The scars of rape far outlast the trauma.
This is her story:
I feel like no one will ever believe that it wasn't my fault as much as I want to.
I need reassurance but I'll probably never get it.
It couldn't have been rape, I told him yes.
It couldn't have been rape because we talked about it, we agreed to do it.
But I changed my mind, I told him NO.
Why couldn't that have been the end?
Why do I feel like I caused this mess?
Maybe I did, it's all my fault.
Maybe it's my fault because I didn't fight it.
I feel like I made the right decision to not fight it, something worse could have happened. It was better for me to lay motionless and let him do what he wanted - no one could've helped me.
We were alone. I could've been hurt... or worse.
But it had to have been my fault.
I did not fight.
Why do I feel like this?
Was this my fault?
Could I have changed the outcome?
Have those of you, The Band, who have been raped offer her some words of comfort?
Divorce is one of the most painful experiences of one's life.
This is her story:
I grew up in a Christian household.
My father is from Texas, my mother from Alabama. Faith is a big part of our family. My family and parents are amazing and supportive in every way - they'd give anyone, even a stranger, the shirt off their back. They have beliefs about a number of controversial issues but remain open to discussion and always respectful of other people's beliefs.
I went to a Christian school, where my mother happens to work. It was small but a lovely community - everyone was friendly and kind. I attended school with some of my peers for thirteen years! Sure, we had a few "bad apples" but they were few and far between.
I attended church with my parents every single Sunday. During the summer, I attended Vacation Bible School - a day camp and bible study - and was a member of the Retreat Leadership Team in high school. We'd plan Bible Studies and events focused around our faith. I enrolled in a very Christian University where I received an excellent education and was, once again, surrounded by faith events, night chapels, and church on Sunday.
I saw our Christian group as a community of loving, caring people.
Then it all changed.
I married my college boyfriend, whose father was a pastor, almost immediately out of college. We didn't always see eye-to-eye but how many couples do?
On the surface, his family seemed as kind and accepting as mine. Below the surface, the smiles and kind gestures belied a nasty history of horrific things I wish I could forget.
...but my new husband was different, right?
Without going into much detail, it was worse; much worse than I could've imagined. I was told things no one should hear. I was chided for being a science major. I was shamed for listening to secular music and questioning "truths." Before I knew it, I was embroiled in a very abusive relationship.
My "perfect life" facade crumbled.
It was like I'd been blind for nearly six years I was part of this new family and suddenly my eyes were opened. When they opened, I was disgusted.
These people paraded around as a wonderful Christian family were anything but. It was nothing like what I was used to. My Christian community was awesome and this was just an isolated issue, right?
Just as my eyes opened to see my new family as they really were, they also saw my Christian "community."
I was in an abusive relationship with a very Christian man who frightened me; my safety and sanity. Divorce was considered a non-option - divorce was sinful and I was wrong for considering divorce, but I did anyway.
I realized I didn't want to live my life in fear and I planned to rely on my supportive of my Christian community during this tumultuous time.
Upon announcement of the "divorce," my previous life also crumbled. People I'd considered friends said:
"Divorce is wrong. You HAVE to stay."
"You will be tainted and no one will ever want to marry you after being divorced."
"You'll never be the same."
"You should go to counseling instead."
"Every marriage has problems. You just need to work through this."
"You're being selfish."
"I'm praying for you."
I couldn't believe it.
My ears were still ringing, my foot throbbing after my last "incident" with my husband, and my supposed best friend tells me to stay. Through the fear, through the tears, through the pain.
And when I did, my departure from my marriage included my "friends." People I'd called friends told me that I was no good; I was worthless; I was a terrible person.
My social calendar dried up. I was no longer invited to parties. I was no longer called to chat. Before the divorce papers were filed, I'd get phone calls all day from people trying to sway me from divorcing my abusive husband.
Once the papers had been filed, my phone was silent excepting the calls from my ex, which I let go to voicemail. I couldn't listen to the voicemails as his screaming found me shaking with anxiety.
I made new friends. I met a wonderful man who loves me for who I am. A man that loves me not in spite of questioning nature, but because of it. My parents and family remain accepting. If it's possible, I love them even more now.
Of all the loss and all the pain, I feel the most betrayed by my previous life. I feel lied to. I was told of love; of acceptance; of faith.
Little did I know that the price for this was the unwavering belief in exactly everything I was told. Little did I know that the moment I questioned, the moment I stepped outside the happy little box, I would no longer feel that love.
My new friends said:
"I'm going to let you stay with me as you're afraid to go home."
"I'm driving you to work to help you save money as your husband took all of it out of your account."
I'm going to listen to you pour your heart to me as long as you need."
I'm giving you my shoulder to cry on."
I was told: "I'm praying for you."
Over the years following, my faith has changed.
I don't feel the how is relevant, suffice to say things are much different today. My parents remain a wonderful, supportive part of my life and as a small, glimmering reminder of Christianity.
Through the divorce, I lost most of the friends I'd known my whole life. They disappeared back into their world and left me with tarnished memories and a Facebook friendship or two. I'm deeply aware that not all religious groups are like mine was.
It's been a struggle, but I'm happy with my life.
This is my simple religion.
"There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." -Dalai Lama
Have any of you, The Band, been through this sort of behavior following a divorce?
We at Band Back Together are so saddened by the devastation in Oklahoma.
We are thinking of those experiencing such hurt, such pain, and so much loss.
It's unfathomable to us that Mother Nature could do something so horrible, despite having experienced it time and time again. We shake our heads, stare blankly at our television sets, and hold our breath each time the numbers are reported.
Loss. Pain. Devastation.
Loved ones missing. So many tears shed.
The children. So many children.
Our hearts hurt as we try to process what has happened. We cannot understand. We are sure we never will.
As in any disastrous situation, we understand what you're experiencing. We, the Band, feel it, too.
And we remind you and encourage you to take care of yourselves during this time. It's okay to feel sad. We all do. It's okay to cry. Sometimes crying is the best "medicine," regardless of what *they* say about laughter.
But we remind you to remember that you don't have to find yourself immersed in the news, the reports and the details. You can grieve for those who have lost without losing yourself in the process.
It's okay to walk away from the coverage, avoid social media for a bit, don't click into that video of areas hit by this. You know what's happened. You - yourself - don't need to feel pummeled by the reports of it all.
Find a way to channel your emotions and anxiety. Write. (We'd love to hear from you.) Sing. Run. Eat. It's okay, many of us are looking for a way to process this painful experience.
And it's also okay to feel it and be impacted even if you aren't in the area. Even if you don't actually find yourself knowing anyone who is. You're human. Your emotions are your own. You are allowed to feel.
We send our love and strength to those impacted by these tragic events, and hope that they know that they have the army that is The Band beside them.
If you find yourself looking for answers or resources, please consider reviewing some of these Band Back Together resource pages.
And if you need to, reach out.
Natural Disaster Resources
Emotional Shock Resources
Child Loss Resources
Remember there's still time to submit your posts for this month's I Am The Face Of... World Tour theme, because we are all The Face Of something. One of the most important things we can do in our lives is to share our experiences so that we can learn, heal, and grow. What are you the face of?
We always welcome posts from older World Tours. The I Am Me Project is a great one; it helped me tap into my core and to accept myself as a whole. A Letter I Can't Send is a way to let out those words that you just can't say to someone. In A Letter To My Younger Self, you could write the words you needed to hear or give your younger self advice.
You can share other stories with us as well. Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- Where do you find your power? How do you use it?
- Are you where you want to be in your life? In your career? In your relationships? In the world? If not, why not? If you are, how did you get there?
- What was your very first date like?
- What makes you happiest?
- What is your most favorite memory?
- What is your favorite way to take care of yourself?
- What does freedom mean to you? How do you set yourself free?
- What do you do to relax?
Share your stories in this place without fear of being stigmatized or ridiculed. Band Back Together is a place where we can come to find support and resources. Come share your story with us in this warm, supportive place.
Do you like to volunteer? You should totally volunteer and get With The Band!
If you or someone you know would like to volunteer with the Brains Behind The Band, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know if you have questions.
Send an email to email@example.com, and we'll make sure to get your question in front of the right eyes.
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Have a great rest of your week!
In the United States about 78 million adults have high blood pressure, which can lead to heart and kidney damage.
This is her story.
If we're getting technical about it, my chart says "Primary Idiopathic Hypertension." Translated, that means "We have no idea why your blood pressure is high. Here are some pills."
I've had high blood pressure since I was eighteen.
In the beginning, no one even tried to figure out why. My doctor at the time just looked at my readings, said it probably explained my headaches, and sent me home with some medication. It worked, so I took it and didn't think anything about it.
Several years later, another doctor told me how unusual it was for someone to have high blood pressure at my age and proceeded to do every test she could think of. Cortisol tests, an MRI to make sure I didn't have a shunt, and metabolic blood tests galore. They all came back completely normal and the doctor wrote my prescription as always and sent me home. I think she was actually a little disappointed.
This has gone on for years now and I manage it by taking my medication (three kinds now!), watching my sodium and caffeine, and exercising. The only thing that seems to make a difference is the medication, though. As always.
My favorite part about having high blood pressure is the body-shaming. I have lost count of how many doctors have told me "if you just lost some weight your blood pressure would be normal."
I wish it was that easy.
When I was first diagnosed, I was just this side of underweight. At one point I weighed well over two hundred pounds. When I lost sixty, my blood pressure didn't change. Not one point. I try to explain this to the doctors and they just don't listen. None of them. And it feels just great to be told how fat you are when the medication you're on is what caused the weight gain in the first place.
Judging from the way my life has gone so far, I'll never be able to completely go off my medication. If I were to become a champion marathon runner, I would probably still be on it. I don't love it, but there it is.
For the rest of my life I'll have to have blood tests to check my kidneys, eye exams to check my retinas, and use my home pressure monitor to make sure I'm still in the right range because untreated hypertension can cause all kinds of horrors. Sometimes if my readings are off, I get dizzy and disoriented. Sometimes I get headaches. Occasionally my feet and hands will swell.
The point is, you can never tell what someone else has going on inside them. I hear "You have high blood pressure? But you're so young!" all the time. I didn't ask for it. I certainly don't enjoy it. But I can do my best to control it.
I am the face of high blood pressure.
Now where did those pills go?
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