before we get into this, just know, none of this is pretty. Nothing about this story is kind, or gentle, because they weren’t. And I’m working on the forgiving part.
My roommate and I threw a housewarming party. It was a fucking rager. We had easily over eighty people in our 1000+ square foot condo, complete with a stripper pole in the living room. Our new white shag rug, which we thought was a good idea, was destroyed within the hour, and we had dozens of bottles of alcohol in the house. Good thing I was sober, right? Wrong. My idea of sobriety then was not drinking, I thought it helped me control the amount of cocaine I was consuming – it didn’t. In theory, that may have worked when I first started using, but it did not last long. I hadn’t touched alcohol in a year, but it is no coincidence that the night I broke my perception of sobriety, I truly started spiralling.
Someone I believed to be a friend, which is akin to most of the people I used to surround myself with, was there that evening. Alleged-Friend we’ll call him, offered me some Xanax at one point in the party. I had never done it before, but like a good little addict, I was down for the high. He said it was really good with cocaine, and I should drink with it too. He was laying down on our once-white carpet, in his bright orange sweater, telling me it’ll be fun. I took it. I fell. At some point in the night, I vaguely remember walking into my kitchen, grabbing a bottle of champagne, and chugging it. My roommate was surprised to see that I was drinking since I was always so adamant about not. I put my finger to my lips and gave her the “shh” sign. I was so out of my mind that seemed inconspicuous, right? Idiot.
When the party finally started winding down, at a casual 7am, I was standing around with Alleged-Friend, and a small group of people. Included in this group was an individual that would soon change my life. This person was (still is) a graffiti-artist-ex-con-wanna-be-tattoo-artist-piece-of shit. Alleged-Friend and the group decided they wanted to go to Piece-of-Shit’s house. He told me I needed to come, that we’d all hang out, there was more drugs, and he would make sure I made it home safely afterwards. So I went.
After that, the events leading up to my attack are blurred. I didn’t tell anyone about what happened to me that morning for almost a year after it happened. I felt responsible for what he did to me. I know I didn’t lead anyone on, but I went, I did their drugs, I learned – I should have stayed home.
I remember Alleged-Friend telling me he was leaving. I remember trying to reason with him to take me with him. I remember him telling me all the reasons why he couldn’t and how I needed to stay there and rest. I was so high. I was so confused. I knew he would be going past my area, and I still stayed. I don’t know why.
I remember telling Piece-of-Shit that if I stayed, nothing was happening. I remember him saying that was fine. I remember the feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t.
I remember waking up with my pants down being assaulted. I remember being terrified. I remember that I was told he had an unlicensed firearm under his bed. I remember thinking that if I didn’t stop him it could be worse, and even though I regretted everything up until that moment, maybe I could stop regretting the next.
I turned around, hit him in the face, and got out of the bed, shakily. I don’t remember if I grabbed all of my clothes that had somehow left my body. I don’t remember running down the stairs of this old apartment. I don’t even remember where it was.
I made it into a cab and called my roommate to let her know I was alive and coming home. I don’t remember much else.
Fast forward through a year of partying, I was at an art show with my best friend, and Steven (remember him? If not, better read that first blog post). I was making another failed attempt to be sober. I had made it one week and that’s when I saw him. Piece-of-Shit was there, smiling at me from across the room. I almost passed out when we locked eyes. My chest closed up, my legs gave out, and I was fighting the sickness in my stomach rapidly making its way to my throat. I ran outside. I was shaking, my voice trembling. I was fighting for any bit of air I could breathe into my newly collapsed lungs. I swear I could feel him on top of me again. So I did what I always did when I couldn’t stand the pain – I numbed. I started chugging wine at the bar, I started railing lines faster than they could be broken up. I didn’t want to do any of that but I knew I had to stop the pain.
Later on in the evening, I was speaking to a curator. That’s when Piece-of-Shit came up to me, grin and all, and had the disturbing confidence to ask me how I was. He called me babe, and said it’s been awhile. I looked him dead in the face, not wanting him to know I had stopped breathing half an hour ago, and told him to get the fuck away from me. I calmly turned back to the curator, who had an astounded look on her face, and I told her he had sexually assaulted me the previous year. She commended me on how well I handled it. Meanwhile, I had to end the conversation before I passed out.
My friends and I left, went to another party at APT 200, and of course, there he was. My bestie tried to confront him, but he denied everything. In fact, he said he had been texting with me the next day, and that I was reaching out to him. I could feel the sickness rising again. A fight broke out between one of his friends and me, and soon enough, everyone outside of the bar had been privy to the worst night of my life. Well, one of.
The next day, Piece-of-Shit had spoken with Alleged-Friend (I’m assuming), and they weren’t happy with my accusations. I soon found out that there were several photos taken of me from that night, photos I had no recollection of, and they were quickly posted on Instagram for the world to see. I felt assaulted all over again. I was so angry, sick, and hurt. I just could’t get away from this. I felt as if I was back in that room, I swear I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. My skin turned so cold I thought my neck would snap. I was horrified at how much worse it could get.
So I did what I did best – I numbed.
I got so high, I started reaching out to people on the wrong side of this life. Soon enough, I found someone willing to bring me a gun. I wanted to shoot him, and I didn’t care who knew or saw. I just knew I needed him dead by my own hands. Even writing this now, not killing him still feels like a great regret of my life. And I can’t believe that individual has changed me into this person. I was fortunate enough to have someone talk me down from a life-changing moment. A friend of mine came over, told me the choice was mine, but to speak to him about what happened, to give it an hour. If in an hour that’s what I still wanted, it would be done.
I backed down. They talked me off the ledge I was about to throw myself off of. Ruining my life would only give him more power over me. He wasn’t worth it. He still isn’t.
I’ve run into this individual a handful of times over the past two years. Normally, I have him removed from wherever I am. Just the other day however, I made the mistake of walking into his workplace. I didn’t know he was there, and when he turned to face me, there it was again. The grin. His face. The sickness. He said five words to me and I turned and ran. I had a panic attacked outside the shop. This entire post was sparked by this moment. I have never dealt with this sober. I had nothing to numb me, I had nowhere to hide. I had to go through it, and overcome the sickness, with just me. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a recovering addict. I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting that same evening, and when I decided I wanted to share about my experience that day, I couldn’t. I completely broke down, I started shaking, and crying. I couldn’t handle my feelings towards the situation that was so far behind me, and I hated that this nothing of a person still had this power over me. I spent days in depression over this. It took all my strength not to step in front of a streetcar that night, or turn my arm into mincemeat. I felt like I was a kid again, going through my first depressive episode. All I wanted to do was hurt myself more, or end it all.
I showed someone the first half of this post, and they asked me, where is this going now? To be honest, I think I needed the therapy of writing and sharing this. This is how I heal myself, or at least try to. The hard part is over, the nightmare is done; the trauma, and the re-traumatizing. Where I think this is going, is a platform to share and show you, that bad things can happen, and you can talk about them. You can share them, and most importantly, you can come back from those dark places.
I was attacked, and when I confronted my attacker I was targeted by the same people who caused me harm. I could have killed someone. Worse off, I wanted to kill someone.
Being sober now, and working on shining the light onto the parts of myself I hate to look at, allows me to see how far I’ve come. Working through all those emotions without drugs was (and continues to be) incredibly difficult, but it is the worst of it and it too shall pass. I have to believe that the darkness from others isn’t my own, that their actions are not mine. That maybe I am better than that.
I guess these moments are the “oh no’s” that have shaped me.
And in my grave mistakes, I only hope there is a lesson for you and for me.
Thank you for letting me share.