I have let myself become undone.
I am vulnerable allowing myself to fall apart, nurtured and rebuilt. Looking at kindness as my guide and my goal. I am learning how to live my life open, vulnerable, without walls instead of the hyper-vigilance that I once did. My body is forcing me to address the debris that the abuse continues to bring in my life. Finding the strength to confront the “why I blame myself” and feel shame.
I’ve learned this place inside of me is called contempt. I refuse to hold myself in contempt anymore. This place doesn’t serve me.
The last few months have left me isolated and that surprised me. I thought I would feel stronger, better, restored quicker. Instead, I was being devoured by the feeling of being alone. I had finally entered the place where I had to start to care for myself and the trauma I have experienced. I’m more aware of the way my body has and IS responding. My hands shake from time to time and I physically start to shiver when I engage in my story. I want the feeling of weakness and helplessness to go away. I want to be strong. I want to go back to “normal”
But I can’t go back to “normal”.
“Normal” was intense denial, the acting that everything is okay. That I was ok. That the sexual assault didn’t have an effect on me and still doesn’t. I want to appear untouched and unscathed.
Like an onion, I am discovering layers of myself that I have never cared for, only neglected and left riddled with pain. I am learning the way to healing isn’t to ignore it, or run from it, but to run through it.
To engage it.
To feel it.
To grieve it.
To feel angry about it.
To hope for justice.
And long for restoration.
I recently joined a small group at my church. It was the first time I had been able to sit with others, strangers, who have also experienced sexual abuse. I thank God for bringing me to this space. A safe place, of no judgment and complete room to become undone. To unload the burdens and tend to wounds. To admit that we are tired and we are broken.
We journeyed together with the help of Dan Allender’s book “Healing The Wounded Heart.” Our stories are interwoven with each’s own unique scar. Although none of our experiences of sexual abuse/assault are identical, we found that how we responded, coped, hid, denied, wept… remain the same.
Listening to each of the beloved women’s heartbreaking stories of abuse, I began to open my heart to my younger myself. The one who I blamed for not knowing better. How can I have so much compassion and kindness for someone else but continue to barre myself?
We discussed the need to care for our bodies. To listen and pay attention to what our body is telling us. I hated my body and shut off my connection to it a long time ago. I cursed my body for freezing and not fighting. For my lack of language and my fragmented brain. That those responses in the body aren’t to be ignored. I learned not to trust it and resent it. I learned to ignore my gut and my heart’s ability to dream gradually and it steadily dimmed over time.
My heart used to love music and even now I am numb to it.
The more I listened the more the pain showed itself. I started to notice that when I said his name I would shiver. My hands would start to shake and I started to feel angry. It’s hard to make me angry. It’s not an emotion I feel a safe feeling or expressing. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that anger hurts people and I don’t want to do that.
Or maybe it’s because anger meant I could desire justice. Sadness leads me to grieve but anger would lead me to want something I would never have. I will never be able to undo what was done to me, stolen from me, jaded and perverted.
The women in my church group encouraged me to explore being angry and that it’s okay. It was the first time that I had really entertained that I was justified and righteously allowed to be angry. That what I experienced at his hand was horrific, unjust, damaging, abusive and traumatizing. That I don’t need, none of us need, to just GET OVER IT.
The very next day was KIIS FM’s Wango Tango. In the past, I would have ignored my feelings and acted like nothing was actively impacting me. I felt that admitting that it did give him power and I resented that. I felt angry and resentful but never showed it. I was robbed of my dreams, deceived, lured and manipulated to believe it was all my fault.
I’ve been told it is my fault for not telling the world sooner. I am told that if I had, something could have been done or that it would have made it better.
Tell me how?
How could it have possibly been better then? I would never be the same and I wanted to believe I could remain the same.
I am tired of being told to just look away. To stay away. To just get over it. To let go of my dreams. To say goodbye to my passion, to an industry I loved being a part of.
So I watched.
I allowed myself to feel angry. My group, DREAM also performed at Wango Tango, years ago. I know people who work behind the scenes and yet I am shut out. Not him. I watched as thousands continue to ignore my story and the stories of the other women who spoke out against him years ago.
And then it was clear to me. I was watching the way the world treats ALL survivors of sexual abuse. They ignore it, sweep it under the rug, and we are the ones who don’t get to go to the party anymore. I thought about the women in my group and how they experienced the same response. A lack of care, a lack of action on their behalf and the pain of feeling alone and abandoned.
I don’t know how to fix this but I know that NOT discussing it continues to enable it. We are not the only ones who have been silent, you who choose to turn a blind eye to our stories and are silent too. We are at odds because we have chosen to not function the way YOU do anymore!
So I invite you, to become undone with me. To tell your story when you are ready. To know that we all can lead with a limp.