Have you ever looked back on the moments that you felt almost crushed you. Ones that beat you down so far you never imagined you would get back up again? Yet, here you are!
Now, take those same moments and see them from a different angle, on how they defined who you are today? Where would you be without them? Who would you be?
I read this tonight; a meme on Facebook that started the reasoning for this entry. A simple quote, that somehow describes the purposes of my own childhood.
I have written about my PTSD, triggers, and spoken to many of you on a personal level about why I have those residual effects of trauma. I've always been open, honest and raw when it comes to life.
So here it goes.
I was 5 years old. Just started kindergarten, parents newly separated, when the sexual abuse started. It was your statistical situation. Close family member. A person who everyone loved, seemed on the outside to be a carefree, fun loving person. Yet there was darkness that no one could see, at least they refused to acknowledge. This person was not who they seemed. My childhood ended at 5 years old. This lasted 5 years more. Panic attacks started around that time. Over eating. Bulimia. Self harm. I was 10. At 10 years old the was over, but I was left to process all of this in my own juvenile mind.
I was 16 years old when I finally came forward. In the result of my accusations and truth about the beloved family member, there were sides taken, myself and supportive mother were disowned from the rest of the family. Alienated.
However because I came forward, so did others in my family. Some of my generation, some from the older generation. I was in shock to know that this had been going on for years, for decades, and all there was was silence. I was 16 years old when I found my voice, my courage, and what I know now warrior self to be the one who took that first step in stopping it all.
The authorities did nothing. Coming from a small town, there was conflict of interest among my abuser and police. Long story short, the charges were dropped.
That is when the depression, anxiety and PTSD took over. Over the years I would hear there were foster kids and church youth groups this person would be involved with. Each time, I would call Children's Aid. Why? To protect someone else when no one could protect me.
It fueled me. I felt I had to be the one to say something, when the whole reason I went through it was because no one talked about it. And it hurt every step of the way. Yes, there were thoughts of suicide. Yes, there were moments when I wanted the pain to end. I sought professional help when I was at my lowest. I still felt I faught alone, and most days it felt like I was losing.
And then one day my friend said, "You are the strongest person I know." And there it was. How could someone see that in me when I felt was broken, tired and defeated. It made me stop and reflect.
I was strong. There was a fire in me, that even in its moments of just glowing embers, still burned. I started to use it as my fuel to succeed rather than let it burn me. I was determined to not allow one person to not only take my childhood, my adolescence but not my whole life. I made sure that those 5 years of abuse did not define me, but the years after of surviving and healing did.
That quote above, is the description of my entire fight. The need to break the pattern of my family secrets and trauma. I am not seeking validation, nor recognition in this, but only for all of you to take a look at your life.
Take a deep look at where you once were, and where you are now. I know without all that had happened to me, my life now, all that I have and am thankful for would not have existed without that fight for survival and justice. And I think for the first time in my life I can say that I am proud of myself.
And that is what I want for all of you. I want you to acknowledge all you have been through, all you have done to get through it, or still going through and know you are strong. Be proud of yourself. Keep fighting. It does get better. Allow the fire you think will hurt you to build, and fuel you forward. Be your own warrior.