Illustration by Andrea Forgacs
Story by Lucy Klammer
I've always been a bigger kid. Not particularly fat, just bigger than the others. I started puberty earlier than my friends, was always the tallest in the group and more muscular than other girls. When I got my first period at the age of 11, I was petrified. I was afraid of talking about it with my friends, my mom has taught me “what to do” but we have never had a talk about “these things”. I felt like I wasn’t a kid anymore, but I wasn’t a woman either and couldn’t find anyone that would share my struggle.
I started to feel more and more that I was different. That I wasn’t fitting.
And my body was something that I still needed to learn about and figure out how to manage it. I wasn’t conscious of many things happening within me and didn’t know that I am the only one that can decide on my body.
Imagine what I have felt when at the age of 14 I had my first boyfriend. It felt like someone has finally accepted me. Loved me despite my early womanliness…and I think that’s what lost me. He was 3 years older than me, knew exactly what to say to make me feel special. I think he knew it too well. As weeks passed by, I started to be more dependent on him and he started to be more manipulative and possessive. He always referred to me as “his” and to himself as “the only man that will ever love me that much”. I did everything I could to make him happy. I tried to share my parents’ example and keep on giving because I thought he will do the same. That’s the example I grew up seeing and I thought that’s how it works… After two months of dating he wanted to have sex with me. He said he just wants to “try how it feels”. Oh, how it hurt… I was bleeding, I was crying but all he was concerned about was a stain of blood on his sheets. I was ashamed of myself. Ashamed that I couldn’t satisfy him the way a woman should…
After that moment he started to have regular sex with me…or rather my body. I didn’t want to do it, but I was too scared of being a “bad woman” so I never said a thing.
Despite using protection, he was freaking out after each intercourse. He kept on panicking about what if I will be pregnant and that HE is not ready. It was always HIM. HE wasn’t ready to drop out of school. HE wasn’t ready to provide for the family. HE WAS SCARED… I started to feel like it was all about HIM and I was just an object. I cannot recall one moment when he was concerned about me. Or even my body. After few times of having sexual intercourse I stopped feeling anything. Both physically and emotionally. I felt like I was just a carrier of the body. I did not respect it.
I was disgusted when looking at myself and wanted my soul to leave my body and start my life all over again - with a new body.
At that time, I did not perceive it as a rape. I thought a rape cannot occur in the relationship. I thought he did it because he loved me. He did it out of love. You cannot rape someone you love, right? - that’s what I have thought.
I am writing this story seven years later. I still feel like I am different than the others. I cannot look at my body and see only the good things. But I have started to look at my body not as an object but as a book or canvas that tells a story. I have learned to accept and to appreciate it.
I thank my body for being able to survive everything that others and myself have done to it.
I thank it for being the shield for my soul.
I thank it for being strong.
I thank my arms for being able to write these words today and for being able to hug the people that t r u l y love me.
I thank my legs for allowing me to run as fast as I can each time I feel unsafe.
If there is one thing, I could tell my younger self is that my body is mine and only mine. Despite this story being hidden deep inside me, it influences my current life a lot. It has taught me that no matter how hard I try to hide or close myself, I will never be invisible.
My body is present, I am present. I am here and I deserve to be seen. Not for the sake of being used but because I have a lot more to offer than just what one can see.
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