I was born ashamed. I was an unwanted pregnancy and it shamed me to know I made my mom angry. I focused on staying out of her way, spending most of my time sheltering in my room. But I felt like that pissed her off even more. Maybe I was oversensitive. Or maybe she targeted me as an outlet to her trauma. I didn’t ask to “be”, but there I was. Ashamed to be.

When I was 4, I was costumed in a frilly dress and taught to be ashamed if I didn’t keep my knees together went I sat, just like my big sisters did. When I was 12, I was embarrassed by my changing body. I tried to hide my breasts by binding them so I could play baseball with the boys without distracting them. As I continued maturing, boys began to notice my shape and I felt guilty about my own body’s natural sexual physiology.

I remember one day, as we were getting in the car to go shopping, my mom started yelling at me. It seemed out of nowhere and I was blindsided when she screamed, “If you ever get pregnant, don’t you DARE have an abortion because that would be MY grandchild you’re killing!”. I remember staring at her in shock. I was 15 years old and had never had a boyfriend.

A year later, I did have a boyfriend. He told me he always knew he was going to marry me, “the girl with the big tits”. I felt humiliated. The boy had been stalking me, staring at me through the window as I walked by his high school English class.

That boy sexually abused me. He valued me by how “fuckable” I was. He fucked me in his room, in my room, in the woods, on a building site, on a bridge, in the car…he fucked me wherever and whenever he could.

And I married him because he said he loved me.

The boy impregnated me twice. But I wanted to be a mom. Besides the fact that I didn’t dare abort my mother’s grandchildren, I’d always wanted babies of my own to nurture. I hope they know how much I loved them.

While I was married to the boy, the father of my babies, I was his personal porn star. He forced me to have constant sex, sometimes up to six times a day. He made me dress in kinky lingerie and he made me watch porn. He denigrated me and I was ashamed.

My children’s’ dad coerced me to send him nudes when he was at work. Even though it scared and humiliated me, I sent them because it was easier to placate him than to face the consequences of defying him. He also expected me to be waiting naked in bed when he came home…every single night. I did as he wanted and I was ashamed. That boy controlled my sexuality and my autonomy. He felt entitled to interfere with all of my relationships, primarily the ones with men.

The boy tried to kill me because of one particular friendship I had with a man. And after that murder attempt, I went into a trauma-infused meltdown. In a drunken, benzo-induced rant, I posted sexy selfies on social media and I screamed that he tried to kill me in a funeral pyre. I screamed that he murdered my dog. I screamed that I failed to rescue my dog. I screamed because I was just SO ashamed. My family saw my posts. They decided I was a disgusting, reprehensible, horrible excuse for a mother. They determined it was my fault that the boy poured gasoline in my family room and set it ablaze. And I was ashamed.

My children said they didn’t believe their dad abused me. They didn’t believe he set my home on fire to kill me. They pitied him because it was obvious that I’d driven him to violence. And I was ashamed.

I was born ashamed. And I will die ashamed.

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