Letting the Shark Eat Me Alive.

By Rebekah Borucki.

I sometimes joke with people that if a shark ever attacked me, I would probably just give up immediately and let it eat me.

I go further to say that if I ever even saw a shark in the water next to me, I’d do the same. I wouldn’t even try to swim away. The fight would take flight and completely leave my body. I would become instantly paralyzed with fear, and that would be the end of me. Pathetic, but probably true based on some decisions I’ve made with all the figurative sharks in my life.

Growing up, my knowledge of the darkness in the world was more than I wanted it to be and definitely more than I could handle emotionally, but I remained a little girl for a lot longer than most women I know.

From about age eight until late into my teen years, I straddled this broad, shifting, and murky line between a hyper-sexualized woman-child and a girl who would only wanted to spend her afternoons building Lego sets and combing Barbie hair. Looking back, it feels bizarre. Looking at my daughters, it feels heart-numbingly tragic.

I got a lot of practice living this double life. I sought out sexual attention and stimulation at an early age, but was disgusted by the idea of it. What I really desired was a simple existence with toys and games and going to birthday parties, but I couldn’t avoid what I didn’t want.

My parents left things I shouldn’t see within my reach, and I always found them. They would have private phone conversations that I would always hear. My mother would take my little sister and me on outings with her male “friends” and we always understood and saw too much. Then we were told not to tell my dad where we were that day, making us accomplices to this thing that we hardly understood beyond how uncomfortable it made us feel.

I was constantly confused and disgusted with myself without any benefit of understanding what was happening. Why was I having these feelings that made me feel curious and sick at the same time? When I started having sex, why did it feel so good and then leave me hating myself? That part went on well into my twenties.

Therapists, one after another, have told me that I show all the signs of someone who has been sexually abused. I ignored them in adulthood. My mother dismissed them when I was little.

There was never enough room on the crazy plate to add that heaping portion of sexual abuse, so I just tucked their opinions and all my suspicions into a corner of my skull and kept moving. The problem was that I could file those burdensome things away, but that only allowed them to fester – like rotting, stinking meat. The smell got into everything.

Part of feeling so different, feeling like I never fit in, feeling confused about who I even was, made me believe that I was more aligned with the misfits than the good girls. The trouble with being a true misfit is that you’re unlike everyone else. So there was my ragtag group of misfit friends and me, and we had nothing in common but our pain.

We didn’t play sports, we didn’t have hobbies, and we definitely didn’t have a positive outlook toward the future. Until I was twenty-five, I never thought I’d live to be twenty-five. As I approach thirty-five, I realize that I’m reaching another personal death clock milestone.

The misfits’ many brands of pain manifested into a lack of self-regard and a sense of independence and self-reliance that could only translate into complete recklessness at that young age. We took risks because we didn’t love ourselves enough to consider the consequences. That’s what girls who aren’t loved enough do.

When I was seventeen, I made a new misfit friend. Tricia and I worked together at a shop in the mall that was owned by Indian gentlemen and catered to a primarily black customer base. We sold baggy jeans, posted handmade sale signs against mall rules, and got half of our merchandise as it fell off the back of a truck. It was an interesting operation. If we were misfits, this was a misfit’s clothing store.

Tricia was tall and thin, like me. She has naturally white-blonde hair, but she dyed it black. Her nose was pierced, her makeup was severe, and her clothes looked painted on. She “talked black” and the shop owners loved her. Tricia was well liked by our customers and outsold all the other salesgirls. The thing that fascinated me most about Tricia was that she was also an underage stripper. I thought that was so cool.

I only hung out with Tricia one time outside of work. She picked me up at my older sister’s house and took me to her house to change clothes. Her house made me like her even more. It was poor and messy, which made me feel connected to her. We were on the same level and held the same place in society. There was no need for me to pretend anything in front of her.

Our next stop was a club in Philadelphia. We didn’t need ID because Tricia knew the bouncers at the door. It was hot, filthy, and packed with people back to front. We were the only white girls in a crowd of hundreds of young black men and women. I was so incredibly scared and excited at the same time.

The details of how we met those two men and how we got back to the motel are unclear. We weren’t drunk or high. I’ve just forgotten. Some parts that I remember seem so insignificant, but I know they must have left an imprint for a reason. As I write these words, I’m searching for the meaning in the memory.

The room was less than $40, and I offered to chip in. Tricia’s boyfriend covered it, and that really impressed me. A man taking care of things was not something I was used to, but it always felt good when it happened. It also felt like they had control and ownership over the situation. This would prove to be a problem for me again and again in my future life and more immediately that night.

It was late, and I just wanted to go to bed. There were two beds in the room, and Tricia and her boyfriend took the bed closer to the door. Something else I don’t remember is how his friend ended up in bed with me, because we hadn’t talked all night – I hadn’t even committed his name to my short-term memory. I couldn’t have called him by name to ask him to sleep on the floor, but I didn’t ask him to sleep on the floor anyway.

I was pretending to sleep when he started to push his body against mine. My whole being went into an immediate panic. It became immediately apparent that I was in bed with a shark, and I was paralyzed!

He was pushing himself on me and I was doing nothing to stop him. I realized he had pulled down his pants, and he started to tug at my clothes. In the next moment he had managed to get my shorts down around my knees, and I knew that I was about to have sex with a total stranger. He was sweaty, his breathe smelled terrible, and I was disgusted by every cell in his body.

Tricia and her boyfriend were eight feet away, and I couldn’t even breathe hard enough to alert them. I remember that I didn’t want to ruin their good time with my drama, and I was scared that Tricia would be mad at me if I caused a scene. I started to scoot my body backward, away from him and toward the edge of the bed. He drew me back. I pushed his hand away forcefully, and he drew me back. We struggled in complete silence for a few moments more until I whispered, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

That was my call for help – not a scream, not a knee to the groin, not even a simple No. “I have to go to the bathroom,” was all I could come up with in a moment of complete and all-consuming fear. I’m sure that would never work on a real shark. What I’m even surer of is that it would have never worked if we were in that room alone. He would have raped me, and I would have let him.

I ran into the bathroom, pulling up my shorts on the way. There’s another memory gap between me entering the bathroom and then sitting outside in Tricia’s car. I don’t remember walking out, finding the keys, or getting into the car. I don’t remember breathing. I’m holding my breath right now.

I could see our motel room’s door from where I was sitting in the driver’s seat, praying that the door would open and Tricia would come running to my rescue. She would be so sorry that she put me in that situation and she would bring me home immediately. I sat for a long time, each moment feeling longer than that last. When the door finally opened, my heart leapt.

“Thank God! Thank God that I can finally get out of there and back home to my own bed. I promise you, God, that I will never do this again…”

But it wasn’t Tricia. It was the shark. What allowed me to reach over and unlock the door for him is beyond my current understanding. I guess at that time I was in the practice of allowing. I asked him what they were doing. He told me that they would be out in a while. We didn’t say another word.

In what seemed like hours later, Tricia and her boyfriend emerged from the motel room. The shark and I climbed into the back seat, and we all went home.





Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 8.42.33 AMRebekah Borucki, a happily married mother-of-four, is the creator of BexLife.com and the Blissed In wellness movement. These very personal projects of hers use yoga, fitness, and meditation as a way to teach women how to find health through self-healing and inspired living. She is also the host of Got Zen? on Veria Living television, a health & wellness network. The Accidental White Girl is her story of growing up bi-racial in an all white family and community and not discovering the truth about her racial background or the identity of her biological father until she was 32 years old.




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  • Mamaste
    Mamaste commented on August 28, 2013 Reply
    Welcome Bex! Glad you’re here. Your story is compelling and so interesting. I can’t wait to hear more. And congrats on the goats! xoxo ~Mamaste
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
      Thank you for giving me this platform to share my story. I’m eternally grateful, Mama!
  • Bynita28 commented on August 28, 2013 Reply
    Really enjoyed that would love to read more!
  • SR Atchley
    SR Atchley commented on August 28, 2013 Reply
    This raises so many issues for me. I’m not even sure where to start. Will revisit this. Thank you for sharing your self with the world. We are now in a better place. Welcome! S.
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
      I look forward to reading what you have to say when you revisit. Much love.
  • Carolyn Riker
    Carolyn Riker commented on August 28, 2013 Reply
    What SR said….and then some….wow. I’m left speechless. Thank you for sharing your story. I too, stopped breathing…
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
      I’m glad in made you feel something. It was so scary to right and even scarier to publish. This feedback is valuable – thank you.
  • GKeeper commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
    That really gave me the chills. Thank you for sharing.
  • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
    Thank you! I hope Rebelle will have me back as I continue to get my words down on paper.
  • Cristina Langley commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
    I am crying as I write because I was that girl. Thank you for being brave enough to share your experience so other girls no longer feel alone. Thank you.
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 31, 2013 Reply
      I’m so encouraged by all the beautiful comments… thank you for reading. My greatest hope is that my healing process can help others. xo
  • Linda commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
    I have never read anything that has captured my life experience so well. Thank you for being someone who understands that one’s ability to “fight back” can be so damaged early on – my desire had nothing to do with it, I simply wasn’t able to NOT allow it; the “allowing” when every cell in my being is screaming, no no no – a whiny, victimized no no no, not a strong NO! The early confusion between wanting/needing sex and hating that I wanted it, feeling sick inside. As an 11 year old, I would pray that God would see my white heart even though I had these bad thoughts. Sex abuse & rape change who we are and who we become. It is a type of soul death; with a lot of effort and assistance, you can be reborn, but “the smell” never goes away completely. I used to ignore it, cover with, wear it as a survivor’s badge. I have never quite come to peace with it, but I think I understand why I have been so proficient in performing the self-abuse dance. If a shark sidles up next to me, will I allow myself to be swallowed again by the monster? It is my fervent hope that the insight gained is enough to draw the anger from my core and the day will end with me enjoying fresh shark fin soup! I wish the same for you. Thanks again!
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 31, 2013 Reply
      It’s so sad that conflicting feelings about sex can turn into feelings of guilt and shame. Girls aren’t even allowed to figure things out before they’re being blamed for the bad things they were defenseless against. When women like us keep sharing, we can break that pattern. It just takes a whole lot of honesty – which is hard, but so worth it. Thanks for reading and sharing. xx
  • barryjohnjohnson commented on August 29, 2013 Reply
    Beautifully written; engrossing; powerful.
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 30, 2013 Reply
      Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m honored by all this beautiful feedback.
  • Melanie commented on August 30, 2013 Reply
    I too, was that girl. Sexual assault is portrayed as a dramatic act on TV and movies. It is often more like a girl not knowing what to do, what she should do, not wanting to upset anyone, even the assaulter! What torture goes on in the mind of that girl.
    • Rebekah "Bex" Borucki commented on August 31, 2013 Reply
      Exactly. We have to give power back to our girls. All assaults can’t be prevented, but I want to help girls learn to love themselves in a way to demand more from the people they allow into their space.
  • Stephanie commented on March 16, 2014 Reply
    Thank you so much Bex, I have been embarrassed because of my past since I have let myself be abused by other men. I am not saying they raped me, but it was obvious that I didn’t want to be in the situation, however I just played along because I was too scared to leave. I have made mistakes and I have hung out with the wrong crowd. Right now I am not living my life as much as I should partially because of guilt. It is such an inspiration to see a woman like you with a beautiful heart live her life to the fullest. Some people have made up stories about me when I was a teenager because I was flirty and dressing sexy, I just wanted attention because I was missing love. Im still scared to get bullied from it, some people never miss a chance to be rude towards misfits since we don’t have many friends that could defend us. Just wanted to say im glad you shared a part of your story with us, I feel better, some words you wrote described exactly how I felt, Thank you !

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