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Everything I Want You to Know


I want you to know that I was nineteen,

The first time I told someone

That I loved them.

I want you to know that you left me unconscious.

Injured.

Alone.

When I wake up, it feels as if I am outside of my body,

Looking down at myself,

From the ceiling.

Pain signals start to fire and my vision comes crashing down,

Back out of my eyes,

To see my blood everywhere in my white room.

I want you to know that I couldn’t look at what was done to my body, yet.

All I know is that I need help.

But first, I clean up.

I tear the sheets off my bed in one movement.

I run the tap on cold,

Pouring half my bottle of laundry detergent out.

With a shaking hand,

I rinse.

Red water streamlining toward the drain.

I can take care of this.

When I get to the clinic,

I sit away from everyone in the waiting room.

I want you to know that I cried, but I let no one see.

I want you to know about the nurse

And the kindness she showed me, when I was so scared.

Her compassion makes me stronger, on the days when I have to relive this day.

I think this is more serious than what you are saying.

She was the first one to say the words that I did not yet understand, but will forever define me:

Assault.

Rape.

I want you to know that she broke protocol

And told me to contact her if anything got worse.

She is worried that I am alone.


I want you to know that I slept on the couch that night,

Because I was too scared to be in my stained room.

I want you to know that I woke up in pain.

I don’t know who to call

So, I reach out to the kind nurse.

She answers within minutes and tells me I need to go to the hospital.

My father meets me in an emergency room.

I want you to know he sat with me for six hours,

But never once looked at me.


I want you to know that the doctor was a woman.

I want you to know that she told me there was nothing she could do,

My body would heal itself.

This is what happens to girls who drink too much.

I want you to know that I held back the tears and said "thank you," as the door closed behind her.

I sat in silence on the exam table,

Still in my hospital gown.

As I listen to the hum of the fluorescent lights,

I want you to know that I had never felt so alone in my life.

Somehow, I knew this feeling would become my new normal.

Months later, you apologize.

Your words shatter me.

I want you to know that was the moment the violence became real.

When one apologizes, it is with the remorse that you know you have wronged someone.

In this case, you knew you had harmed me.

You knew you were guilty.

After a few words,

You were free to move forward.

Because I forgive you.

Once again, I held back tears and said "thank you," as another door closed.

I find myself alone again.

This time, with a girl I don’t know.

I want you to know that I am now empty.

Sad.

Destructive.


Every day, I wake up angry because I am the one who must remember being vulnerable.

Exposed.

Violated.

For years, I find myself relinquishing my consent in empty relationships

To ensure it could never be taken from me,

Ever again.

You need to know how hard I have worked to forgive the girl who trusted you.

To forgive the girl who sometimes couldn’t get out of bed.

To forgive the girl wasting her time believing she deserved this.

I am not telling you this for pity.

Validation.

Attention.

I just want you to know that I do not live like this anymore.

Every day, I let go of the anger

And have a little bit more energy,

To start over.

You need to know that every day,

I fight against the voice telling me I am nothing

In order to get closer to the person who I always wanted to be.


I know she’s not perfect,

She still makes mistakes.

And often, she takes some steps back.

But no matter what,

She puts a smile on her face.

And tries even harder to do better.

Today, I said I love you.

And I want you to know it was the first time I have ever said it,

To myself.