One year and three months ago, at the age of 22, I got a tattoo. If I lift up my left arm, you’d be able to see a small tattoo of a pineapple.
Why a Pineapple?
One year and three months ago, while laying down getting the tattoo done, I was asked the now super common question: “Why a pineapple?”. One person assumed it’s because I’m from Hawaii, which I’m not. Another assumed it’s because I’m simply obsessed with the fruit, again, which I am not. I explained to them that five months prior I had ran across the saying that goes:
Be a pineapple.
Stand tall, wear a crown,
and be sweet on the inside
I told them that I really love that saying and to top it off, my first name means “crowned one”. They took my reasoning at face value and didn’t give my pineapple tattoo any further thought. Of course I love the saying, but there is a backstory that one year and three months ago, at the age of 22, I was too embarrassed and ashamed to tell: that getting the pineapple tattoo was a decision to change the way I live my life forever.
At the age of about 12 I was molested. I can’t remember exactly how long it went on for but I know it wasn’t for more than a year. In the span of that year, I was molested at least four times (that I can actively recall). I can even remember the moment that started it all and to this day, thinking about that moment triggers a raging fire inside me that inflames my whole body and mind.
At age 12, I was scared of the physical abuse that would follow if I resisted. At age 12, I experienced feelings that I had no choice but to feel. I had no control over the feelings that, growing up, I was told to save for the right man. At age 12, those “sacred” feelings were stolen from me, over and over. It was instilled in my mind that I had to give in, I had no choice, or else I would get in trouble or rejected or looked down upon. I carried this mindset with me up until a year and three months ago, nearly 10 years later. For 10 years, I thought of myself as an object, not respecting myself as an individual and allow myself to be respected the way a young woman should.
From age 12 and throughout high school, we are all trying to find out who we are, trying to define ourselves; but, I was already defined. Being molested defined me as worthless. Because if that person was capable of doing that to me, I obviously didn’t mean much. I obviously had no value. For 10 years, I chose to merely be accepted, rather than respected.
For 10 years,
I chose to merely be accepted,
rather than respected.
For 10 years, I cried and cried and had recurring nightmares about being molested. I would tell those closest to me about what happened and, although it helped to talk about it, I still felt worthless.
Growing up in church, I was always reminded that Jesus loves me. This I know, but never fully grasped. Because how could anyone love me? I felt used and I barely loved myself. For 10 years, I’ve given into people I knew I shouldn’t have. I grasped the idea that males just wanted one thing – they were sweet and kind just to get inside my pants. And I would let them.
After the age of 12, sexual things didn’t seem serious to me. Something that was so carelessly taken from me couldn’t possibly be that important, right? At least that’s what I thought. Throughout those 10 years I let my past and corresponding insecurities get the best of me, poisoning just about every relationship I had (or getting myself into ones that I knew I shouldn’t have been in, in the first place). For 10 years, I felt weak. I knew I was weak! It took a lot of prayer and chipping away to get to where I am today – age 23, and stronger than ever.
It took a lot of prayer
and chipping away to get
to where I am today
– age 23, and stronger than ever.
Ten years after being molested I came across this saying that tells me that I need to wake up and recognize that I am much more than a girl that has been sexually abused. It tells me to stand tall – to pick myself up from my past, to be strong and confident in myself and that I am more than just my body.
It tells me to wear a crown – to hold myself in high regards and to put myself first. Lastly, it reminds me to be sweet on the inside – that although I come first, stay kind to others and remember that I have gone through a tough journey and others may be going through a tough journey as well.
At first glance you wouldn’t be able to tell that I have a tattoo unless I expose it. The same goes with my past. No one can tell at face value that I’ve been through what I’ve been through unless I bring it up. Not that I put on a mask to hide it all, but I’ve made the decision to move forward with my life and grow from it, to use what has happened to me to help others and be there for them.
It’s always beneficial to remember that everyone is unique in retrospect to what we’ve been through. We all have different stories and backgrounds and no one should be judged based on what we see at face value, because there is usually a lot more going on under the surface.