Hi. Ok. I’m going to get right down to what’s on my mind, as Mark Zuckerberg would be asking. I just got out of the shower and, while I was in there, I ended up processing a lot from my past and it nearly prompted a PTSD response until I recognized the emotions and was able to breathe through them, allowing them space.
For literally YEARS I have wanted to share my past. I always refrained from sharing it all because there was always a “better” time. I always imagined letting everything go in a book. And I know that day will come. But, for now, I feel indebted to those who are like me and suffer in silence because we are too afraid to take space. Our BIG experiences do, in fact, create BIG responses.
I recently shared some photos from my high school dance team days and all of the close-knit memories I had with the other girls on the team. I shared the images on Facebook and Instagram and as I kept reminiscing, it began to wander down the dark side of those memories. The feeling of loneliness despite being surrounded by others. The secret sexual abuse I was enduring from my police officer stepdad. The eating disorder I eventually recognized but welcomed because it was the only thing that was constant in my life at that time. The lack of support from my coach after a car accident amidst many other situations (I was not voicing to her) and, after laying on the gym floor crying from back pain, being told to get up and practice or I was unable to compete in the state competition.
I moved constantly. I didn’t have family around me after my mom moved me to a different state at the age of 8 once she met her new boyfriend in a chatroom online. I’m a f*cking mess, guys. I am 31 years old and just now starting to piece together everything from a new perspective and understand that things weren’t my fault. I’m not crazy. I didn’t deserve what I went through. No, it wasn’t fair at all, whatsoever. It still happened. Life still went on. Other people still went through their own experiences and those are just as valid as mine. But I think I’ve hit a spot where I want to claim my sh*t.
My stepdad began sexually abusing me at the age of 13 when he was pretending to be asleep and stuck his hand down my shirt and into my bra. on the white leather couch in the living room. It had become normal to cuddle on the couch, whether it was any of us four kids, or any of us four kids (my two step-siblings, my sister and myself) and Jeff* (*name changed for privacy because he was never actually proven guilty). But on this particular day, it officially became not normal. His kids were at their mom’s and I’m not sure where my sister was. My mom was at work and Jeff and I were on the couch watching tv. He often complained of migraines and would usually take naps most days. This day, while “napping”, he changed my life for the worst.
A year and a half went by of sexual abuse and hiding it and even confronting him about it twice, only to be told that he was sorry if he ever did anything because my mom and I had “similar body types and might get confused when he’s asleep.” Then the day came when we were in the truck on the way home from a camping trick. My sister and her friend rode home in my mom’s car from Detroit Lake back to Albany, while my friend and I rode back with Jeff in his truck. My friend sat in the backseat and I sat in the passenger seat and fell asleep on the ride home. After dropping my friend off, we drove back to our house and I woke up laying down in the center of the seat with Jeff’s hand down my shirt - while driving and clearly awake.
Fast forward a whole lot of mess and tears and details that I’ll save for the eventual book, but over the next few years here are some other things I dealt with:
- My mom not believing me about the sexual abuse and not speaking to me for two months while living with her
- My high school dance team coach telling me get up and finish practice or I couldn’t compete in the state competition routine after being in a car accident
- Being given a car (huge blessing) but not being told about oil changes and having my car seize up while crossing the highway and nobody answering their phone to come help me until a random paint service truck saw me and drove me home
- Moving a total of 19 times in 30 years and going to a total of seven schools from K-12
- Being homeless for two weeks with no car and being told you’re not allowed back home once you move out (I know this is not long compared to MANY people, but I was already dealing with fear of abandonment)
- Drug abuse as a means of self-medicating and masking
- Undiagnosed mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, C-PTSD
- And more stuff but I think you get the point…
I feel like whatever is going on right now in someone else’s life, this needs to be read by them for whatever reason only they understand. I want to get this out there, even if it’s unfinished and super broad and whatever else people will want to say. But the one person this is meant for will see it and it will all matter.
Whoever you are, here it is. You’re not alone. Pain is felt by others, even if it looks different than your own. But whatever kind of pain you’re going through, I can assure you through experience that there is joy and comfort on the other side of pain even when it feels like there isn’t or could never be. Sure, no one may ever truly understand your perspective on life and decisions you make nor reasonings you have. And that sucks. I know. But YOU know your truths. You know your struggles. It is 100% entirely up to you to claim your journey and use the dark to create light and lead others to do the same.
We can do it. Together. Please travel this traverse ground with me and help make this journey a little less lonely. I’m here for you, too. Let’s do this. We can do this. I know it.