This Is What It’s Like Living With Trauma

*trigger warning: sexual assault*

It’s been seven years since I was sexually assaulted. There’s a part of me that feels lucky. Maybe because my experience wasn’t as bad as others’ (though still traumatizing nonetheless). Maybe because I survived it. Or maybe because I’m healing.

Some days are easy and the world is open and golden and I feel lucky. But there are days when the world feels bleak. Like maybe I’ll be living and loving in fear for the rest of my life and that’s just how it’s going to be for me.

I’ve always been a believer in love. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. I’m a hopeless romantic and I own that part of me because it comes so easy to me. When it comes to intimacy, though, it’s difficult. I feel less in control. I think about him, his hands, his fingers, how they slithered around my neck. My body tightens and even if I feel safe with the person I’m with, there’s a part of me that forces me to relive it all. There’s a voice in my head saying, Feel this, the pain. Here it is again.

I don’t know why I can’t forget about it, but maybe I’m not supposed to. I mean, trauma is a heavy burden. I mean, I know there’s a difference between sex therapy and using sex as a means of therapy, but nonetheless, I am still learning how to heal. I am still learning how to come to terms with the fact that crying after sex isn’t the prettiest thing I’ve done, but that’s okay, and letting someone in–someone good, someone safe–is a way of coping, and that’s okay too.

Soon, I’ll no longer think Feel this, the pain, but rather, You’re okay. You’re safe. You’re healing. Maybe one day I’ll think like that.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Let’s all be a little kinder to each other, okay?


Brooklyn-based poet, writer, avid coffee drinker, and music lover.

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