Processing Relationships After Sexual Assault

“Understanding Me” gives insight into my mind and the way I process romantic relationships. After my sexual assault and after getting cheated on, I come across as hesitant and detached in romantic relationships. This poem explains how and why I feel damaged or broken and why I believe I am difficult to love, and how my first instinct is to push people away so they do not have the deal with the mess that is me. I’ve never been able to explain why I am so guarded until I wrote this poem. Now, I am finally beginning to love myself, and hopefully, in the future, I will be more receptive to those that love me.

[Read Related: Reclaiming my Sexuality After Assault]

Understanding Me

I struggle to keep you close
Because I’d rather push you away
It is easier for me if you leave
Because of something I did
And it is much harder for me if you leave
Because I am not enough

I struggle to love myself
Because I am not me without my demons
It is my demons that make me ugly
Because of the mark my abusers left
These marks are so horrifying
I wonder if anyone could ever love them

I struggle to believe you love me
Because I cannot understand why you would
It is my inability to see my strength
Because I have always succumbed to pain
And it is disturbing to me that you could possibly
Because to love me means you love my pain

I struggle to stop loving the toxicity
Because I believe that is all that exists for me
It is my attitude that convinces me all I deserve is difficulty
Because I am difficult to those that love me
These difficulties prove worthless when your safety leaves me
Because although it is addicting, the toxicity electrifies me

I struggle to feel whole
Because I know parts of me belong to another
It is my ugly parts that my abusers keep
Because they created those parts the second they snatched my innocence
And it is cruel of me to ask you to love only parts of me
Because I may never be able to love you with my whole self

I struggle to trust you
Because I have been hurt
It is my past that haunts me
Because nobody else ever meant what they said
These lies terrify me even today
Because what if all you are is a beautiful liar

I struggle to truly live with myself
Because there is no point in living a damaged life
It is my self-loathing that cuts
Because I want to be in control of my own destiny
And it is unfair to feel broken
Because of someone else’s actions

Now if you still choose to love me
Despite all my struggles
You must be a divine figure
Because my struggles define my unworthiness

Who could love someone so broken
Who could love someone so complicated
Who could love someone so incomplete
Who could love someone so toxic
Who could love someone so unworthy
Who could love someone like me.

But then I realize you do love me…?
And saying that, believing that, feeling that
Takes getting used to
But I enjoy the process
Even if it is frustrating for you
But I do not expect you to understand
You have every right to be loved
But for me, it is a privilege
That you have granted me
And for that, I am forever indebted
Because I never really knew what it was like
To feel so loved, safe, secure, and cared for
But now I am learning to love myself
Because you still may leave tomorrow or the next day

You get angry when I suggest that
But progress comes in small steps
One day I feel loved
And the next I feel Ugly

So forgive me if I cannot believe
I am worthy of your love
Forgive me for struggling
To keep you close
Forgive me for struggling
To love myself
Forgive me for struggling
To believe you love me
Forgive me for struggling
To stop loving the toxicity
Forgive me for struggling
To feel whole
Forgive me for struggling
To trust you
Forgive me for struggling
To truly live with myself

And if you cannot forgive those struggles, those flaws, those vices,
Then do not bother loving me
Because I will crave your love
While giving you infinite reasons not to love me
For I am a complex individual
But I do not expect you to understand my struggles

I want you to embrace me whole and complete
Even though I can’t do that to myself
I want you to love me
Even though I tell you not to
Are you finally understanding me?
Are you finally understanding my struggles?

But you do not have to understand me
You do not have to understand my struggles
You just have to love me
Even though I have given you
The very reasons
Why you should not.

[Read Related: Sexual Misconduct-Our Perspectives on Looking Back and Revolutionizing]

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By Khushi Kanda

Khushi Kanda is currently a student at The College of New Jersey, pursuing a finance degree. On campus, she participates … Read more ›