TRIGGER WARNING - Raw, Real and Emotional Phoenix Session

I met M through a mutual friend. I had made a recent post about my Phoenix sessions - what they mean to me and my reasons for doing them. Shortly after my friend, J, added her friend M, to the group.

M messaged me right away asking about my Phoenix sessions and how she could schedule one. We talked about her story and about her vision for her session. She surprised the hell out of me when she said she wanted to return to the location where her assault took place for her session. This is something I just dont know that I could do. To be that open, honest and raw in a place where my body was violated, yeah, I just dont know that I could do that. But, that's exactly what she wanted and that's exactly what we did.

J, M and I rode out to the location together. You could tell how nervous M was on the ride there. I knew how nervous I was and could feel her anxiety. When we arrived she pointed to "the rock" where the assault took place, next to the river. It was absolutely freezing but the mood and feel of the area made it seem somehow colder. We tried to find the best and easiest route to the rock. We have had A LOT of rain and the river was high. Most of the normally exposed ground and rocks were submerged. We did find a route to get her to the rock safely. She trembled as she looked at the rock, you could feel her hatred and fear of it.

She found her courage and was able to sit on the rock. She pointed out that it was important to her to be facing the same direction she was that day. She spun around and J and I moved to the opposite side of the rock to be able to capture her story more appropriately.

I always begin my Phoenix sessions by saying, "Tell me your story." As they talk, I snap. I capture the real, raw and sometimes heartbreaking facial expressions of these special clients. There isnt any way to hide your emotions in that kind of situation. I do my very best to help my clients work through their emotions. I am not a therapist, but I have been through my own horrible experiences and I try to bring a soothing, calming and comforting energy to these sessions and to my clients.

M told her story. It was heartbreaking. It was WAY too close to my own. It was hard to hear on my end, and gut wrenching for M to speak. She worked her way through her story. Through her coping mechanisms. Through her plans for the future. For her goals for herself. I offered affirmations and self love options that I have found to work or that have been passed onto me to pass onto others.

I cried during her session. I mean ugly cried. Behind my camera. With M dealing with her own demons and J behind me recognizing the courage in her friend. It was very emotional, for all of us.

When it was over, I told her how brave she was. How perfect and wonderful and worthy. That she is enough. That she is not to blame for anything that happened TO her. She is only responsible for her own actions and these, were not her own. I gave her homework. I told her I would check on her, J said that same and we parted ways.

I told her I needed her to write her story. Just sit and write and see what comes out. I needed it to be able to accurately share her story.

It only took her a few days to have her entire story written and I would like to, with her permission, share her story with you all today.

So much love, light and blessings to you M. We are one in the same. We are not a statistic. We are so much more than that. There are so many like us. So many wounded and carrying the baggage that does not belong to us. We will survive. We will continue to tell our stories to assure others that they too can and will survive.


Mariah's Story

"I was 14 years old and icq and MySpace were the best thing ever. I was added by this super cute jock from the school close by so my day was kind of made. We talked a little bit and then one weekend my best friend at the time asked me if I wanted to go swimming with her, her bf, and his friend (the jock) I of course said yes!!! So my mom 20 questioned me about where we are going, what we are doing, who’s all going, etc. I put on my favorite tshirt (it was a faded purple color), my best shorts, and I wanted to wear my new undies to feel “sexy” underneath, they were cream and blue lace. Which were my first and only pair as my mom wouldn’t buy them for me as I wasn’t ‘old enough’ for lace undies.

My friend picks me up and we start heading towards the river. We get there my friend and her bf linger by the cars. So ‘the jock’ asks me if I want to head down to the river. I said “yeah sure”. We head down and sit on this rock. We start making small talk and he just starts kissing me and touching me, rubbing my boobs, pulling on the belt loops on my jeans, starts tugging on the button. And I....I feel frozen! Inside my head is full blown panic mode!! I don’t know what the hell to do or say or not to do or not to say. So I knew swim trunks, as he was wearing those and a tshirt, don’t have pockets so he doesn’t have anything with him. I very firmly and panic in my voice tell him “no sex without a condom” and I said that because I knew, well I hoped he’d stop and go away and try to find one and I would have time. Time for what you might ask? Well time to think and plan and talk to myself. Figure out what the hell I’m going to do. I knew what he wanted and I knew he was going to get it one way or another, he had this look in his eyes. I can’t out run him, can’t fight him off, I can’t over power him. I’m powerless compared to him. So I’m flipping out to myself, inside my head that is. Outside my head I’m frozen and I’m just sitting on ‘this rock’. I’m yelling at myself maybe he can’t find a condom and he won’t try anymore or he finds one then what do you do. I didn’t want to be ‘that girl’ or a number or a statistics or any of that. So he comes walking back all proud because he has a condom. So fear sets in and he comes over to me and he doesn’t say anything nor wastes any time his shorts are off and condoms on. He never says a word to me. I’m scared to death!!! What do I do?! What do I say!!? Next thing I know my shorts are off and thrown and he’s pulling at my undies and I’m frozen can’t move and he just grabs them and total hulk moment and rips them right in half. A piece lands up by my head and the next thing I know he shoves himself inside me and I try to push him back as it hurt, like really hurt, but he doesn’t even flinch. I moaned out a No in pain but he just smirks at me and thrusts harder. So this is the moment where I’m telling myself to just give in, just let him, don’t become a number, don’t become a statistics. So I just turn my head, stare at the piece of lace undies, and just wait for it to be over as in my head I am screaming for him to stop and that I don’t want this!!! I just wanted to go swimming!!!!!! It feels like hours go bye but it was minutes and he his finally done. He is out of me and fixing himself and I’m still laying there, lifeless. He doesn’t say anything just gives me that shit ass smirk again. And I feel sick to my stomach. I sit up and collect myself as best I can. Find my shorts, put them on and feel real weird about not having any undies to put on.

We head back to the cars. We get in opposite cars and my friend looks at me smiling and she asked “well how was it? Did you have fun” And I just smiled. What the hell was I supposed to say to that?! She takes me home I get out of the car and she says “ I’ll see ya later” and I just smile again. I go inside and my moms in the kitchen and she says “ohh hunnie what happened” and I freeze!! I can’t tell her!! I can’t hurt her like that!!! I just say huh cause I really wasn’t paying attention and I’m trying to figure out what she’s referring too. So I thinking quick and she asked again “hunnie what happened...what happened to your shorts they’re all muddy” and I get this sense of relief. And I smile and semi laugh and say “oh that lol. I slipped and fell into mud” and she just shakes her head and says “well go spray them with spray n wash, I’ll wash them and it’ll be like it never happened” so I did just that. I sprayed my shorts and threw them in the washer and washed it away. It never happened! I never talked about it or said about it, nothing! I dealt with it and coped by drowning myself in alcohol and sleeping with whoever I wanted with no feelings attached. I felt almost like a black widow. I always had to be on top and the moment I got off I was done and would get up get dressed and leave. Pissed a lot of males off doing that but I didn’t care!!

I had two serious relationships but they both ended. The most recent ended over a year ago and I was sad but I was bound and determined to be truly happy with myself and find myself again. And I was doing just that and loving every damn second of it!! I wanted nothing to do with a relationship or males really. I would just hang out with my girlfriends and do my own thing. Well one night I went to an early dinner at a local bar close to home with the girls and we talked and had a couple beers and just hung out and caught up. Well the girls were ready to go home but I wasn’t. So I stayed at the bar and hung out with a buddy of mine who I haven’t seen in a while. I’m drinking water at this point even though I only had two beers with dinner but because I was supposed to have work the next day I didn’t want to chance a headache. So we’re sitting there talking and catching up and I eventually get another beer but still drinking water. And he walks in the door. The jock walks in the door and I make eye contact with him and it’s like time stood still and it was just him and I in semi back story two weeks prior I had seen him out for the first time in 10 years and I had to leave the back we where we are, I tell my buddy like who that is and he’s all “ want me to beat him up” and I say no we’re just going to ignore him. So we do and time passes and I get another beer and the jock comes up to me and tried talking and I ignore him and he’s trying to talk again and I’m ignoring and then he says “why do you hate me? What did I ever do to you to make you hate me?!” And I go from ignoring him to I’m gonna kill him in seconds! I spin around on my chair so fast and ask “the fuck did you just say to me” and he kind of laughs and looks panicked and he repeats himself. So now I’m pissed!!! Now I want to kill him and just yell and scream at the top of my lungs. But I don’t. I grab my beer and chug half of it and tell him “you want to know why I hate you, you really want to know” he of course says yes so we go outside to talk. We sit outside and I just explode. I'm yelling at him, calling him names, telling him what he did to me. And then he starts crying which really just pissed me off. So I smack him across the face and tell him he doesn’t get to cry. He isn’t allowed to be sad he doesn’t have any rights too. And he’s apologizing and blah blah blah. Saying he doesn’t remember, he was a drug head then and blah blah blah. So I say I’m done talking and go back inside. As I’m walking in the door my buddy who was watching my beer and purse and that is coming out of the bathroom. I think nothing of it, then... I go sit back down my buddy asks if I’m okay I say yes and take two sips out of my beer and I say I’m going home. So I hug him and he asks me to text him when I get home and walk out the door. Walk up to my car and the jock appears again wanting to apologize more and I just say I don’t want your apology it means nothing leave me alone, go away and then I just start bawling. So he leaves I get into my car. I look down at my steering wheel and then boom it’s curtains!!! I remember nothing!!! 10 hours of nothing.

I was going home 3 minutes down the road. I was woke up 30 minutes from my home by a PSP at 8am. I was scared shitless and had no idea where I was or how I got there. He asked me why I was there and I panicked and said I was too tired to drive home so I just slept there (LIE). He told me I was free to leave and I flew home. I get home and I go back to bed because I was exhausted. I slept until 12:30pm woke up and felt like I was hit repeatedly by a Mac truck. Everything hurt and was sore and I felt just horrible. I check my phone and I have messages from my buddy and best friend asking where I am did I make it home, etc. so I’m trying to piece together what happened and why I can’t remember 10 hours worth of time and everything. I’m texting my sister as well who is panicking telling me I need to go to the er to get evaluated. I don’t feel violated but I definitely do not feel right. So I get up and get in my car and head to my sisters house so she can go with me cause I sure as hell am not going alone. I’m still just confused at this point. We get to the er and wait a while and then it’s time for me to like check in and the lady asks me “what brings you in today” and I freeze. Can’t talk my hearts racing, I look at my sister and the flood gates open and tears just pour down my face. She looks at the lady and says “I brought my sister here today because she thinks she was drugged last night and doesn’t remember 10 hours of her night” and I just think “ohhh fuck here we go again” except this time, this time I’m telling someone potentially what happened. Talk about a trigger!!!! All the emotions from 10 years ago and 14yr old me came rushing back. It’s like I’m back there all over again. So I panic and don’t want to do this anymore and want to go home and just put spray n wash on it, wash it, and it’ll be like it never happened. And my sister goes “I don’t ever tell you want you can and cannot do, but this, this Mariah I’m telling you, you need to find out if you are okay!! You need to get looked at.” So I shake my head and accept her response and begin the process. We do the full rape kit. I was photographed and swabbed and samples taken and they took my clothes off inch by inch and I felt violated all over again!!! I spend hours on the er telling my new story again and again all while feeling like I was back on that rock 10 years ago. I do everything I’m asked to do and all the samples were taken from me except one. My urine. Roofalin lasts in your system for 12-14 hours. I was already racing the clock with that. My er doctor didn’t want to take my urine he said we had enough samples for the kit. The detective who was in my room the entire time who hadn’t really talked yet finally spoke up and said how urine must be collected as part of the kit as well. So finally I got to pee after holding it for hours upon hours. So now I’m wanting all the drugs for stds and I want plan b just to be on the safe side and my doctor is refusing me it because he doesn’t believe in plan b and I’m so pissed and swearing and I look at the detective and told him to get another note pad as I’m pressing charges on the doctor for refusing me medical treatment. So they get the head of the hospital doctor who’s at home sleeping to give them orders over the phone for these medicines and the detective asks me hundreds of questions and I tell my story again. And I kept saying I don’t want to be seen as I’m crying wolf because I don’t know what happened but I didn’t black out from drinking I know how many I had and I was sober when I left the bar I left my beer half full. He finishes his questions and writes everything down and he closed his notepad and his looks at me and says “I’d love to tell you this is only case like this or that this will be last case like this, but sadly it isn’t. But I will tell you that I believe you” and I didn’t know then just how badly I needed to hear that!! Or what him telling me, a complete stranger telling me that he believed me would actually do for me!! Especially with the days/months to follow. My urine test came back first and because the doctor argued with us for so long my urine was taken at hour 15 and there was no traces of drugs in my system and I knew right there that I was never going to get answers for be believed or anything. And I once again turned to alcohol to cope and deal because I didn’t want to feel anything!! Nothing.

February of this year my world changed and my boyfriend and I had no choice and were given his newborn niece to care for as his sister was fighting for her life. We went from drinking every night because that how I was dealing with everything to not being able to drink at all because I now was responsible for a new innocent life who needed me for everything and little did I know at the time that I needed her more. She saved me!!! We had her for over 3 months and the last month we had her I received a call from the PSP with my results of the kit. My results were negative for semen and body fluids other than my own. They did find other hairs on my body that were not mine but they weren’t able to determine whos or what they were and my psp officer told me that since my urine came back clean there was nothing more they could do unless I knew for sure whole drugged me. I thanked him for his time, he told me to have a great day, we hung up and I just sat there with all my feelings and thoughts. And I wanted to reach for some wine right then and there. I almost did until I heard the faint cooing of the baby over the monitor as she awoke from her nap just as happy as could be.

I no longer take care of her daily but I see her frequently and I still am thankful for her being thrown into my life. I still struggle from time to time and I have good days and I have bad. But I am surviving! I will not let them win! I will not let them take from me anymore than what they already have!

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