Beating the Monsters

By Dana Zillgitt, Regular ContributorJuly 8, 2015

It’s funny, the things you tell yourself late at night.

The things you make yourself believe when the demons come out to play at 2 in the morning, and you can’t sleep because they won’t stop dancing. I thought I was doing better. I thought I was doing alright. I moved to a new city, I made some friends, I was getting involved in my community, and I just celebrated a major birthday. More importantly, I was dealing with my triggers and understanding how to deal with them, positively.

But then he texted me.


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It’d been 10 months since the worst night of my life, and I was celebrating with coworkers. All he said was “Hey. Remember me?”

Luckily, I had gotten rid of his number so I genuinely had no idea it was him until he said his name. I froze. Played the idiot like I didn’t remember him, though I was replaying the whole night in my head over and over again. A couple days go by and he texted me several times that Friday and Saturday, still asking if we could “meet up” and “pick up from where we left off.” To say I was an emotional wreck may be an understatement.

I called three of my best friends and my mom, breaking down every time. I couldn’t believe he still had my number, and I didn’t understand why 10 months later, after the worst night of my life, he felt the need to talk to me again. I didn’t want anything to do with him. And a few days after I blocked his number both from texting and calling me, I realized something. He’s still the monster I remember him as, but in the time since, I was slowly but surely getting better. Did it really take a simple sentence to unravel me? Did he really have that much power of me? Something inside me clicked on again and something in my heart said, “Never again”, as cliché as that may sound.

I started telling the demons late at night that I had no time for their games anymore.

I couldn’t rely on anybody else to make the nightmares go away. I had to pull within myself to remember that a sexual assault does not, has not, and will not define me again. If I let it, then he wins. And if you’ve ever met me, there’s no turning back once I get competitive and have a mission on the brain.

So now, I’m making myself get in the habit of telling my reflection as soon as I get out of the shower every morning one thing I’m grateful for, one thing I’m proud of, and most importantly, I remind myself I’m not alone.  I’m on the road to recovery and firmly believe I’m not only surviving, but living. It has been convoluted and difficult. But I found the light again. I found the rhythm in which I need to teach myself how to dance again. And I couldn’t have done it without the people who helped me realize the monster isn’t anything more or less than that. 

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Have you ever had a late night text overcome your thoughts? How do you beat the monsters of the past? Tell us below!

About Dana

DANA_ZILLGITT_writer_bio_(1).jpgDana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.


Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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