Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Losing your innocence

The phrase - losing your innocence - really bugs me. It hasn't always, only since he took mine from me.

It's so often portrayed in our society as a coming of age rite of passage. It seems to imply that in losing her innocence, a young woman gains something. Maturity. Insight. I don't know, something positive.

That's how I used to see it. I was going to lose my virginity, but I was going to gain something really special.

Regardless of my struggle to label his violation of me, one thing is for sure, he took my innocence. That has always been clear as day. Even when I was initially struggling to remember the events from that night and was in denial that it had happened, I couldn't shake the feeling of having lost something. This feeling of loss still haunts me today.

When he removed himself from me that night, he removed a part of me. I think the emptiness he left behind has been what I have been running from all these years. Trying so hard to replace it with whatever I could find. Always looking externally for something to fill the void. To make me feel whole again. To hide the feelings of inferiority and worthlessness, the emotional baggage I wish I could thrust onto him.

I have wasted so much time trying to regain my innocence. It's just not in the cards. You can't go back in time. I can't retrospectively refuse to drink that spiced rum. I can't go back and refuse a walk home from him. I will never be the person I was before that night. But maybe that's okay. Maybe it's just time to shift my focus.

Until now, my "loss of innocence" has only been defined by what of mine was lost. I hope that this new phase of revisiting what happened will allow me to redefine my experience and gain insight into myself. There has to be more to me than my virginity. Purity encompasses more than just sexuality...right? Perhaps I am still pure. Perhaps I can find myself.

My exhaustion from chasing external factors and failing miserably at filling the emptiness is what led me here. First to do internet research on the aftermath of acquaintance rape. Then to open up to my therapist and begin discussing what is really going on with me. And then to wonderful, supportive online forums to help with the healing process. This must be a step in the right direction.

2 comments:

  1. You brought up something that I have thought so much about over the past 6 weeks. I am also a person who placed a value on my virginity, not because it holds value to me, but because it hold value as a gesture to the first person I would have chosen to share that part of me with. I feel robbed and feel like that gift, that gesture that I so wanted to give to that future special person was stolen from me.

    I have started to realize something that you have touched on. The "innocence", the gesture, and gift aren't the physical act, it's the first intentional sharing of ourselves with another. Although our bodies and emotions were so violated, our willingness can't be forced, nor can it be taken. That boils down to one fact that I am having to keep drilling into my head. I am still a virgin in the pure sense of the word.

    I'm sorry I'm probably not explaining what I mean well enough.

    Anywhooo, I am glad you are facing all of this headlong. Seeing you face this helps encourage me to do the same.

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  2. Hi Jaime, I am so glad to hear that you are finding these entries encouraging to your own journey. I think the way you explained your thoughts regarding innocence and virginity made perfect sense. Looking back at my rambling, I think you did a much better job articulating my thoughts, so thank you for that :)

    After that night, I hated responding to the question, "Are you a virgin?" because I had no idea how to respond. It wasn't clear to me. I had always viewed sex as this really special union of body and soul between two people, so I didn't really know what to call myself. My body had been "united" with his, but that was the extent of my contribution (yuck). I wouldn't consider myself a participant in the act, so I either skirted the virginity question or said "1/2" to people I felt comfortable providing additional information (that response obviously elicited questions).

    When someone violates you, it really strips sex down to a purely mechanical act, and it's such a struggle to see that special, emotional component that once came so easily. I really like how you framed "virgin in the pure sense of the word," that "our willingness can't be forced, nor taken." So true! Thank you for that.

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