TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ABUSE, MENTAL ABUSE, BULLYING.
Names changed to protect privacy. Except the abusers. Fuck them.
I always wanted to be the “It Girl.” We’ve all seen high school films where the hot chick walks onto the scene and the world slows down, the boys drool, and the other girls want to be her. Yeah. I wanted to be HER.
Sadly, that was never me.
Never the ingenue, always the character actress, always waiting in the wings while the ingenue stole the show.
Kids in elementary school can be so cruel. In fourth grade, I was bullied for being overweight and for getting pimples at a young age. My friend Nora stopped being my best friend when she became friends with another girl named Nia. I never understood why, but I guess it was because I wasn’t cool enough.
I went to junior high in a Catholic school in the Bronx. My experience was far worse and I was picked-on from day 1. Not knowing anyone when I transferred to the school, all of the kids thought I was weird and fat. I was picked on for not knowing how to shave my legs and for not rolling up my skirt. The girls who “allowed” me to sit next to them at lunch time would openly talk about a girl named “Angela.” They’d talk about how she doesn’t wear deodorant and how one of the cute and popular boys said she stank. I refused to believe that my friends, the girls that accepted me, would talk shit about me!
One afternoon after school, they called my house and threatened to beat me up the following day.
They revealed that I was Angela, that everyone actually hates me, and they were going to “fuck me up” after school. I could hear the girls laughing in the background. My heart shattered into a million pieces and I sobbed painfully while telling my mom what was going to happen. Thankfully, she handled it with the school and they ALL got in trouble.
Towards the end of my Junior High School career, a boy named Larry became my best friend. He hung out with the nerdy boys in class and welcomed me into their club with open arms. Larry and I ended up winning the 8th grade science fair together and made it to our district championship where we made 5th place! I’ll never forget that night – his parents took us out for a winning meal at MCDONALDS! It felt so good to be loved and wanted. Sadly, after we graduated, he and his family moved to Florida. We stayed in touch with letters and tons of phone calls but eventually, I stopped making the effort to stay in touch and he disappeared from my life.
I felt like he would be better off without me.
I mourned the loss of my friendship with Larry but made some amazing friends in high school, many of whom are still close.
I also experienced my first sexual experience, my first (but not last) painful relationship, and first sexual predator.
Shawn was the first boy who touched me. My friend Lily and I went over to her boyfriend’s apartment after school one afternoon when I was 14. Shawn led me to the bedroom so we could get to know each other better. Instead, we made out a ton and he pressured me to have sex. I kept saying no so instead of having sex, he unbuttoned my blouse, hiked up my skirt, and molested me. I stared at the ceiling for what felt like forever, frozen in fear, but also liking it? I eventually told him to stop and we both left the room. When I got home, I told my father that I had been hanging out at Lily’s house, and he gave me a slice of pizza. I’ll never forget biting into it and becoming instantly nauseas. The nausea, the anxiety of that experience, stayed with me for about a week. Shawn told everyone we knew that we had sex. I tried to confront him on the block once but he ignored me. There was a rumor that he knocked up some 18 year old girl which is why he didn’t want to mess around with me anymore.
When I was 15, I was groomed by a (supposed) 24 year old guy named Ricky. He was the friend of a friend who lived a block away. She introduced us and we hit it off. Our first date was me sneaking out of the house to go to Times Square Ricky encouraged me to have phone sex with him and he would pick me up from school so he could feel me up in his car. My dad caught us on the phone having phone sex and forbade me from speaking to him ever again. Then, my mother read my journal, where I chronicled my sexual exploits with my 24 year old boyfriend, while I was at church. When I got back home, I was interrogated by my father, threatened to have my vagina inspected to make sure I was still a virgin, and punched in the face. I was grounded for an entire year, punished for being a victim of a sexual predator (even though at the time I was head over heels in love with him). No after school clubs, no participation in my friend’s sweet sixteen, no hanging out with anyone after classes.
My self esteem plummeted after I lost everything I loved.
Coincidentally, my first age-appropriate boyfriend was named Richard. I was 17 when he swept me off of my feet. The beginning of our relationship was awesome – we were both nerds, loved electronica, and explored our sexuality a little bit at a time. Our relationship went downhill once he took me to our first school dance. His friends called me fat behind my back to him, and I believe that his friends encouraged him to dump me. Eventually, he broke up with me claiming that I was too fat for him and went as far to say that the term “cute” is code for fat.
I grew up believing that anytime someone called me cute, they were actually calling me fat.
He eventually pursued me again with the goal of wanting to have sex for the first time. I was still a virgin so I was nervous but because I was in love with him, I was willing to give it to him for the sake of getting him back. We planned to do it after school, in his basement, surrounded by romantic candles and on top of plush blankets, to Godsmack’s song, “Voodoo.” My nerves got the best of me and I couldn’t go through with it. My mother suspected that we were dabbling in sexual activity and asked his parents to not leave us alone together in his bedroom. Sneaky Dick, on a separate afterschool afternoon, convinced me to try to have sex again ON HIS LIVING ROOM FLOOR. I reluctantly agreed but begged him to be gentle. The first hard thrust caused me to yelp in pain and he put his hand over my mouth, telling me to shut up. Shortly after we had sex, I was dumped again.
I had a slew of romantic relationships, some meaningful, lots of hookups, and tons of heartbreak in my 20s. I met a boy named Anthony while waiting for the bathroom in the old McDonalds in St. Marks Place. He was the epitome of the rocker skateboarder type that I captured my heart – tons of piercings, tattoos, and had a smile to die for. We started dating and he introduced me to his circle of ravers and club kids. It felt like home, hanging with the cool kids, drinking cheap booze and partying till the sun came up. I introduced my college friend Ramona to Anthony’s brother, Nick. Ramona was the definition of the counter-culture poster child. Tall, slender, gorgeous face, perfect smile, long dark hair, and the coolest rocker style and attitude. I thought if I introduced them, we’d be one big happy raver family. Like grown up KIDS (1995) or early 2000s Hackers. Anthony and I started to fall apart and he moved to Florida, eventually abandoning me here. Ramona continued to hang out with the people I introduced her to, while I crashed and burned and isolated myself from everyone. I eventually started feeling like my friends were happier with her. Her party aesthetic continued to evolve while I just stayed in bed for days on end, calling Anthony on my pre-paid phone, hoping to just get one answer. My friend circle didn’t check in on me. They all just moved on and I couldn’t keep up.
As I got older, suddenly got pretty, and started partying again, I had my chance to be the It girl. Instead, I broke hearts and tortured boys who deserved nothing but love. I was the abused and became the abuser. For years, I felt so shitty, never good enough, never skinny enough, never loved enough and I started dishing it out on people who didn’t deserve it.
And then I met Neil.
Neil and I met in a bar in Union Square in NYC in the summer of 2014. I was miserable, depressed, and coming off of a shitty first date. I was invited me to meet up at a bar for a friend’s birthday party. The friend was Neil. He is the perfect example of a cool dork. He made me laugh, loved great music, and he had a kind and genuine heart. From 2014 through 2016, Neil was by my side as my best friend through subsequent shitty relationships, abuses, and my reclamation of my spiritual self. Once we escalated our friendship to a romantic relationship, it made sense.
I was HIS “It Girl.”
All I ever wanted was to be loved and adored by others. Now, I have love and adoration from someone who is the equivalent of an infinite amount of people.
I guess if he thinks I’m cool, I must be cool.