13 Things I Would Tell My 15-Year-Old-Self About Dating

If I could magically go back in time and have a conversation with my 15-year-old-self, these are the 13 things I would make sure that she knew: 1. It’s not forever. People will tell you that you’re too young to be in love. They are wrong. You will fall in love. Hard. So hard that you will believe you are supposed to stay together forever. Some people stay with their high school sweethearts and get married and have babies and everything’s wonderful, but the truth is that the first person you fall in love with is most likely not the person you want to spend your whole, entire life with. And unless you are part of a very small percent of the population, you will be incredibly thankful for this. Give yourself time to date lots of people. Figure out what you want in a partner and save the “through sickness and health, till death do us part” until you’re older. 2. Be your own person, not part of a couple. Figure out who you are. Listen to the kinds of music that you like. Read the books you want to read. Try new things and keep discovering what makes you the wonderfully weird person that you are. Don’t create your identity on a foundation of someone else. Relationships do not define you. They can be a great way to connect with another person and share similar interests, but make up your own mind and be your own person. 3. Don’t give up things for relationships.  If you want to play a sport, join the band, be in a club, go to the movies, hang...

My message to anyone who is in love with an abuser

I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. In love with someone who hurt me. I’ve tried telling myself that everything is fine and it’s all going to work out somehow.  Convinced myself that I could make things better. I’ve taken on the mission to bring back the perfect relationship so that I didn’t have to leave. Stayed on my best behavior. I’ve been brave and forgiving and promised that I would always be there. I’ve tried to rationalize away the feelings. Ripped up pictures. Given myself pep talks about why I deserve more. Reached out to other people for help. Tried drinking until I was numb. Pretended like I didn’t care. I’ve practiced the conversation in my head over and over of exactly how I would say each word “I can’t be with you anymore. You’re not good for me. I’m leaving you.” Only to feel the terror pull back the words before they make it through my lips. Back and forth I’ve gone. Back and forth. Losing pieces of myself. Slowly. Like grains of sand falling through an hourglass.  Counting down until I was completely empty and numb. And then I’ve thought, “Maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe I’m just lucky that anyone loves me. Maybe this is as good as it gets.” I know what it’s like to be in a place where the only thing worse than staying is leaving. And the only things worse than leaving is to stay. I know what it’s like to feel loneliest when you are with laying right next to someone. I know how hard those nights are. The ones...

Abuse Is Not The Victim’s Fault

The fact that someone abused me was not my fault. This is a reality that even on a good day I have to talk myself into; a reality that has taken me years to begin to accept. Years of fighting with myself and repeating the words over and over and over again.  It was not my fault. It was not my fault. Years of listening to a string of therapists remind me again and again. Years of going over each event in my mind, analyzing it from every angle, replaying the hands gripping my wrists and wondering if maybe I could have twisted my body differently, could have screamed louder or tried a different collection of words that might have prevented it all from happening the way that it did. Why didn’t you fight back harder? Why didn’t you yell? Why did you let him hurt you? Why did you stay? Why did you date someone like that? Why did you get yourself into that situation? Maybe you have a bad judge of character? Maybe you deserved what happened to you. Maybe he wouldn’t have acted like that if you weren’t for the way that you are. Maybe you made him crazy. Maybe you are over exaggerating. Over reacting. Overly picky. Too weak. Too quiet. Too soft. Too hard to please. Maybe it was your fault. In the circumstance of domestic violence, self-blame is, in many ways, a natural response for a victim—the product of being hurt by someone you trust and love, and then being told that it is your fault again and again. For me personally, taking responsibility for...

‘Women Secretly Want To Be Raped’

Debunking 17 Popular Myths About Sexual Assault 1. Men rape women because they are overly aroused sexually or have been sexually deprived. MYTH. Rape is not about sex, it is about power and control. No matter what, sexual contact by force, or without consent, is against the law. No matter what. 2. It is not rape if the victim isn’t a virgin. MYTH. Every person has the right to decide whether or not they want to have sex EVERY time they do it. A person’s past sex life does not matter and is not a factor in deciding whether or not it was rape. Even if two people have had sex before, if one person forces the other person to have sex, it is rape. 3. Acquaintance rapes are not as serious as stranger rapes. MYTH. Any type of rape or sexual assault is serious and has serious effects on a person’s life. Despite the common belief that you can only be raped by a stranger, statistics show that over 80% of rape victims know their abuser. Acquaintance rape sometimes can be even more damaging to a victim’s life because of the betrayal of trust. 4. Women provoke rape by the way they dress. MYTH. Women have a right to wear whatever they want. There is no correlation between what people wear and if they are raped. This is an example of victim blaming. 5. Men cannot be raped. MYTH. Although it is less common, men can also be victims of sexual assault. In fact, 1 in 10 men will experience rape in their lifetime. 6. Women who do...

7 Things To Remember While Recovering From Abuse

During a soccer game when I was thirteen years old, I stole the ball from a defender on the other team and found myself on a fast break toward the goal. I can still remember the rush of excitement through my entire body, my legs pounding down the field as I told myself that no one could stop me, I was going to score. Then suddenly, a defender slid into me from behind, completely missing the ball but sweeping my legs out from under me. I fell backwards, landing directly on my back as the wind was knocked out of me. The defender was given a red card, dismissing her from the game. After a moment I caught my breath, stood up, and took the penalty kick, scoring a goal for my team. I played the rest of the game, somehow uninjured by the nasty tackle. The next morning, however, as I picked up my backpack and took a step up to climb on my school bus, I felt a pop in my back followed by a pain so sharp it was like someone had literally stabbed me with a knife. The pain was so severe that I couldn’t go to school that day. My mother took me to the doctor, where I found out that two of my vertebrae had been knocked out-of-place, causing my hips to fall out of line and the muscles surrounding the trauma to spasm and tighten, locking my left leg two inches lower than my right and leaving my body in a crooked mess. I didn’t understand. I had gotten up and played...

Signs You Might Be Dating A Psychopath

Here are some signs that might indicate that you are dating a psychopath. 1. You feel like you are going crazy. Psycho’s are masters of manipulation. They turn everything around. They will make you feel like you are the one that is going crazy instead of them. You might become paranoid. You might worry about what you wear and what you say and freak out if someone changes your plans or something unexpected happens that you will have to explain later. If you are a peaceful person, you might find yourself constantly fighting. You might explode when you get too frustrated. You feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. 2. You feel like you are walking on eggshells. You’re not quite sure what will set them off, but you are afraid that something you do is going to make them lose their temper…  Bump into an old boyfriend at the mall? Get a job offer in another state? Agree to babysit for your sister? You might be terrified of what your partner will say or do if you tell them. 3. You feel like you are dating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It seems like your partner is two completely different people. Like flipping a switch, he can change drastically from one extreme to the next. One day, he is caring and loving and wonderful, and the next he is hateful and raging and mean. He used to put you up on a pedestal…and now all he does is try to tear you down. 4. You feel like you have no voice. You are afraid to talk, or...