There was a time when I was a young sailor that had seen many injustices to myself and to others. During this time in my life I began a relationship with someone I loved and valued deeply; as a friend. I had been raped several times by that point in my life and I was constantly being harassed by other members in my command for sex. I began dating this man because he was smart, funny, and made me feel safe-plus almost all of the harassment stopped as soon as it become known amongst us lower enlisted personnel that I belonged to him. We had a great time for about a year, but the closer I came to my separation from the Navy, the more I started to panic about his upcoming extension which was to be followed by a cruise with the rest of my friends I had made the last three or so years I had been in Virginia Beach.

He began going on detachments for training and when he was gone the harassment would start back up. Slowly at first, but always there lurking around the dark corner entrance of my empty bedroom. My guy was not very good at communication and hated talking on the phone even more. I began to feel isolated and panic even more at the thought of being alone and I began to seek a new relationship to fill the void.

I eventually reunited with a friend I had known since my mom and stepfather’s marriage at the age of seven. We decided we were going to attempt to start our lives over as we had both suffered tragedies during our short twenty-three years on earth. As my separation date encroached with warp speed, we grew closer together while my guy all but disappeared behind a computer monitor. I cheated on him and finally broke up with him after I left my command so I could not be charged with fraternization if things went ugly. We communicated on and off and eventually he left to go to sea.

Things with my destined roommate deteriorated quickly and before I knew it I was relying on coins to surrvive. After much turmoil, I left my latest home in Newport News and reluctantly come back to Arkansas, but a completely different corner than where I was raised. I quickly got a job and apartment but realized even in Arkansas and in an old one bedroom apartment my minimum wage job and unreliable hours were going to require me to have a roomate.

I started looking around work for possibilities and realized there were no real possibilities. I did have a new intrest in my love life at the moment and we ultimately decided to move in with one another. After my then ex-Navy guy got off cruise a few months later I found out he was still expecting to move to Arkansas for us to be together. I panicked and told him to keep in touch and we would see how things went.

He did not call many times the next couple of months, so I continued my living arrangements. One of my squadron mates was being transferred back to the west coast and stopped to visit on his journey across the country. He informed me my guy still had intentions of moving in with me but I needed to let him know what I was planning on doing. I got mad. I never answered his calls again. We finally were on each others MySpace for awhile but he eventually deleted me, as I rightfully deserved. I never got to apologize for that series of terrible treatment, but I hope he knows I am truly, very sorry for it.

Since that time I have been treated the same way by many people. I always thought I deserved it because karma was paying me back. I have vowed since then to try to be as honest and open with others as possible, avoid the silent treatment when I really want to use it, and try to meet each person with respect where they are currently at.

If you do not want to do, say, answer, dress, come, go, just say so. People can handle the truth much easier than they can handle being lied to and then finding out about it at a later date. It seems like the more invested we become in social media and technology the easier it is to block others from our lives rather than civilly discussing matters and continuing or ending relationships from there.

I have vowed since 2006, when I did this to my friend, a friend I miss deeply and valued greatly, to speak my words when necessary. I take time off if need be, but I will always let whomever it is know that I simply need space. I hope that they know I will always hold space for them as well, and if they ever wish to return, I’ll give them back their space.

 

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