From Broken to Badass: A Personal Story

Written by Chiara Mazzucco

It’s not easy to do this, but I’m about to expose myself to people who, in many ways, admire me. Some of you reading this have known me for years and never known about my past, others have heard these stories and may have even lived through them with me. However, most of you are just now getting to know me and it’s hard to break down the walls and give you a glimpse of the damages that put me on this path toward confidence and self awareness. Yet as hard as this all is to admit, it’s something I owe to my readers and most importantly, I owe it to myself. Vulnerability, damage, and pain can lead to strength, survival and reinvention—I’m living proof of it. So I’d like you to hold your breath while I give you a glimpse into my past. Maybe a lot of what you’ve learned about me will finally make sense; maybe you’ll even begin to trust me more. Who knows.

The Breakdown

Boy A

When I was 15, I was with someone I shouldn’t have. On the outside, he was older, attractive, and rebellious; on the inside, he was borderline schizophrenic, depressed, and mildly violent. I don’t know how it happened—I’d assume I just kind of fell into it—but somehow, I acquired his caretaker role. His emotional and mental instability became my responsibility in the form of late night phone calls and deep, middle of the night conversations. It was my duty to be there for him and assure him I was his—that my devotion was genuine and that I would never leave.

I don’t know if you remember being 15, but if you do, you know it’s far too much of a responsibility for a girl that age who was just starting to define herself.

I began to detach emotionally and sexually, and resented him for taking me away from the life all my other friends were enjoying. I wasn’t allowed to see anyone if he wasn’t with me and he demanded my full attention, at all times. One night, I refused to sleep with him and when he guilted me into it, he forced himself on me. I talk about the events of that night in detail in my book, so I won’t rehash them here.

Boy B

I met Boy B while I was still with Boy A. It was easy to transition into my next relationship because I just pretended the rape  never happened. It was puppy love and it was euphoric. It numbed everything with the promise of a healthy, emotional relationship. Here I was, dating a really cute, popular guy—and he wanted me and flaunted me. For the first few months, I was on cloud 9; a pink, sugarcoated cloud of protection. I was in love, he was in love, and I was worth something again. 

He did it all. He showed up with flowers, surprised me with gifts, and wrote emo blog posts for the world to see. Within months, I was completely his and everything seemed perfect.

Until he’d get mad at me.

When he got mad at me or wanted to punish me in some way, he’d walk up to the first attractive girl and put his arm around her, right in front of me. He’d cancel plans with me to hang out with his girlfriends. He would purposely ignore my messages and leave me to go crazy in my worst assumptions. Suddenly the emotions of worthlessness started to resurface and I was left slave to a boy who emotionally abused me. Because, you see, it wasn’t that he’d just hurt me. After he tore my heart apart, he’d pull me close immediately after and tell me how much he loved me. I cried a lot; I even tried to hurt myself, but I was too much of a coward to use anything sharper than a butter knife.

I was completely lost in his high and he was my only drug dealer.

This went on for about a year or so and he ended up cheating on me with a bunch of my friends. When things finally ended, I was left broken.

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Chiara Mazzucco

Chiara Mazzucco

Founder and CEO at The Indie Chicks, Inc.
Founder and CEO of Indie Chicks, Inc.
Published author of The 9 Mirages of Love, web and graphic designer, and single mom to three cats and a baby.
Chiara Mazzucco