Letters To My Younger Self: Rebekah Ratto
It’s been eight years today. Eight years since your life turned upside down and everything changed. Right now, you are sitting in a hospital coming to terms with being assaulted by someone you considered a close friend. At least for right now you will only call it assault, as you begin to find your voice again you will call it was, it is rape.
Right now, everything feels dark. You are angry with yourself, you think you shouldn’t have been drinking. You think your body betrayed you. Right now, it feels like you will never feel ok again. Well I am sitting on the other side of 8 years and I can tell you it is going to get worse, but then, much to your surprise, it will get better. I know it feels like you will not survive this, but you will find a strength within yourself you did not know existed. You will survive the police refusing to try your case, the school finding your attacker not guilty. Then when you think life is no longer worth living, when you are at your lowest, you will survive being kicked out of the school you considered home.
I won’t lie and say that this is going to be easy. You will still have flashbacks where it will feel like the rape is happening all over again. You will still have days when you blame yourself for what happened. What I can tell you is you will find a version of yourself that you did not know existed, and you will find it in the most unexpected place, running. That’s right, you are now a runner. The girl who always walked the mile in school has now run two half marathons. Some days you still hate it, but many more days it makes you feel strong.
You will learn to treat your body kindly and begin to heal the damaged relationship you have had with food for far too long. You will even run in your sports bra! You will learn how welcoming and encouraging the running community is, they are not the jocks you knew in high school.
You can survive this. You will survive this. It may never fully stop hurting but there is a wonderful and exciting life waiting for you on the other side. Keep going.