I sat back and watched them laugh hard while watching an Instagram comedy skit. I made a few chuckles here and there. But nothing extra, and that was how my life had been for the past fifteen years. Nothing extra.
It all began when I woke up a summer afternoon, and for the first time ever, I looked at myself. Never in my life had I done that. I striped out of my nighties, got in front of the full mirror and for the first time, I noticed those tiny black stripes on my waist. I turned back and saw the lightened version all over my bum. I looked back at myself again, and in that minute, insecurities set in. I had no one to talk to about it. Every time I looked at the mirror, all i saw was disgust. I’d slide down the wall, every time and cry my eyes out. I decided there and then that I wouldn’t let anyone see my stripes.
Three years passed and I turned 15. And not only did the insecurities increase, peer pressure did, depression did and a whole lot of suppressed feelings. I can remember the day vividly. I was out with my friends, celebrating Janet’s 16th birthday, it was a pool party with all of our friends, guys and girls both. People struggled to get an invite.
I was there also, but instead of being in a sexy swimsuit, I was dressed in a high waist denim trousers, a long chiffon top and my flip flops.
Jane: get off that granny attire would you?
Me: it isn’t a granny attire Cinderella, plus I’m comfortable in this. And as you know, I don’t swim.
Jane: just so you know granny, you won’t be getting any guy dressed like that tonight.
Me: yea, whatever.
Two hours later, while everyone was getting turnt, I decided to go visit the restroom.
I saw him, standing outside the gents. I ignored him and was about getting into the ladies, when he pulled me back. I struggled to break free but he was way stronger than I was.
Him: you think you’re quite the catch huh? Wearing baggy clothes to school to taunt us boys right? But that’s about to be over, I’ll see what lies behind those clothes.
I was scared off my mind and I did the thing I saw them do in the movies. Yes I hit his manhood, hard with my leg. But I guess that was my mistake as I only achieved getting him more furious.
He did it to me that day. It lasted nothing less than 4 minutes. It was an excruciating process. I later found out he had his guys watch the restroom entrance so no one could come in.
But just as every other incidents that has occurred in my life, I couldn’t tell a soul.
I left the party almost immediately but without my innocence and dignity.
At school the next day, rumors began to fly. Apparently the moron told his guys about my body, that I was covered in stretch marks. He revealed my darkest secret to the whole school. He wasn’t contended with taking advantage of me, he just had to go reveal that part of me too. I was extremely pained and embarrassed. Self hate majestically strode into my life.
I cursed him. I said he will never find genuine happiness in his life.
Then I began my search online-
• HOW TO GET RID OF STRETCH MARKS.
• HOW TO OVERCOME A RAPE EXPERIENCE.
• HOW TO BE ALONE.
• HOW TO FIND HAPPINESS IN SOLITUDE.
• HOW TO HELP YOUNG GIRLS BE EMPOWERED.
amongst other web searches.
What? You want to blame me for not speaking out?
To who exactly? A cheating father? A mother going through emotional trauma? A seven year old brother? The obnoxious school teachers? Unreliable friends? Or the ones who would judge me?
I took myself on a journey that day. A journey of self emancipation and discovery.
Today, I looked at myself in the mirror and no longer do I see disgust, no longer do I see a sexually harassed girl, no longer do I see a tainted skin or a timid girl. All I saw was peace. I saw peace in my reflection.
Over the years, I learned to forgive my assaulter, I forgave myself also for constant self-hate, I took my life more importantly and began working towards achieving my goals. I opened my heart to people. After years of aggressively using various stretch mark cream and home remedies to no result, I’ve finally embraced my marks.
“I’m proud of you” were the words I said to my reflection.
I clock 23 today and I’m going to the beach. I’m putting on a swimsuit personally picked by my fiancee.
Happiness lives here.
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