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The holiday season is a difficult time for me. It wasn’t always that way, but I don’t remember a time where it wasn’t. Just when I thought I was doing fine and getting through my trauma, I see headlines about The Backstreet Boys and Nick Carter all over the news. It was a real shame for me as The Backstreet Boys was my favourite band growing up, and they were the first concert I ever went to back in 2005.

It was a really good concert. I really enjoyed it. I still remember it vividly almost 18 years later. It was one of the best concerts that I ever attended to be honest, aside from Queen + Adam Lambert of course. So you can imagine how disappointed and shocked I was when I saw Nick Carter’s name in the news headlines and the reasons for it. In case you missed it, a woman who has cerebral palsy and is living with autism accused Nick of sexually assaulting her back in 2001 when she was 17 years old. Since the news broke, more women came forward accusing him of the same exact deed. Aaron Carter, Nick’s brother who passed away in November, previously accused him of doing so, but when no one believed him, he backtracked his story and apologized for ‘making it up.’ Now we know that he wasn’t making it up and was telling the truth the whole time.

Since the story broke, it seems like all I’ve been doing is read people’s reactions. They’re not that surprising. |Most people have been asking, ‘Why now?’ I can tell you exactly why, and it’s all from my own experience. It’s because the woman lost her sense of power as she felt control, even years later, and there’s a sense of vulnerability because she’s a woman. The fact that she’s disabled adds the sense of vulnerability even further. The accuser said that even though she has cerebral palsy and lives with autism, it was nothing compared to what she’d entailed in the aftermath of being sexually assaulted by Nick Carter

As a disabled woman myself, specifically me having cerebral palsy as well just like her, I can attest to that. There are things far worse than living with a disability. Being sexually assaulted is one of those worse things. I know this because I was sexually assaulted myself 15 years ago around the holiday season. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was on December 15th, 2007. The deed was done by someone who I thought was a friend at my house; in my own room. But let’s call ‘the deed’ exactly what it was. It was rape. I was raped in my own room by someone who I thought I thought I could trust; by someone I thought was my friend.

I’m sure the person who did this to me doesn’t even know who I am anymore. They got what they wanted. It wasn’t about the sex necessarily. Instead, it was about the need to feel power and in control. As a result, I felt powerless and lost my sense of control. For them, it was just about that one night. For me, 15 years later, it’s still a night that haunts me and still affects me to this very day. That one night affected my views on life as a whole.

Now that I look back on everything that’s happened in the past 15 years, everything somehow goes back to that night. Whether it has to do with my family, my friends, my husband, my work, and so on and so worth. Every year gets better and better. It’s not because time heals all wounds. In fact, it seems like time stands still most of the time. Time is just time. It doesn’t heal wounds. Emotional scars don’t heal as easy as the physical ones. Instead of saying that time heals all wounds, I’d say it’s the experiences and life lived that heals all wounds.

When I got diagnosed with epilepsy and had all these complications with my health, I felt a sense of loss. I lost control of my body. Just like I did when I was raped, I felt powerless. What made it more difficult for me was that I was going through infertility as my health deteriorated. I was having 50 seizures a day every day, and yet I was still determined to have a baby no matter what it took me. There were moments where I thought epilepsy would kill me, and I was STILL determined to have a baby. Nothing was going to stop me. My body was failing me, but determination to have a baby wasn’t.

I realized over time that for me to be able to conceive, I needed to make sure I was healthy enough to do so. That meant I needed to take control of my body and manage my epilepsy and my mental health to the best of my abilities. Working on my health became my mission. I was willing to do just about anything to get healthy. I didn’t care what it took me and how much, who or what it cost me. After a failed IVF round, I ended up getting pregnant on my own. To say it was a miracle would be an understatement because my husband and I were told by my fertility doctor there was little to no chance that I’d ever be able to get pregnant on my own. But with hard work and determination, I did.

I didn’t have an easy pregnancy. There were a few times where I thought I’d lose my baby throughout my pregnancy. Nonetheless, each doctor’s appointment we went to, emergency or otherwise, gave nothing but good new – the baby was healthy and happy in my womb. Now my baby is healthy and happy as he lives and breathes, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I was strong enough, mentally and physically to conceive and carry my baby for 9 months despite the fact that I have cerebral palsy, despite the fact that I live with a chronic illness, and have struggled with my mental health.

It meant a lot to me. It meant I took full control of my body and mind despite all my obstacles and all I’d endured. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone – to go through epilepsy and infertility, especially simultaneously. In my situation, however, I feel that I had to go through it in order for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel; in order for me to take control of my life and get my power back. For the first time in 15 years, I can finally say that I did. For the first time in 15 years, December 15th wasn’t a day of mourning for me. Instead, it was a happy day and a happy occasion. I got to celebrate that occasion with my son by my side, and I even made plans for my longtime friend to meet him for the very first time.

For the past 15 years, I had a long of anger in me that I couldn’t get rid. Not just towards the person who did that to me, but for anyone else who attempted to control and manipulate me. Most of them aren’t in my life, and some are because I have no choice but to keep them because they’re in my circle of family. I won’t say who it is, but if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll guess correctly. Whether they are or aren’t in my life, it doesn’t matter. I don’t allow anyone to control how I live my life. I don’t live my life for others. I live it for myself. If these people ever read this, I wish all these people well. I hope they’re happy, and I hope their lives turned out they wanted their lives to turn out.

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