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High school was a blur. I was busy with theater, Scottish dancing, dance teaching, fiddling, church events, and community college. I had my friend group (the “girlz”), and was utterly content. I didn’t need or want guys in my life. I just avoided them like the plague. I had crushes from time to time, but that was about it. I didn’t have guy friends. I didn’t even TALK to guys if I could help it.

I did whack a guy with my fiddle bow once though. I think I was eleven, and he was teasing me in a bantering way. I remember scrunching up my nose at him, and then playfully whacking him with my bow, and he grinned at me.

But the rest of the guys? I kept my distance from them. I knew them, and they knew me, but I didn’t care to talk with them. They were a bunch of goofballs, honestly. My best friend and I used to joke that we’d never find a guy at Calvary. I think she was right.

I remember, after graduating high school, I had to sit in the main service then. I avoided guys then too. I was the Ice Queen, except to my “little brothers.” They were nice, and I was all warm and sunny around them. The rest were of a different world, and thus, were given “The Frozen Aura of Arielle.”

I remember though, things changed when I started going to the young adult group at Calvary. It was weird, because almost all of them were nearly thirty, and I was nineteen–still a child. I felt so lost at that age, and like I belonged nowhere.

I remember I became good friends with a girl who used to be a druggie, but had come to know the Lord. She was awesome, and I liked being friends with her.

But I remember that horrible night at the winter retreat. She came back to our cabin, sobbing, and curled up in bed with her best friend–a gal who had always been there for her. I was in the top bunk, asking if everything was okay, with my heart sinking because I knew it wasn’t.

“We made mistakes of where we were alone together.” She was sobbing. My heart sank. Her and her boyfriend had ?

They broke up after that. She just left.

And, unfortunately, I think most people knew. There are a lot of gossip circles in churches.

I never saw either of them again after that. It wasn’t long until they both left Calvary. I felt so bad for her. I wished she would have stayed at church. I felt bad for him, because he truly had been in love with her, even if he never should have done that.

I remember once, another tale, of a pastor-to-be (at a different church). I think he may have “been” with a girl. He told us a story about being in a backseat, and talking with a girl… And I hope the rest didn’t happen.

He certainly flirted with a lot of girls. He was attractive, but I never trusted him, or respected him. I felt he was a hypocrite, though I understand we all make mistakes. How could a guy talk a girl into something like that? How could the girl say yes?

It was like a foreign world, hearing stories like that. I just didn’t live in that world. All of my gal friends… Well, we didn’t even start dating–any of us–until our college years. Guys were that “other realm.” Sure, I daydreamed a lot about romance, but that was it. Sure, we watched sappy movies together and talked about how wonderful they were. But that was it.

But I’m not sure I ever felt judgmental toward those people. Though I did lose respect for the pastor fellow–especially because he was training to become a pastor. I don’t know.

I guess I thought at that age that if you sat next to a guy, you had to have a Bible between you. I was careful at that age to dress modestly. I was careful when I bent over, to be sure my shirt wasn’t gaping. And I never gave guys hugs, except on special occasions. My boundaries were vast and insurmountable. I guess I knew what I thought, until my first boyfriend started getting all… I don’t want to think about it.

I remember though, when I became friends with a guy–a year or so before that first boyfriend. He and I talked rap music, and all sorts of things. And I loved talking with him. But… I’d read his facebook page, and see who his “friends” were, and I’d recoil. And there was this one picture. He was kissing this girl, all wrapped up with her.

I remember another guy’s facebook page, and how beautiful his past girlfriend had been. And I felt like he would never like brown-haired, dark-skinned me. I didn’t even know how to do makeup properly.

“We said things we shouldn’t have, and acted in a way we shouldn’t have.”

What does that mean? And do I want to know? Yes, I guess at some point I do. I’d rather know, then have my mind play games with me.

For guys, I’ve seen the looks on their faces when they are jealous. I know what that looks like.

For girls, it’s different. We just sort of shrink inside.

I once was interested in a guy on eHarmony who had been married before. I had to think a long time on that. I always end up asking questions: Why hadn’t he stuck it out? Marriage is supposed to be for life, unless the man is abusive. In my book, a woman is free to divorce a man then. The Bible permits divorce for marital unfaithfulness, but personally, I think abuse is much worse. Unfaithfulness is very possible to recover from. Abuse just gets worse and worse and worse.

I remember when I was hanging out with that friend group. It was a movie night, and the house was full of people. And a boyfriend and girlfriend were wrapped up together in a blanket, their bodies on top of each other. And that just didn’t seem right to me. It’s not like they were married or anything, though they did get married later, so I guess that made it “Right” in their book.

I guess I like honesty though. Honesty is always best. I respect courage.

But I remember that guy I liked (the one who kissed that girl).

He had a hugely tender heart , so I backed him off being friends with me, creating distance between us. I remember once though, I felt so bad because he came to the church I attended and sat with me, and then the guy I really liked sat behind me, and had his head down. And I felt terrible, but got up and sat next to the guy I really liked, and then excused myself and left. And the guy who liked me fled, and I felt bad because I had publicly embarrassed him… but he had been the one to put me in that position.

And I guess I really did like that guy I moved to sit with. But I remember the day I got so angry with him. He cared so much about what other people thought of him, and he’d never be my refuge. And then he told me: “Your writings are too personal.” And my stomach plummeted, and I’ve hidden in the dark ever since then. I thought if he really knew what I’d been through, there was no way he’d ever like me.

Years later, I saw him at a wedding. A gal friend tried to set us up together. Haha. It was delusional. I had zero respect for this guy. I stayed for the wedding, and then skedaddled out of there as quick as I could.

Making decisions just isn’t hard for me. I pretty much always know my own mind. And when the past is behind, I leave it there. And when the present is laid at my feet, I act.

And then? I welcome the future. I am confident in the paths I choose for my feet. That’s me: Miss Confidence. God help me!

But always, I remember the past. It drifts through my mind like the pages of a book. It is a book: the book of my life.

I know what guys do with girls. Do you not think I’ve avoided hearing things? I heard a lot of conversations between guys in the dining commons off at WWU. I saw a lot of guys who I knew would sleep with me as soon as look at me. That’s such a scary thing.

I know what it is like to be afraid of men.

When I told my mom, she said: “I’m sorry you know this exists.” I wasn’t sorry. I don’t care about being sheltered. I just care that I know the right from the wrong in this world, and that I grew up in a godly church with people who were safe.

I’ve been in so many worldly churches, I feel like. So-and-so slept with so-and-so. So-and-so was in a room ALONE with a guy. A bunch of catty gossip. I hated it. Everyone trying to besmear everyone else’s “good” name.

But I guess I’m just as bad. I’m no different from the rest, perhaps, and that grieves me. I wish I’d never let him kiss me. I felt so used, and like I did the wrong thing. I don’t want those memories in my mind.

He used to talk about my body. And he made me so uncomfortable.

I felt like a porn object, nothing more. He just used me. He always swore he would never push me around, but he broke that a lot. He touched me where he shouldn’t have, and I feel filthy and ashamed–though he’s the one who did it, not me.

I guess there is something to “reputation.” In some ways though, it’s a bit pointless. I’ve been called many names over the years. I’ve had people look at me like I was a slut, like I was immoral, like I was… And it hurts.

You don’t know me. You don’t know me at all.

I wish I was a child again, without any of the knowledge I have now. I’ve never seen a porn movie in my life, but I have a pretty good idea what goes on in them. The women are “coached,” and have “moves” to do. It’s so sick.

Ever think of the women in those videos? How they felt after the man was done having sex with them?

I’ve heard in other videos that the women are beaten and tortured, for pleasure. Like “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Glue your eyes to the screen, and let your body take over. You will never be able to unsee those images.

I know what a man looks like when he thinks he’s having sex. My boyfriend… I wish I didn’t remember. I felt so filthy, when he kissed me. HE knew things. And I don’t want to know how he knew them.

“Not the hard core stuff though,” he told me. “I don’t watch the hard core stuff.” So you don’t watch women being raped and beaten. Good for you. You are still watching sex, and dishonoring your future wife by seeing other women’s naked bodies like some freak show. Like she’s not enough to be worth waiting for. Like maybe she won’t measure up, because that’s what all the “Christians” tell her, though she knows it’s a filthy lie of the devil.

God is fully capable of redeeming. He delights in it.

I always avoided reading the parts in the marriage books that talked about sex. I avoided going to “church lectures for young adults” about sex.

My parents never had “the talk” with me. I just knew that babies were made somehow, and eventually I sort of figured things out. My parents just told me as a young child: “Come to us if any person ever touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.” My parents taught me that the world is a dangerous place, and I am thankful for that.

I wasn’t in public school. I never saw the naked bodies during “those classes.”

I did have a nurse ask me once though if I was pregnant, and even if I wasn’t, but was “doing stuff,” she and I could talk, and she wouldn’t tell my mother. I gave her a look of incredulity, and I never went back to that doctor. I was sixteen or so, I think.

I suppose I’m rambling.

I remember once, when I was elementary aged or so. I was coming by my dad’s school (where he taught) with my mom. It was a dark and stormy night. There was a middle school boy and a middle school girl going off by themselves, and my dad said he’d be right back (he was an after school supervisor). I asked what he was going to do. My mom gave me a vague answer.

I remember when I told my gal friend that I thought sex was gross, and she said: “I wouldn’t mind it.” And I sort of freaked.

I remember when I was nineteen. A boy slept in the same room as me (oh horror! Be quiet. Let me explain myself).

It was a missions trip, and he needed someone to stay with, so he stayed with my dad and my brother and myself. I didn’t really care. I just dressed extra modestly and fell asleep without worry. He was a good guy, and I knew myself well enough to know it wouldn’t bug me at all. He wasn’t the sort to jump in bed with a girl. And I didn’t care if he was in the same room as me. No one said anything anyways, and even if they had, they would have been liars. I knew that, and God knew that–and that was all that mattered.

I remember when a guy I dated said, when I asked: “We’re not going to talk about Karie.” And now, I think I know why, and I don’t want to think about it. Him doing… I didn’t want to think about it.

I remember lying on a dock this past summer, all sprawled out, with my scouting brothers all sprawled out around me on the dock, fresh from swimming. And I felt utterly content, and so very thankful that they were who they were. I never give a second thought to being around them. They are so utterly trustworthy. Utterly trustworthy. It was just nice being treated as a woman should be.

I guess when I date again, that is my standard of how I wish to be treated–how my scouting brothers treat me. Hmm… I don’t mind snuggling, I guess, but I want a guy to leave me alone. My body is off limits, even more so after my boyfriends… I wish I didn’t have those memories. They did not treat me well, either of them. Maybe that was my fault.

But honestly? I think it was theirs. And I know what my standards are now.

Hopefully I will get over flinching when I think about a guy being anywhere near me. Thus, is the story of the sexually abused. Welcome to our world.

 

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