just wrote this for gravity network. Wanted to share here as well. It’s depressing, but honest. Thank you for reading.
just wrote this for gravity network. Wanted to share here as well. It’s depressing, but honest. Thank you for reading.
As many of you know, I began writing as a way to help me cope with my past history of childhood sexual abuse for both my own sanity and in an effort to hopefully help others know they are not alone when dealing with similar childhood trauma. Time and time again I have felt isolated and angry, finding no appropriate outlets for adult survivors. Awareness has been my goal from day one. Sometimes it felt like I was wading in cement trying to connect with others over this particular topic. Today I’m proud to share with all of you that I will be writing for a a site called gravity network, an online community that provides information, solace, connection and awareness of the impact #childhoodsexualabuse has had on so many of our lives. #gravitynetwork ensures that people can learn more about CSA, provides facts and statistics related to the topic and gives hope for adults that there is life beyond what we thought we knew. #awareness is real.
A million thanks to Amrita Bhowmick & Bharathi Zvara, the co founders of #gravitynetwork for reaching out to me and asking me to share my thoughts and writing and for their tireless effort to continue to help educate and inform others about the gravity of sexual abuse. #silentnomore #notmyactnotmyshame#awarenessofchildhoodsexualabuse
Please check out the site if you can. It’s an amazing resource and I’m proud to be a part of the community.
Some of my previously written blogs and posts will be featured as well as new thoughts that pop into my overactive mind. Thank you so much to all of you for continuing to help me advocate for awareness and for being a part of my journey. Together we are making a difference. Wading in cement never felt so good.
I just want to remind people that I began this page to promote awareness of Childhood sexual abuse. That means reflecting on some experiences that sucked and how I have learned from them. I’m not sad, I don’t dwell, I am not a victim and I’m not in denial. I talk about some seriously depressing things because they need to be spoken of. I express my journey honestly because I want to be authentic to what Childhood sexual abuse does to those living through it and with it. I’m hoping to help shed some light on the topic, release the shame which prevents people from talking about it and hopefully save future victims by destroying the stigma, secrets and lies that have been perpetuating this madness for generations.
While it’s true that I talk about horrific things, rest assured I’m not walking around with my head down mourning my what could have been. I’m damn proud of who I am, what I do and how I’m doing it. I’m a generally happy person. I’m a rock star among 3 and 4-year-old kids and many adults enjoy my company as well. I’m not perfect and I have some bad days but talking about this doesn’t mean I’m not moving forward. Exactly the opposite. If I wanted to talk about baking cakes and rainbows shooting out of my ass I would have started a care bear awareness site. I easily could have done that. I love Care Bears. I just feel that reaching those who are hurting from abuse is a lot more important and a lot less available or easy to find than insignificant bullshit about hair treatments or the bachelor or whatever. So, I’m going to keep doing what I do. And that makes me happy.
This is an honest reflection in response to an ongoing thread from last week. A reader I have immense respect for asked a question about what “we” may be putting out there unknowingly that causes re victimization. First and most importantly, any person sexually assaulted is not putting anything out there to cause that. Especially children. They are an innocent target. Abuse is about control. No vibes, no fault, no blame and no shame.
I don’t think that is what she meant though. So here is my answer on why I think I continued to be a victim unknowingly beyond sexual abuse. Until I started talking about this openly in a different way. I’m learning as I go. We all are.
I am a total enabler. I don’t mean to be, but I want to help those I can. Especially those I love. It has taken 35 years to figure out that trying to make others happy at my own expense is not healthy and doesn’t give them the tools they need to succeed without relying on me. Manipulators sense that need to help. And exploit it.
I am too trusting and believe even after all I have seen that hurt people need understanding and attention. This sometimes attracts people who knowingly take advantage of my at times naive but overall optimistic nature.
I never learned what healthy relationships were. To me, dysfunction was normal. If somebody was somehow treating me right, it didn’t feel right. I was taught at a young age I was here to satisfy others and my feelings or needs didn’t matter. I internalized that and have the self-confidence of fried dog crap. Again, people looking to control or manipulate sense that from 825 miles away.
I operate 90% of the time from a place of guilt. Again, purposely instilled in me as a child. I feel guilty constantly. Guilty about what I didn’t do or did do or want to do or think about doing. I feel guilty about judgment or shame or the way people see me or don’t. I feel guilty that I exist. Guilty that I’m expressing these thoughts. Guilty that I’m not good enough or said the wrong thing or did not drop everything important for me (especially my need to re charge) in an effort to help someone else that may be guilting me into satisfying their needs.
I am terrified of letting anyone get to know me that might hurt me or even just like me too much in a good way and then possibly get too close because then they might, gosh forbid, see and know all that I listed above. That could mean they might take advantage of me. Or try too.
I’m incredibly defensive. Even if you’re coming from a good place, I’m going to doubt your motives initially. This creates chaos and confusion and puts out some seriously messed up vibes on my end I unintentionally send out.
This is what I have learned I’m putting out there as an adult that holds me back. This is what I’m working on changing. It’s not easy. But I’m trying.
I at times struggle to understood how it is that miraculous moments or every day magical occurrences can be taken for granted, feared, or mocked. Non explainable moments have carried me through this lifetime during my worst trials and have become crucial in the ways that I have learned to understand faith and the ability to endure.
The first clear moment of magic that I vividly remember experiencing was when I was a young child. An introverted, intuitive girl with a wandering soul, a fiery temperament, and a cracked heart.
The event unfolded in a subsidized tenement parking lot which masqueraded as a back yard. A depressing space filled with detritus and decay. Sorrow, blood, rot, and tears caked into the earth intermingled with trash, cigarette remnants, broken beer bottles and forgotten, faded, plastic playthings.
Patchworked across the terrain were a variety of different sized holes I had dug in the ground using kitchen spoons in place of shovels. My feeble attempt to escape into the earth. Pockets of varying sizes that formed puddles after a storm. Pools of shallow mud that unbeknownst to me created the perfect conditions for impending magic.
The day the miniature miracle occurred it had been raining for hours. I watched the water fall resentfully from the window as I waited and waited to go outside and resume my ditch digging efforts. After a while the rain subsided and I grabbed a kitchen spoon and headed out the back door.
I stared in awe at what awaited me.
Dozens and dozens of brightly colored, tiny bodies searching for and absorbing energy essential for their continued force of flight. I walked cautiously towards the quiet movement, a child surrounded by what looked like hundreds of wings fluttering gently in the very same holes I had created as an attempt to remove myself from reality, transforming my background prison into a beautiful place of wonder. My childhood innocence had been stripped far too soon, but not so removed that I refused to experience the undeniably miraculous moment of what appeared before me.
The closer I got the more I expected them to fly away, but that didn’t happen. They kept about their business as I sat down in the dirt and watched for what felt like a very long time. Eventually they began to ascend. Not all at once but at a leisurely pace, drifting softly up into the wind. I stood and watched them fly away, surrounded in light, love, and beauty. A mini cyclone of butterfly energy intertwined with mine.
These memories continue to inspire me today. That along with a yearning to heal and share the whispers of remembering. To reach others that experience wonder beyond pain. Others that know moments of fragility within a miracle. The hope of mending torn wings, of experiencing internal flight. The ability to believe in something greater than what can be minimized by explanation. To know that although there will always be times of immeasurable hurt, the companion to that is beauty and hope and the ability to recognize and honor mini moments of everyday magic.
The first time I ever punched someone in the face I was in kindergarten. I would like to say it was the last, but I grew up in a manner in which fighting was at times necessary. That first time though, I have not thought about it in years.
It was an older girl that I punched. She must have been in the fourth or fifth grade. We were on the bus and she was making fun of me. She often did. I was as quiet then as I am now and just a tiny little thing. I suppose I was an easy tar…get. She was making fun of my teeth, I remember that. Telling me they were yellow and asking why I couldn’t afford a toothbrush. Then she started in on my clothes, laughing about how dirty and smelly they were. I’m sure she was right. We couldn’t afford a washing machine. Years later I tried “earning one” for my family by working at the appliance store in the neighborhood but that’s a story for another time.
I didn’t punch her because she said I smelled or made fun of my teeth. I punched her when she said something about my dad. Called him a name that I didn’t even understand but I knew it was bad. She was making fun of my dad who had just been hauled off to jail a few weeks previous. Taken away by two tall men in suits that knocked on the door three days before Christmas.
I let them in.
I watched as they put him in handcuffs in front of me and I remember screaming and crying, begging those men not to take my daddy away. Asking why they were doing it.
The girl I punched in the face punched me back. With quite a bit of force. We were both suspended from the bus for a week. It has taken me thirty five years to figure out that my dad probably at some point in time hurt that girl and that she was making fun of me to ease some pain he inflicted.It also just recently occurred to me that her older brother is the one who hurt me a couple of years later, filling the void in the neighborhood that my dad had left vacant.
These memories, these connections, I never would have thought about them differently if I was not doing the work I’m doing now. I would have just had vague whispers in my brain of that mean girl I punched one time. The girl that was in just as much pain as I was. Who I’m sure still is, just as I know I still am. Thinking about these things hurt and they open up faucets in our minds that may be easier not to turn, but I’m grateful I can think about it differently now. That is how we make this madness stop. How cycles of violence and hurt can be broken. Acknowledge, recognize and know that children are hurting everywhere because of this and that kids who are hurting hurt other kids. Physically, emotionally or God forbid in ways we are all far too familiar with.
Some incredibly kind and supportive people have asked me why I have not written much as of late. I have been writing, just forgetting to share it here. Much of what I have written recently has been posted directly to my awareness page. I forget of course that not everyone knows about the page. I’m a bit challenged as far as linking all of my sites, still figuring all of this out as I go. I am re posting a couple of things I have written most recently for those who have asked. Thank you for the encouragement. I apologize for the redundancy if any of you have read these pieces already.
When I was around 17 years old, I read a book titled Turning Stones. It was written by a man named Marc Parent. In this autobiographical account, he shared his experiences working as a case worker. The book moved me so deeply I recommended it to several people. Each person told me they never finished the book. That it was too hard, the stories he had shared too horrific. I remember the individual stories of course, but that’s not why I recommended it and not the overall message I have kept with me all of this time.
The reason I loved the book then and recall it now is because of how he chose to end it. He shared a story passed on to him about a nun on a trip. Specific details are hazy here, it’s been a long time since I read it but as I recall the nun would make a point to go off on every stop in the group of people she was traveling with to find a stone and turn it over. No matter if it was a rest stop, a scenic stop, a scheduled Place to visit. She never got back into the van without first having found a stone to turn over. When someone asked her why, she simply replied ” Because this place is different now that I have been here.”
A year ago today I started this page. It has been one full year of trying to share my story. One year of spreading awareness of childhood sexual abuse and its aftermath with the world in hopes that no child will have to endure what so many of us have. One full year of trying to explain that the reason the page is public is because to make it private for me personally added to the feelings of shame and guilt that have been imbedded so deep in my veins that I honestly thought I had done something wrong as a child. That I had a reason to feel afraid or worthless or inferior or to not give a voice to these truths.
What have I learned in a year?
I have learned that I will never be silenced again. I have learned that my story has helped others and that far too many have lived the entirety of their lives never feeling safe to utter a word due to what they still carry around that was never theirs to have. The guilt, the shame, the pain and the never ending fuc#%ing hurt. Still shaping their lives because this subject is not talked about enough. I have learned that I will fight for those that cannot or will not fight for themselves and I have learned that I’m proud of that. I have learned that there will always be people that will not understand why I’m doing this in the way that I am and that is okay, but it will not deter me from reaching those that do understand and need my voice and it will not shape my choices as to the way I try to heal. have learned that hurt comes from the most unexpected places and that some people may try to silence me even as an adult in ways that I may never see coming. In the most horrible, personal and intentional ways. I have learned to forgive these people and to recognize that although they are probably hurting too, I will never again give anyone the power or permission to make me feel less worthy based on their own unrecognizable feelings of worthlessness.
I have learned I can love people without letting them take advantage of me. That sometimes drawing boundaries for my safety and growth means letting go of people it hurts to lose, but that I cannot help anyone or change anyone or save anyone unless they want that for themselves and that I will not compromise myself while they wait to figure it out.
I have learned I have a lot to learn. That I need to put in hard work and fight every day. That spreading awareness is not a concept but an action and that it’s going to take every ounce of spite, fight, breath, anger, blood, sweat, rage, hope, vision and love that I have in me to keep doing what I have been doing. I have learned that I’m accountable for my own actions, that my past does not and will not define me and that using the pain from my childhood as an excuse not to try to change my life now and own the mess it had become is the only shame I should have been carrying.
Most importantly, I have learned that this place is different because I was here. Because I took a step into the unknown and wanted to make a difference for myself and others. Because I tried. Because so many of you heard me and were ready to speak as well and willing to listen to my story. The story that is still being written, unfolding every day. The one I wanted to close a million times because I thought it would hurt less to quit. The story that started so horrendously it would have been easier to look away, to not think about those things.
This place is different because I was here. Because all of us have been. And that has changed my life.