Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement to share my story without shame!
(If you missed Part 1 you can read it here.)
There was a phenomenal alternative music scene around my hometown area during this time. Punk, pop-punk, emo, screamo, ska, and metal bands comprised largely of Christian teenagers and young adults played most weekends at any venue that would host them. The music and the shows were a refuge for me.Tasting Dirt, Chapter 5 “Expectations: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
The day after I left the hospital, there was a show scheduled in a church that also had a private school that I had actually gone to for fourth through seventh grade. I went to the show because I wanted to convince everyone that I was fine, just a normal teenager enjoying normal teenage stuff, so they would stop monitoring my every move, and I could gain access to something I could use to try and kill myself again. While I was taking a break from the mosh pit, leaning against the back wall of the gym, a girl I knew from the private school ran past me, giggling maniacally, holding a yellow baseball cap and being chased by a guy who, I assumed, owned the hat. A few minutes later, she raced back by going the other direction. If she’s trying to flirt with him, it’s not going well, I thought, he’s just frustrated. I guess she got tired of running, because on her third pass, she shoved the hat at me and yelled, “RUN, SARA!!!”
Mmmm, no thanks. I glared at her and turned to hand the yellow hat back to the guy trying to catch his breath in front of me. He was wearing a Blink 182 t-shirt, Dickies brand pants, and skater shoes.
“Thanks,” he gasped. “Uh, I’m Steven.” He put his hat on backwards.
We started talking about the bands and music. He complimented me on my New Found Glory wristband covered in an assortment of small band buttons I’d collected at various local shows. We talked until I had to leave, and I asked him for his email so maybe we could chat on MSN Messenger sometime (early 2000’s anyone?). He handed me his business card, which read “Dependable DJ’s.” He was just fourteen but had his own DJ business! I was surprised and impressed.
I’d never met anyone like Steven. He had just become a Christian and was so excited about it. Steven talked about Jesus like he was a good friend. He was fascinated with the Bible. I wanted Christianity like his — alive, excited, relational, and without shame. I wanted it so desperately, but I didn’t believe I could have it. I felt like a fraud when I was around him, because I was still hiding the ongoing abusive relationship, but I wanted the light and life Steven constantly exuded more than I wanted to hide.
About four months after I met Steven, the abusive relationship was discovered. I had no words to describe or explain what had happened to me. Even if I had wanted to talk about my trauma and known what words to use, shame wouldn’t let me speak. My throat closed up like it had been tightened with a drawstring until breathing was painful and communicating was impossible. So, whether I was a lesbian or an abuse victim depended on who was talking to me and what day it was. I didn’t know which label to apply to myself either.
The shame, brokenness, desecration, and worthlessness I felt was overwhelming, and I started thinking about killing myself again. It wasn’t until I was caught off guard by this landslide of desperation that I realized I hadn’t thought much about suicide since meeting Steven. Then Steven, who didn’t know anything about my shame yet, asked me to be his girlfriend, and (because I was in a totally healthy and great place to start a new relationship) I said yes. A year later my family moved out of state, but Steven and I were still together and he still didn’t know.
Next week I’ll share the last part of this story.
If you’re dealing with shame, trauma, and/or abuse reach out to someone you can trust! You can get past the shame and speak out anyway. Sharing will help. If you want to share with me you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.