Most of life is mundane, and my sexual assault was no exception. I woke up in my own bed with that particular feeling of something I almost remembered. I had been drinking. There was water on my nightstand. I drank it. As I shifted in my bed, I wondered: why was I wearing my shirt, and my necklace, but no pants, and no underwear? I moved my legs under my comforter, and realized that my pants were curled up against my ankles. I reached for my phone (also on my nightstand, a relief because I had a habit of drinking and leaving my belongings behind), and sent a text to the friend who had driven me home the previous night.
“Did we have sex last night?”
I waited for his response, already knowing the answer. I remembered I was at his family reunion party, he made us drinks, I’m always eager to keep up with the amount men drink, I finished his drink, too, I was chasing his nephew around the living room and he told me to stop being so cute, I was in a car. I was at a party, I was in the bathroom and my friend’s voice was on the other side of the door, I was in a car. I was vomiting out the door, the car was pulled over and I was vomiting again, he was standing on the side of my bed and I said I want you to fuck me and he said we already did, I woke up.
Lying in bed, wearing my shirt, and my necklace, I wrote back something with all-caps–but all-caps in a chill way, as a joke. “NOT COOL!” It’s always more serious if you use perfect grammar, spelling, capitalization. All-caps is inevitably a little bit of a joke. And I was chill, I wasn’t going to freak out about something like having sex I didn’t remember, I can take a joke. But other girls might freak out about it. I told him that it might be a big deal for someone else.
Like most of the other boys I know, he identifies as a feminist. He sent me a text block of apology, feeling bad and predatory, bad and like other men, he’s not like them, he feels bad. I told him those seemed like good things to talk about with someone else. I rolled over in bed.
A few days later I tried to masturbate and started dry heaving instead. I found myself betrayed, again, by my body. I had that almost-crying feeling, familiar from times that I’ve stopped myself from crying by screaming into towels, digging my fingernails into my palms. I got dressed, which meant leggings and jeans and a shirt and a jacket and a coat and a scarf and a hat and mittens, because it was the middle of the night, in winter, in Minnesota. I left my house and started walking in the cold until my legs became numb. I turned around because the whole thing seemed so dramatic. It shouldn’t be that big a deal. One time in college I got blackout drunk and had sex that I didn’t remember with someone whose name I didn’t know, and I made a joke about it the next day. That boy left his number on a piece of paper and I texted him.
He texted me wanting to meet up and get coffee. I told him I wasn’t interested.
I told a couple of friends that I “got really drunk, ugh” when they asked about my weekend. I got really drunk, ugh! I’m competitive–I was the captain of my college cross country team–and I especially love to win. I got so drunk, ugh! Like, as drunk as guys do, but no, it wasn’t exactly the same. I keep getting so drunk (ugh!). I can’t keep up, but if I keep going, I will. That’s how competing works, you keep going farther than everyone else can go, and then you win.
I stopped drinking for a few months and joked that I was straightedge, which was a joke that worked really well the last time I stopped drinking. I was about to have sex with a new boy who wore jewelry and had a therapist and went to workshops about microaggressions. I took my shirt off and told him that “it’s not a big deal, but one of my friends assaulted me a couple weeks ago, so if you could just, like, check in, that’d be great?” Then we had sex.
I unfollowed the first boy on Facebook because looking over and over at his profile meant that he kept showing up in my newsfeed unexpectedly. I wanted to keep looking at his profile, so I didn’t unfriend him. He posted something about body positivity recently.
And it’s not a big deal, now, really. It’s a thing that happened, like how I lived with three cats once, or how I bought new jeans last week, or how I get the green tea at the coffee shop down the block. I washed my sheets; it’s a thing that happened.
Anna Schmitz lives in Minneapolis, graduated from Macalester College in 2014, and writes increasingly weird blog posts for a small tech start-up.