What I Really Mean When I Say ‘I’m Okay’

Dev Benjamin

I wish I knew what was wrong. I wish I knew why tears swell in my eyes and fall down my face. Or why there seems to be a stubborn grey cloud inside my head looming over every moment, that I can’t blow away. I wish I could explain why I feel so empty, and why feeling empty is scarier than feeling anything at all. I wish I could force out the darkness, I wish I could make it go away.

When I think of that night, I’m filled with self loathing, filled with fear and hurt. Everyone says what he did was wrong, that he had no right to take advantage of my sleeping body. That even though my first answer had been yes, the moment I said no should have been enough to keep him away. But when I look back on that night, I can’t help but blame myself. The choices were mine and mine alone, the shots at the bar, getting into his car and following him home.

I don’t hate him because I’ve made my peace with the fact that I hold part of the blame. My family and closest friends want me to report him, but I can’t. I don’t believe he’s a bad guy, that he meant to hurt me, and I don’t want to hurt him. What I do want, is to tell him how he made me feel. I wish I could tell him what it felt like to wake up in the middle of the night with him inside me. I wish he could see the tears that were streaming down my face, when I told him “no” and he continued thrusting, continued insisting that it would be okay. I wish I could tell him that he made me feel dirty, like trash on the roadside that was free for the taking. I wish he knew how I wanted to be anywhere but in his bed. I want him to know these things so that he can think before he acts the next time he brings someone home, before he makes another girl feel the way he made me feel.

And I’m sorry. I’m sorry to my family—for putting them through this nightmare, for making them hurt for me. I’m sorry to my friends, my friends who can’t do anything but listen to me speak nonsense from the sidelines. But most of all, I’m sorry to my body. I am sorry that I did not respect you enough that night to remove myself from the situation before things went so horribly wrong. I’m sorry for the time that has passed since that night, for refusing to feed you, for welcoming physical pain to alleviate the mental burden. I’m sorry for the sleepless nights and tear filled moments. I’m sorry that I don’t know why I feel this way, that I don’t know what’s going on in my head, what’s allowing me to so easily cause you harm.

I wish I knew what was wrong- so that I could fix the problem. So that when my friends and family ask how I’m doing, I can be honest. But for now, I know I’ve had better days and that there have been worse, so I guess if you’d like to know how I’m doing, the answer is I’m “okay.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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