my experiences (content warning: sexual grooming / abuse)

First off, thank you for anyone reading this. I appreciate yall listening to me.

Second off, I am proud of people coming forward and sharing their stories. It's difficult, but it needs to be done. Reading everything has really made me do some self-reflection about my own experiences and how they've impacted me to this day. Please continue to provide support to people and check on your friends in these times.

I have been pacing my room all day and night thinking about making this post. It's been eating me up inside. It has literally made me so anxious that I have felt physical pains and almost threw up, and I haven't been able to sleep. But I think in order for me to truly start healing and to move on from it, I need to say something.

Since the age of 12, I have been groomed and experienced sexual abuse.

With smash bros, I had my first ever sexual encounter with a man who was 18 when I was 12. He manipulated me into thinking it was okay, normal, and coerced me to send pictures of myself. It is still so hard for me to look back at that and think it was okay. He changed my entire worldview and tricked me into thinking it was normal to do things like that.

Unfortunately, it didn't stop there. I had been groomed again in the smash community when I was 15 by a man who was 30. Same cycle, same tricks, and I fell victim to it yet again. I was sharing space with my abuser and I felt as if I had to follow him and do as he said or else I would be nothing. I feel as if almost my entire youth has been taken away from me thinking about it now. Due to my vulnerability and abuse and neglect at home, these men convinced me that it was normal to turn to them and rely on them. I let them take advantage of me and use my body. They warped my entire feeling of self-worth to be reliant upon sex. And that in order to be loved, I had to view myself and others as sexual. It was and is disgusting. I am still on a journey to teach myself that I am more than someone who is capable of sex and that I am me, and I am Gage.

I've spent my whole life thinking that I was at fault - that I was disgusting, horrible, and wrong for doing those things. My parents one day found out about what I had done with these men and shamed me and punished me for months on end. They made me believe that I was a horrible person and should feel guilt forever.

Luckily, I don't think either of these men are in the smash community anymore, but I am constantly in fear of seeing them and feeling unsafe and not knowing what to do.

But I want to do what I can to move past that and heal. Hearing stories and reading what people have to say, it's helped me to finally understand that I was not to blame and that I was a victim.

As some of yall may know from my last twitlonger, I have not been doing that great. From my home life to my physical body, and to my mental health, I am struggling. I'm fighting a battle to not get back to a point where suicide is on my mind. It is so fucking hard to admit that. But I can't just keep acting as if I am always happy. And while it is absolutely necessary to see the posts and sharing that is going on in our community right now, it is opening up fresh wounds for me and making me re-live a lot of my trauma that I have suppressed and makes me anxious beyond belief. I feel as if I am going on a downward spiral and don't know what to do. Because of this, I may need to take a bit of a break from social media and or twitter to focus on me. Please know that I want to stand with and support my friends and everyone standing up, but I don't know how much I can take before I am emotionally used up. I have never been good at it, but I need to listen to myself and try and focus on myself and self-care.

Thank you for everyone who listened. It was challenging for me to get this out and actually admit it. It has always made me feel weak and I have tried to just ignore it, but I think this will help me moving forward. Thank you to all my friends and people I have known for years who have helped me learn, grow, and made me the person I am today. I'm not sure how to get or feel better, but I am going to try.

Please DM me if you need to talk about anything. I will try my best to respond to them, but please be patient with me. I will still be sending and love and support to people as I can.

Please continue to spread love. Know that you are all appreciated and have someone that cares about you. Thank you.

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