I have a similar story, only I was much older. I’m sure it happened before I noticed. I was so busy dealing with men constantly putting their hands on me without asking, picking me up and swinging me around like a rag doll, etc.
I never thought I was attractive — so stupid. I believed such horrible things about myself. Especially my outside. No matter what I did, where I went, my vessel was there as a weapon for men to prey upon.
But I had the same moment of clarity you had at 29. And it really sucked because I was out with guys who I had known for years. One of them kissed me.
I was in shock. I thought of this man as a brother. I loved (and still love) this man dearly. I was horrified to think all this bonding I had done with this man meant only for him I’d eventually end up in bed with him.
It was not to be. Kiss was where I left it. I cried and cried. I was devastated because I thought I meant so much more to him.
I did, and I do, we are still friends — he respected my ‘no.’ But it took me many years to trust him again. And that’s a little weird, but there were other things going on at the time. There are good reasons why this broke my heart.
There’s something that happened about a year ago that’s been bubbling just below the surface begging to come out recently. I will write it. It just took so much from me and was such a deep betrayal, I struggle with writing it at the correct time so I don’t make myself sick.
I have many stories like that… gets pretty exhausting trying to figure out if the nice stuff is genuine.
So much so that at one point, very early on, like at about 14, I decided I would only believe the negative stuff because that’s all the nice stuff ever amounted to anyway.
Wow. That’s fucking sad.
I hope that mess I just spewed out makes some kinda sense. I really liked your piece. Lots of fires in the brain as a result. You make me think.