I was 14, and at a Christian convention. I was listening to a sermon on sex; specifically, on reasons not to have it. He read out some song lyrics.

If I'm again beside your body, don't tell me where it's been
It's cruel, unusual punishment to kiss fingerprinted skin.

- "The Wrong Man was Convicted" by Barenaked Ladies

He talked about how if we let just anyone touch us, or be sexual with us, no one else would want to. Because wouldn't it be horrible to touch somebody who someone else had touched before?  How could it be special, how could it be pleasurable? How could they enjoy you, knowing someone else's hands had been there before? I remember he said a few half hearted words about forgiveness at the end, but the damage had been done.

I was already sexually active to some extent, and less than a week beforehand I'd been assaulted. I felt dirty and disgusted with myself, and felt like no one could or would ever want me again. I went home and dealt with it the only way I knew how; with a razor.


The next time someone touched me against my will, I was 17. He was the son of a priest. After it happened, I remember he went to the bathroom, and I was stood there in front of the mirror, looking into my own eyes, and knowing everything had changed. I felt like a totally different person to how I'd felt half an hour beforehand. An innocent had been lost, and nothing was ever the same.

I was a wreck afterwards; I remember I drank every night, and then bounced on my tiny trampoline til I collapsed. I lost a lot of weight. I couldn't concentrate on anything. A few of my friends were quite cruel to me afterwards; I remember one guy I'd been flirting with said I'd been "spoiled." And another's immediate reaction was to try and take advantage of me again. I felt unsafe, wild, afraid and very, very hurt. 

I had two youth workers back then. One's reaction was to say the immortal phrase, "I'm not saying it was your fault, but it wouldn't have happened to X or Y." (X and Y being mutual friends of ours.) And to talk about how I needed to be more street smart. And the other's reaction was to refuse pastoral care to me, because, "I know God doesn't want it, because if he did, He wouldn't get off my back," and that his time was better served looking after another girl my age who needed him more. I hadn't asked for all of his time. Just an hour or two. These were people I viewed as my mentors, and had a huge amount of respect for. Blame and rejection were bitter pills to swallow.


A few years later, and I was still involved in youth and children's work. I was older, and knew myself better. And I realised quite how much my early experiences with youth workers and preachers had damaged me; even now, I still get angry when I think about it. It affected me, a lot. When I was young, I held my own youth workers in such high esteem; they were older, they were wiser, they were friendly, some of them were even cool. I presumed anyone who was allowed to preach must know what they were saying. I was aware they made mistakes... but surely not big ones, right?

I'd reached the point in my life where I was keenly aware of how imperfect I was. How far from holy I was. How much I didn't know and understand. And when I saw the way the girls I worked with looked up to me, I knew I couldn't handle that responsibility. I wasn't ready.

I don't regret it. Looking back, I don't think I was too broken for leadership as such; after all, being broken is often an incredibly healthy place to be. But I wasn't ready for it in a dozen other ways; I was in leadership because it was the only thing I'd ever known, not because I was mature enough to deal with the responsibility. 

I want to stress that I don't have a problem with young leadership; you can be a leader at any age, and it was an incredibly important and useful part of my development as a person. I like to lead, I like to manage, I like to mentor, and I'm good at it. But I wasn't ready to be a role model, and I wasn't ready to teach. 

I hope I never, ever hurt a young person the way my youth leaders carelessly hurt me. The ironic thing is, I probably did it just by leaving. That still bothers me, years later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm not a toy. I'm not here to entertain you and be used by you whenever your current crush isn't giving you enough attention, or you're too lazy to just watch some porn and go to sleep. I'm your friend. Or I was; I'm not sure if I'd be comfortable giving you that title anymore.

Grace to me means being given more than we deserve. In a Christian sense, the definition I know is, "There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there's nothing we can do to make God love us less." Grace isn't based on that which we earn; it's based on love. I try and give people I care about more than they deserve, but sometimes self preservation comes first. You don't deserve my intimacy. And even if you did do your best to "earn" it, you might not get it either. That's my call.

Just because you chose to give me your attention doesn't mean you can have anything of me. Just because you message me doesn't mean I want to message you back. Just because you think you're really hot doesn't mean I'll be attracted to you. Just because you're kind to me once doesn't mean I've forgotten our last conversation, where you weren't so kind. Just because we're local to each other doesn't mean you're entitled to meet up with me.

I don't care if you're offended if I say no.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Like, it's good that I think highly of myself nowadays and all that, but the carpet in front of my mirror is getting kind of thin.

I did more sewing tonight. Some nice relaxing stuff which I don't mind doing, and a zipper, which I hate. Especially seeing as I don't seem to have a zipper foot anywhere these days. I've done worse zips. Considering it's been a few years, I'm not ashamed.

My body has slipped back into ketosis after last week's super big fat carb day. Feeling less bloated. That's nice. Going to be super strict with myself for the next month or so. No more big fat carb days.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Today I've been in a really good mood, so I decided to be creative.

When I moved into my flat, I purposely left most of the walls blank because I wanted to wait until I had meaningful or beautiful things to put up, rather than just random tat just for the sake of it. This was working out fine until 6 months later, most of my walls are still blank, because I'm indecisive, know nothing about art and also am broke.

HOWEVER when I was sorting through my old boxes of fabric with my mum this week, I found loads of generic Ikea stick on wall art; so I gave in and stuck them up on two walls. It looks alright, but my flat still has the personality of a potato. I really need to sort it out. Will choose some nice photos to print out soon, if nothing else; I have some photo frames that would match the living room really well, but currently they're just full of pictures of an ex boyfriend who doesn't deserve to grace my wall.

Also, while I was sorting through my fabric box, I found so many treasures. I have about 5 different colours of corduroy; I bloody love corduroy. After sitting there stroking it and plotting for a few evenings, I decided that I haven't sewn properly in about 2 years (there wasn't enough space to use my machine at my last house) and the glorious alalgamations of all the fabrics at once would just be too difficult, so I'm starting off easy. I'm making a (short) skirt out of a pattern I've used a dozen times before. It's been strange sewing again; some things came back very instinctively, like threading the machine; I wouldn't have been able to describe out loud how to do it, but my fingers seemed to remember how to do it. Other things I'm finding harder though, like pattern reading; it used to be so instinctive and now I'm really having to concentrate.

I'm being proper meticulous and pinning, tacking and ironing everything as I go. I don't have the technical skills anymore to get away with cutting corners. Soon though, hopefully! I have lots of other patterns and fabrics begging to be used. And a wardrobe full of clothes that don't fit that I should do something with.

I'm excited!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

This image was on the screen during church a few years ago. I still remember it because it's the best thing I've ever fucking seen. Me and the people sitting near me were silently laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks. I mean... just look at it. The dove is as big as the whole world. And the way it's looking at the camera coyly, an evil glint in it's eye... it's going to bloody destroy us. The dove doesn't look peaceful, it looks menacing; looming over the northern hemisphere, calculating where to drop the sprig it's carrying that's big enough to destroy the whole of the USA. Evil, glorious bastard.

I couldn't decide what colour to paint my nails today (instead of my usual all black) so I've painted them ALL the colours. It's sort of fun. I'll see how much it offends me tomorrow. I'll probably go back to black the day after. They're not QUITE long enough to bother getting a manicure yet; maybe next week, if I don't destroy them.

I did something stupid and got upset about it yesterday, and however cheesy it sounds, it proved to me who my good friends are. I mean, I know pastoral care isn't everyone's strong suit, but there's quite a big gap between "a bit awkward at being pastoral" and "deserves to be eaten by bees." Quite a few people I would like to throw to the bees today. I would watch and clap, and cheer on the more reserved hive members.

Friday, February 08, 2013

1. I will give my dog a super geeky name like Data or Spock or Dr Zoidberg.
2. When my friends say interesting things about their children, I can join in the conversation by saying super fascinating things about my dog.
4.  If I have any friends who are scared of dogs, I can train my dog to jump on them and make them scared. Maybe they will wee.
5. I can take my dog for walks every day and in winter it will be cold outside so I can wear wellies and jump in puddles. The dog will join in and it will be funny.
6. I will teach it to play dead but really REALLY well so if anyone is babysitting my dog, it will actually look like it's dead, and they will feel really guilty until they realise the dog is trolling them.
7. If I want to make friends with anyone in the park, I will make my dog go play with their dog, then I can talk to the interesting person while we tell our dogs to stop being silly. I will make lots of friends.
8. Whenever I'm sad my dog could cuddle me and then I would feel better and I'd go on adventures with my dog.If it was a big dog we could play fight too but not if it was a little dog because then it might be squashed.
9. I could get it matching accessories to coordinate with me, so when we walk down the street people will think we are hip and super fly and stuff.
10. Whenever my dog goes to the groomers, I will get my hair cut too, then we can high five and do a hair flick and everyone will laugh.
12. I will train my dog to bark at my jokes like it's laughing, then I will put on stand up shows for it in the living room and I will make lots of puns about cats that my dog will think is really funny.

For You are with me, and your rod and staff are comfort I need to know.

I've been rather emotional recently. I suppose that's fairly normal for a newly single person, but I'm not a fan. I can deal with feeling constantly depressed at some level, but mood swings are a bit out of my comfort zone. Tonight, in a rough order, I've felt relief, tearful, comforted, relaxed, upset, calm, amused, lonely, angry, hopeful and resigned. I don't even know how to start processing all of that.

I quite enjoy being single in general because I like having so many possibilities; I find it rather exciting, and I do enjoy the freedom of it. However, I need an awful lot of attention to stop myself from feeling lonely, which puts an awful lot of pressure on my friends. Which isn't fair. I have enough from random idiots chatting me up, but I'm really not interested in even getting to know any of them. It's just not really like me. Ususally I fall from boyfriend to boyfriend in the blink of an eye. It's probably a healthy thing that I'm not doing that now.

I've been listening a lot to the hymn version of Psalm 23 (the newer melody) tonight. And singing along. It's a bit too high for my natural vocal range, but thankfully no one can hear me. Despite not being Christ-inclined nowadays, I still find it oddly comforting.

I'm falling asleep on the couch. Sleeping enough to dream. Then forget it, other than brief flashes of boiler suits. I should let myself sleep.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Today I was naughty. I had a slice of bread in the morning. And because I'd already been naughty, I decided to celebrate World Nutella Day with style. I ate an entire Nutella Crepe... with added white chocolate. It was so sweet I had a sugar rush half way through, but I didn't stop. I ate the whole thing. I was hyper for all of 10 minutes, then I crashed and felt half asleep and headachey for the rest of the day at work.

I won't be naughty again :(

Monday, February 04, 2013


We'd fucked before. Consensually. It makes me sick to admit it now, but it was some of the best sex of my life. I hate that fact, but what you did a few months later doesn't undo that. You were beautiful, you couldn't get enough of me, you were strong, you were rough. I felt powerful. You were the first person I slept with who I wasn't in a relationship with.

I dated other people; you and me didn't talk so much then. I considered you a friend, although we weren't close. I respected you; you were very intelligent, and you worked hard. Sometimes we'd flirt when we texted, sometimes I'd say no. You'd always pester for more, but I didn't mind so much; I like attention, and you gave me plenty.

When you were in town next, you texted asking to see me. I had a boyfriend; I said no. You asked a few more times and I still said no. It was a Sunday night.

Late that night, I was freshly showered and in my comfy pyjamas. You texted again; you had no where to stay, the relative you were supposed to be staying with had let you down. After a bit of negotiation I agreed that you could stay in our spare room; my housemates were both away that weekend. I made sure there was clean bedding for you. I told you I couldn't sleep with you. I reminded you I had a boyfriend.

When you arrived, we hung out for a few minutes in the living room. You put your arm around me, which I was happy with. You kissed me, which I felt guilty about, but I didn't say no. After that you declared it was time for bed and went into my room. I told you it was best if you slept in the spare room, and said again I wasn't going to sleep with you, but you didn't seem bothered. I didn't put up much of a fight. I wish I had. It was late, and I was tired.

We were lying in bed. I was on my side facing away from you. You kept on trying to touch me. I said no. I moved your hands away. You'd put them back on me almost straight away. I'd say no again. I'd move your hands away again. It went on and on. A lot of time passed. You wouldn't let me sleep.

I wish I'd been more assertive. I wish I'd just stood up then and slept in the spare room myself, or demanded you leave. I didn't though, and I live with the consequences of that every day. You're supposed to fight or flee when you know you're in danger right? I don't. I freeze. Perhaps I was in denial.

I kept on saying again that I wouldn't sleep with you. I told you I was on my period, which was true. I said I didn't want to cheat on my boyfriend, which was also true. Your hands were on me again, trying to get under my pyjamas; I tried to move them away but you didn't let me. You carried on. I tried to get out of bed then but you held me there while you touched me. I think I actually shouted at you at one point.

I was exhausted. By that point, it had been going on for hours. I was scared. I knew were strong; you were a boxer, and you were in shape. I was powerless against you. I just wanted it to be over with. I gave in.

I stopped struggling. You undressed me and fucked me. At one point you pushed me on top of you. Can it even be rape if the girl is on top? I've thought about that a lot since. It felt like rape. I didn't want to be there. You knew it too.

I hated it. Every second. Despite that, I faked it. I wanted it to be over with. It worked. You rolled over and fell asleep. You snored.

I remember lying there in shock. I was so tired I could barely think straight. I remember thinking the word "rape" in my head but it felt so alien, so wrong. I've been assaulted before; I could deal with that. There was no doubt in my mind you'd crossed that line. But rape? That was something else. I actually fell asleep and slept through til morning, and woke up in your arms.

It happened again in the morning. I put up less of a fight that time. The damage had already been done; what did one more time matter?

I remember after the second time, you pulled me out of bed, still naked, and demonstrated how to throw a punch and how to block it. Did you enjoy the power rush that gave you? You already knew I was powerless against you.

I got dressed and showed you out. I was pretending that everything was fine. I offered you a drink. I think I even let you kiss me goodbye at the door. Then I went to my room and collapsed, and cried.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Writing this, even after quite a long while, is vile.

My intention is to write truthfully; even the details that put me in a bad light. And there are many of them. It's been those details that have hurt me the most; the what-ifs, the constant reminders of my own weakness. The moments where I could have gotten out of the situation. The moments where I made it worse. 

I still feel a fraud sometimes. That's probably the biggest weight I carry; the lingering thoughts that it was my own fault. 

In my head, I know that's a stupid thing to think. Even if I'd invited him into my bed with the explicit, agreed upon intention of sex, as soon as I said no he should have backed off. But I'm achingly aware that many people would put the blame on me. Guess that's rape culture for you.

For a few months after it happened, I was an anxious wreck. My social anxiety went through the roof; I started having panic attacks. I felt so isolated, and so guilty. I had to sleep in the bed it happened in every night. I never, ever stopped being aware of that. My hallucinations started later that year.

I think the way it affected me most long term was that it made me terrified of making new friends. He was the last new person I'd let into my life, and obviously that hadn't worked out so well. I would get so, achingly lonely, it never ceased; but despite that, whenever I was invited anywhere social, I was terrified. I genuinely didn't want to do it. I'd get so frustrated with myself; how could I want something so much and dislike it so much at the same time? And could anyone really know me - know the real, weak, honest truth of me - and still want me in their life anyway? I didn't think so.

I don't really know how to end this. It's hurt writing this all down and spelling it out, but I'm genuinely ok now. I took control back of my life, and found safe ways to lose that control when it gets too tough. I forced myself to be social a few times, and actually ended up making friends with people I never expected to.  It still takes a bit of effort, but not nearly as much. I don't feel a phony.

I like who I've become.

Anticipation can be delicious, but right now it just feels like someone's wringing out my stomach like a dishcloth.

I went out last night again. I think it's the only time in my life I've gone out to town on a whim. Does this make me a social person? I still don't feel like I'm "used" to going out, like I'm pretending to be the type of person that enjoys spending time with other people, but I guess that's social anxiety for you.

Depression hits me really hard about 24 hours after I drink. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be; I remember a few years ago my post-drinking blues were so bad one time I burst into tears in H&M because they didn't have my size in some shorts. I don't even wear shorts, so I'm not sure why I would have even checked. I've just made sure I do happy soothing things, like watching Frozen Planet and wearing my slanket.

I bought a bed for my spare room yesterday, which makes me feel like a bit of a grown up. I hope people don't suddenly expect me to be hospitable; I'm still oddly weird about people being in my personal space, which for me is my entire flat. I really need to get over that, because it's a waste having two sofas if I only use the other one once in a blue moon.

I shaved my legs when I was drunk last night and apparently made a bit of a mess of them. I didn't notice until this morning when I was trying to identify the source of all the blood on my bedding. It was like a fine arterial spray, which made perfect sense when I realised  my right leg was covered in scabs and dried blood. Thankfully it all just washed up and doesn't look a mess anymore. It wouldn't be good if I let myself make a mess of myself like that.

I'm choosing some new Dr Martens which is a happy thing. Though frustrating, because the more I look the more I need three new pairs, instead of one. I do not have enough money to spend on three new pairs, especially considering I just spent £240 on a bed. And will need to spend some more buying some new spare bedding, because my usual guest bedding has some sort of manky food stain on it which won't wash out. I've seen some pink bedding with "The Princess Sleeps Here!" emblazoned across it, which is perfect because it'll delight Heidi and Adii but make everyone else feel awkward. It's fun making people feel awkward sometimes, because usually it's the other way round. I was having a pedicure the other day and I think I made the woman doing it feel awkward by over sharing a bit. I forget that strangers don't want or need to hear about every aspect of my life. I should take out that energy here, instead of the poor woman massaging my feet. My feet looks beautiful by the way. Had them painted with Shellac which is shockingly shiny. Will get my fingernails done to match when they're a little longer.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Recently, when I feel like my emotions are about to get out of my control, I tighten up my corsets. The feeling of being physically held in and restrained seems to help me hold it all together. It only helps a bit though. I don't feel very together tonight.

Might feel better when I clean. I like things being clean.