It’s been a long year of turmoil and happiness and somewhere in my mess I’ve forgotten my purpose.
I seem to have forgotten what I live for. And this woman’s testimony is my life’s purpose.
When I was 27 I was broken. I had just had my second child with my best friend. He was my world. We were going to do this right. We loved each other. We fought and supported each other. We were driven toward each other. One day (when my newborn was 3 days old) I was confronted with my biggest fear ever. My step daughter, my partners biological daughter informed me that she had been sexually abused by her dad. She was descriptive and focused. I’m a sexual woman but the things I heard made me blush. All the anger and hate I had for my mother came rushing into my body…. I was RED…… and just like that my world fell apart. I had to protect this baby, myself, and my daughters from this man, my best friend.
I was broken … two of my children removed from my home. Left to deal with two kids, no job, no friend, and no mind to hold onto…… I had to face him and the people who didn’t believe her. I was spit on… literally. Confronted by my own family, questioned by police about what reasons I might have to make this story up, or the little girl who he used, perhaps she was lying. My mothering abilities were questioned by my ex-husband. He threatened to try my ability in court and take my oldest daughter from me for relying on someone so dangerous. I had a seven year old who was angry with her sister for ruining our family because I couldn’t explain in detail why my partner was wrong .and honestly, to top it all off, somewhere deep down I missed my friend…. 24 hours…… is what time I had to make all the right decisions. And I failed.
I was broken but I did what I could… I traded my ability to put on shoes for the act of breathing. I traded my ability to fight for me for nursing my new baby… I traded my worth for everyone else’s. And though it was right… it broke me. I remember seeing a shrink for a week. I told her I was fine. Lol I lied if I said I was broken I would have fallen apart.
Three years later I was made a visit to my lpn. I was having these chest pains. I would shake in public, I couldn’t focus and I cried erratically at very inappropriate times. I was alone. Nobody loved a woman like me. I sometimes still could not do dishes. When we spoke he got right down deep with me. He stated that I had no physical problems. They were all internal and he wasn’t taking a blood test. He said,” Carmen hold my hand”.
He got in my face looked deep in my eyes a came very close to me and said, “I want you to look at me like you want me and tell me”.
I was nervous, but made it happen in an awkward, “I want you “my eyes did most of the talking.
He smiled sadly, shook his head and asked,” Why, if you don’t want me, didn’t you tell me no?”
I smiled, thanking the goddess that he didn’t really want to fuck, and told him it wasn’t worth my fight.
He openly asked me if saying “no” meant I had to fight for it.
And I just teared up. I did not have the ability to say no. No meant conversation and explanation. I couldn’t say no to anyone, even if it meant my body was to be used, unless there was a fight. I said, “Yes, I didn’t want to yell at you or hit you in the face so I just did it”
“Carmen, you need to understand your worth as a woman. What is intrinsically yours as a right? You don’t have to hit me or explain. You don’t have to make excuses for why you don’t want what I want.” Then he said,” you always smile. Smile at me, move my hand and say NO”
We talked for quite a while about my stress. WE discussed how I had so much to do and I was hurt and how I felt guilty when I couldn’t handle everything. He stated that I needed to take time for what makes me smile and that I needed space to hold for myself and that starts with “no”. No, I won’t help you with your funds, no, I won’t go grab you this, no, and I do not want to discuss what you think I should do at this time. NO, you cannot stay up late. No, I will not watch your child, I do not care to have dinner. No, I do not want to fuck. At the end of the appointment he handed me a prescription. I had already stated that I did not want any pills! Why wasn’t he listening!!?
The script read, “RELEASE YOUR INNER BITCH” around the outside. In the middle was a big huge “N O!” He told me I was to yell and scream and say NO to whomever and for however long it took me to just say it like Carmen would when she’s confident that she is worth her chosen actions. When Carmen does not feel guilty anymore.
He said, “Tell your friends and family that when they see this on your front door it means they are entering at their own risk. They are at fault if they don’t like your no. then make sure you say it. When you know your worth they will too. You won’t have to get mad you will respect yourself and those who don’t will go away”
Today my whole self is my right. Nobody gets an explanation unless I deem them worthy of one. I don’t have anxiety attacks anymore. I am not depressed, slow, self-loathing or a victim. I’m Carmen right where the fuck I need to be.
In all my chaos I’ve forgotten my self-worth. I’ve quit taking time for me and have succumbed to explaining myself to people who don’t know me or care to understand. These people, just like in my past have decided that they know better than I, and tell me what my intentions, limits, and goals are. And I listened.
Perhaps I need another script.