Hi my name is Erica. I grew up with a twin sister (fraternal) and a single mom.  Life felt normal when my family used to insult me and put me down.  That's what I knew.  I got my first boyfriend at the age of 15.  He seemed great!  Key word SEEMED! I lost my virginity to him. Eventually he would hit me and choke me, put me down and as bad as it felt, it was some what familiar.  At 17, I got the strength to break up with him.  He came around to talk to me and wound up raping me.  I didnt tell anyone.  Who's going to believe that a boy that I lost my virginity could rape me?  I used to have sex with him, how could it be rape.  The 20 minutes of fighting and screaming eventually turned into me staring off into space so tired from the struggle, I just waited until it was over. 
The lose of control in the rape led to anorexia.  The food was all I could control.  I was the "ugliest" person physically on Earth.  This is what "my mirror" showed me.  Mom sent me for help.  I was now 21, 4 years into therapy I told my mom and sis about what I had been through.  My dad was told by my mom which I asked her not to do and he said exactly what I knew ignorant people could say.  "How could you be raped by someone you already had sex with?"  Years of abusive relationships followed and eventually I got pregnant.  He promised me the world.  I didn't get the world but I did get two children a short marriage and a total of 17 years with him.  He was verbally abusive, physically abusive and mentally abusive.  I started to drink to numb the pain, but the pain didn't leave. 
I started to read about the things I had been through.  I began to tell my story.  Just to friends.  In doing so there were so many other people that had been raped by someone they knew and was ashamed to tell anyone.  I began to talk to people and opening them up to finally beginning the healing they deserved.  I spent so much time with my head hung low, that i couldn't even see just how far I had become.  The more people I touched with my story, the more people I gave an ear for them to begin to mend their disasters.  One day I lifted my head and smiled; I am a beautiful disaster.  I survived, no matter how many people tried to knock me down and keep me down.  I am still here.  I will always battle the anorexia and the on and off feelings of being not good enough.  On bad days alcohol shows its ugly face & sometimes I give in, but I will always come out of the storm, because what didn't kill me made me stronger. I am now 44.  I am divorced with two children.  I have a career for myself.  I am here!  I am alive, I am happy, I am stronger..... I am a beautiful disaster.
I love you for helping me find an identity that I can call my own!  
Thank you!

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May 09, 2020