Regaining Self Love

First and foremost a disclaimer: this is a very serious topic and a true story. Hundreds of people go through similar experiences every day. Trigger Warning: a sexualy assault expierence is shared. 

In freshman year I was involved in a very toxic friendship. I wouldn’t call it a relationship because there were no labels. There was a breaking point however. I was not quite ready to partake in anything sexual. The relationship started to escalate rather quickly and that’s where I tried to make things come to an end. In hopes of stopping the harassment I cut all ties with this person. After a while, the person was able to get into contact with me, and they asked if we could hang out. Unfortunately I agreed. That night they sexually assaulted me. 

For weeks I was in shock and didn’t really process the fact that it was an assault. I felt lost and wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel. I took a deep look in the mirror and felt so much self loathing. I hated the way I had let someone take advantage of me. It made me resent myself and my body.  

Before the incident I cared a lot about my self image and outward appearance, always keeping up on the latest fashion trends. Suddenly it seemed like I couldn’t keep up or I didn’t care. I stopped paying attention to what I looked like. I would wear the same three grey pants on  rotation and an oversize sweatshirt. I didn’t want to wear flash new clothes. I feared people looking at my body. I was scared I was going to draw attention to myself and “ask for it.”

My friends questioned me, they were confused why I stopped dressing like before. I didn’t know how to explain to them why I now hated standing out without telling them the truth. 

A couple months passed by and I came to a realization. I was letting my offender win. However, I still was not one hundred percent ready to go back to my fun bright clothes. 

I adjusted my style a little. Wearing leggings instead of sweats, a tank top (on hot days) and an oversized denim jacket. I wore that jacket almost everyday. It was just long enough to cover my bottom. 

Some days were better than others. On good days I would try on my old clothes in my room alone. And on bad days I would look in the mirror, but didn’t see the loud, passionate person I once was. I saw a young girl scared to leave her house, in terror it might happen again. 

I really needed time to process everything. That’s exactly what I did over the summer. I took time for myself, taking out all the distractions of my life. I cut off ties with most of the people I knew, in order to focus on myself and my healing. 

Finally, at the beginning of sophomore year I felt ready to finally tell someone my story. I shared my story with one of my close friends. She helped me realise that I am worth so much more than what I wear. I shouldn’t have been focusing on what I was wearing and more of how I was feeling. 

Middle of sophomore year that same realisation came back to me. I was letting my offender win. I couldn’t stand the idea of letting him take control of me. I started to innovate more and more with my style. Getting back onto trends. 

It was a long painful journey but I don’t regret going through it! I learned a lot. I know clothes will never define me as a person, but it’s a great way to express myself. I love the person I have turned out to be.