I’ve had an epiphany (or nine) of sorts. There are a few things that have been clarified in my head over the past few weeks and I felt the need to put them down on paper, or rather in this electronic public diary of sorts, just in case the general goings on of life cloud my vision in the not too distant future.
I spent a great deal of my life hiding my true feelings, keeping them to myself and I don’t know why. I have always been an emotional creature but my emotions are often masked by and expressed through anger. Anger, raging, tears, depression; and I hate to quote the Sopranos here, but as Dr. Melfi (one of the world’s worst therapists) said “Depression is rage turned inward.” Isn’t it funny how the most random of things will make crystal clear your past or your present?
Through the medium of blogging, I have been given a chance to write about my experience, who I am and who I hope to be. I want to give a voice to who I was as a child because I shut her up a long time ago. Until that voice is heard, acknowledged and that freckle-faced long-haired child is healed, I cannot be the woman I was intended to be.I went through a physical therapy massage today at my home that unleashed an unexpected and terrifying memory, a vision of myself, a sticky handed wild-haired 7 year old with dark brown carpet making my face itch and a slick, black coating of bone deep fear coppery and spicy on my tongue.
I knew logically that I was physically in my current bedroom, on a massage table, but somehow in my mind’s eye, I was transported to a moment of trauma I didn’t realize even existedin my past. And, like a cork bobbing in the water, no sooner had that memory begun to surface but I shoved it back under the bubbling black loch of my psyche.
I have memories known and unknown that I keep buried deep. Deep where I cannot see, remember, and feel the confusion, the hurt, and the ever-present fear. Tonight as I sit and look at my lake of memories – they seem to me like the bog of lost souls that Frodo must cross into Mordor. I want to sink with them; I want to free them, but I’m paralyzed and terrified.I’m tired of being scared and being silent.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse.
I’m a survivor, damn it. I am not a victim.
I am more than the sum of my abusers’ acts. I am what I am in spite of them, not because.
Funny how the predator always finds the prey. Funny how everywhere I went – they found me. Schools, churches, work, even college. Predators recognized the prey and pounced. Like a sheep led to slaughter, I allowed myself to be taken, to believe the lies that I was “special,” to believe the threats that the world would hate me if they knew. I allowed them to decide what I was worth, and allowed myself to be used and to be disposable. Was it because of them or in spite of them that I recognize the predator, that I married two?
They were both predators in their own way; the first in the way I knew and recognized and – god help me – sought. I knew what he was. I recognized him as much as he recognized what he sought in me. I was as much to blame as he, perhaps more so. It was what I knew, could understand, and what I later found, I couldn’t bear to hold.
The second man recognized the broken, the weary, the crazy, the heartbroken, and took what was easy. He took what was safe, what was easy to mold and to stand in the shadows and say “look at how I’ve helped her.” There I was, grateful to be wanted in any way, even as his project, even as his provider, even as I became what he wanted me to be and lost all remnants of the victim. I lost all scope of my childhood; my roots, my family, my heritage, my religion, everything that was, everything that reminded me of her was wiped away.
I made my choices - I don’t blame them. They are exactly who they’ve always been. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The carefully crafted boxes, safes, walls and submerged traps of my making are disintegrating. I cannot hold them back and like sand slipping through my fingers, the harder I grab, the more I lose. The harder I push them back, the faster they are surfacing, the harder I resist, the faster the pain woven into the very muscles of my body is breaking out and forcing me to stop - Stop - STOP.
Let it hurt. Let it bleed. And for the love of God, let it heal.
Vanessa lives in Palmer, Alaska. She is an accountant, theater nerd, collector of trashy romance novels, occasional blogger, wife to an incredibly patient (and sexy) combat veteran, and mother of four busy kids ages 9, 8, 7, and 6. In her spare time, she is also a full time college student and works on feeding a burgeoning Pinterest addiction.