This is an annonymous post for The Girls We Once Were link up. There is some explicit language; sometimes those are the only words we have for the darkness of this world. But there is always light, and it is always coming. I think this woman handles that beautifully, and I hope you will hold her heart carefully. I am so honored to host her story here.
Before there were fairy tales, before there were courtship manuals, before there were dating horror stories, before marriage was made an idol, before there were wedding night promises, before I learned to expect my first crush to last forever, did I once believe in true love and that I deserved it? Was I once that naive?
Before there were small hands playing at grownup pleasures, before they whispered “it’s just a game” and taught me how, and I so small, and I so young; before there were dark daydreams and darker lusts; before the screen was filled with chiseled biceps groping and bruised breasts groped; before the deep, relentless shame, was I once innocent?
Before there were clandestine garter belts and lace beneath good girl dresses, before there were muffled groans in the back seat on a country road, before there were unsatisfied no-really-it-was-goods, before there were the guilty sounds of pulling our clothes on after, before there were late-night commitments to never again, to this was the last time, was I once pure?
Before he tried to make me some fantasy — thinner thighs and fuller chest; before I confessed to him all my former sins and he held me tender, heartbeat-softkiss-whisper tender — until he stopped holding me at all, until I wasn’t good enough, until he wanted me but not-me, skinnier and willing to fuck like the goddamn whore I felt like already; before he begged me to then blamed me when I did; before him, was I once whole?
Before I learned the thou-shalt-nots and knew I’d already, long since broken them, before the Lord God cast me out and an angel barred the way of my return with a flaming sword, did I once dance in Eden, naked and glad, naked and unashamed? Before the Fall, was I once good?
I don’t remember that girl I once was, maybe. I don’t remember the bright tall grass of Eden, a sweet, simple garden where I tended strawberries and hopes, grew snap-peas and trust. I cannot see my face there — was I smiling? did I laugh? was there no shadow of shame cast across me?
And that tree where it started — that mean, forbidden tree. Is it fair the first fruit was sliced up and placed in my eager hand and they said, “taste, it is good,” and I didn’t know not to, couldn’t say no?
I remember that fruit and its juices still stain me, but I can’t imagine who I was before I ate it. Naive, innocent, pure, whole, unashamed, good? Maybe I was. But that was before.
And now it is after, and who has that little girl grown up to be?
After the disillusionment, after the memories came back haunting, after the long grief; after I saw myself broken, and swore I would be whole again; after the “we’re through,” after I walked away, even when he followed me begging, even when he said “I’m sorry” and meant it; after I wandered the Earth, looking for Eden’s welcome; after I looked that angel of shame in the eye where he stood with his sword, cutting me with its hot edge, and after I noticed the shield in my hand, and after I noticed Another who’s fighting beside me; now I am healing, and laughing sometimes. Now I am trying. And I will be free. And I will be good, and pure, and unashamed.
The girl I once was, I believe she’s still here.