Saturday, February 15, 2014

Remembering Him

     The "him" I am referring to has a name. He is a person with a pathetic life but a life nonetheless. To me, however, he doesn't deserve a name. Yes, people should know him for the monster that he is, but that is someone else's job. If I give him a name, then I still feel his power eating away at me and he doesn't have control anymore. I do, and I will for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that does not diminish the damage and consequences his power had over me.
     One of the most significant things that came out of my therapy sessions was a sense of empowerment. I know I'm safe and I can do what I want with no one taking it away. Somehow he has maintained such a death grip on my mind that I still feel guilty and defiant. I am doing everything that he pounded into my brain that I wasn't allowed to do. While it is indirectly, I am standing up against him. I am saying, "This is what you did. You stole my childhood but you sure as hell won't take any of my future." It was a big step for me; one that was in the workings for a long time.  But a piece of me still feels that forced loyalty towards him.
     I know that this whole situation is twisted. I know the difference between actual reality and the reality he created for me. So, why is it that I still here that little voice in my head telling me I can't tell anyone, that I deserve this abuse and, for lack of a better word, nightmare? I'll tell you why. Individuals are shaped by their childhood. What occurs during the youngest years of our lives dictates our personality, our morals, and, most of all, our way of thinking. A child nurtured with love and encouragement will become eerily different from another child that was neglected and put down.
     We don't, as kids, have any way of changing our home environment. Although the option isn't there during childhood, as adults we have the ability to grow. Adults are less resilient than their younger counter parts; they are set in their ways and understandably so. It is not any easy task by any means and many people decide it's not worth the risk. In my opinion, if you have been through something as hellish as rape, even if it was only once, you have the right to choose how you deal with it. My heart hurts when I see those who have decided to let it hang over their heads. I want them to be able to be happy and get what they truly deserve.
     Everyone handles things differently and I completely get why people don't want to work through it. Even the prospect of telling someone and taking your life back causes so much strife and pain that you shut down. All of us survivors have been at that point and some choose to commit to the fight while others just resign themselves to a grim reality. You can say that I'm full of it but the fight IS worth it. It has been one hell of a ride to get here and the fight never ends. There are good things out there, though. I know it seems like there isn't at times given all the evil and cruelty our world is filled with. Many times innocent people get the short end of the stick, but I can tell you right now I live for the amazing things rather than the pain. To me, happiness is worth enough to fight for.
     In the end, it all comes down to who has the power: me or my abuser. I can remember what he did, I can even remember the demented things he made me think and feel. What I can't do is let him win. Every day is a struggle. Some days I feel like he has and always will win. That's not true but only you and I can can change our perceptions of reality. Believe in yourself and if you can't right now find someone who does. Stay strong!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Shadow Within Me

     A shadow cannot exist without light. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I may not be the same person anymore. In fact, I know I'm not. However, that doesn't erase who I used to be and doesn't erase the hatred I have towards my former self. Some days I don't remember that life was any other way. Others lead me back to those places; they make me gasp for air. Don't get me wrong. I am not ashamed of where I've come from. The only shame would lie in no longer trying, but that doesn't make things any easier.
     Everyday is a battle, but it's a battle that I've won. Today, to an ordinary person, should have been a good day. Although I accomplished a lot and spent time with an amazing friend, my mind remains clouded. There were moments I went so very far away, moments that were terrifying memories, moments that had the potential to break me at one point. The thing that is hard for me is detaching myself from the past and living in the present.
     Life is about letting go. I don't know how many people have told me this, and I believe it too. Nothing causes me more of a burden than carrying my past on my shoulders. Bits and pieces I've let go. I have accepted that my father left me at five years old. I have resigned myself to the fact that nothing I went through was my fault. These things have all been very big steps in my healing process. Unfortunately they are not the end but merely the beginning of a life long journey.
     Abuse, especially extended and repeated abuse by family, tears that body apart; maybe not physically but definitely emotionally. The so called "broken pieces" I have had to glue together aren't just parts of a broken vase or a mirror. They are tiny pieces of flaming hot metal. They slice clear through my flesh and they never fit quite right together. Even if I'm strong enough to try to repair some of the damage, the pain of fixing what others broke is often more difficult than being broken in the first place.
     Slowly I have gathered up as many as I can, but it's merely a shell of who I could have been. There is no point regretting what I cannot change. I don't necessarily wish things were different, but I do wish the memories and the scars allowed me more room to become the person I am now. I am compassionate. I love helping people, especially the underdogs (everyone needs someone to fight for them). I have dreams that I am achieving. I'm active. I'm happy. Nothing can take that away. Nothing.  I may harbor a shadow somewhere within me, but that's all it is: a reflection of what has been. I am a survivor and that is how I know that you can make it through whatever you may be facing. Anything is possible. Stay strong!

Gaining Freedom

     Take inventory of everything you can do and all the choices you can make each and every day. Even think of the trivial things like going to the bathroom or taking a walk; think of the simple decisions you take for granted every single day. Now imagine all of those options gone. Imagine living your life at the discretion of other people. Imagine not being able to breathe.
     No, I am not talking about jail (In my opinion, committing a crime automatically forfeits your right to freedom). I am referring to being in a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). For those of you who don't know, an RTF is a lockdown placement where children and teens go to receive mental health support. That does not mean they're crazy. It just means terrible things happened to them and they need help overcoming those issues. Until last Wednesday, I was in one. For a year and a half I asked to go to the bathroom, I was under 24 hour supervision, I could not go outside at my leisure, and I could not live my life. 
     After all of that time, I forgot what I was being deprived of. In that type of environment you have to learn to adapt or you'll be miserable. Humans have an uncanny ability to survive under any circumstance and that was what I did. I survived. I even learned to like pieces of it; mostly the amazing people I met there. While I gained a lot from the experiences I had there, I have gained so much more by getting my freedom back. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Few Words on Sexual Assault...

If you are  healing from sexual assault and you get out of bed in the morning, You are doing well.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you hold down a job, You are amazing.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you are still remotely pleasant to others, You are a lot nicer than me.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you cannot always be there for a friend, You are still a good friend and a strong enough person to know what is best for you.
If you are healing from sexual assault, and find it difficult to care for yourself, but still find the strength to care and love your family than you are strong as well.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you decide to tell your story, You are brave.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you decide that you are not ready to tell your story, You are also brave.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you cry daily or have nightmares, You are normal.
If you are healing from sexual assault and seeing happy, healthy people makes you sad, angry, jealous and worse, Join the club.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you decide to press charges against your perpetrator,
You have incredible courage.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you cannot or choose not to press charges against your perpetrator, Your perpetrator is still the one to blame, and you are smart for knowing what you can handle.
If you are healing from sexual assault and think that what happened was your fault, You are wrong, but you are not alone.
If you are healing from sexual assault and are jealous that some survivors put their abuser in jail, You are one of many.
If you are healing from sexual assault and feel like your significant other truly understands and is 100% supportive, He or she is rare and a keeper.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you have a good support system, It will help A LOT.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you don’t have enough people who understand what you are going through, I strongly recommend joining a support group.
If you are healing from sexual assault and were not believed or supported when you found the courage to tell, You still deserve to be heard, no matter how long ago it was.
If you are healing from sexual assault and you feel like you hate your body, Remember your spirit is held within your body.
If you are healing from sexual assault and feel painfully alone and isolated, Please know that there are thousands of people healing with you in spirit.
If you are healing from sexual assault and there are days where the only thing you are able to do is exist, Remember, we are existing with you till you can live again.
If you are healing from sexual assault but still looking to the future,
You are a survivor.