Who Am I?

One of the most wonderful affirmations I have seen is the one that reads:

“I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife, niece, aunt, friend….survivor.”

It is a wonderful feeling to truly know who you are, and I am thankful, that through all that I have endured, I have had the opportunity to learn who I am.  Yet though it all, I often wonder, how many people, other than myself, know the truth about who I really am?

If you are reading this, I would like for you to take a moment and ask yourself, “Do I know her?”

What if I am your daughter?  Would it break your heart to read the words I have written here?  If I were your sister, would it anger you that someone had tried to destroy someone so precious to you?  If I were your niece, would you wonder what you could have done to protect me?  If I were your friend, would you want to know what you could do to help me cope with the mental anguish that these secrets have caused?

Who knows, maybe you do know me.  If you do, I would hope that you would do everything in your power to learn how to keep this from happening from someone else.  If you don’t know me, I would hope that you would take a moment to think about how you would feel if I were the person that you love with all your heart.  How would you feel to know that I had been hiding this secret all these years because I was afraid you would not love me anymore?  What would you do to show me that I am not broken, and that I have no reason to be ashamed?  Would you be willing to speak out on my behalf?

Sometimes we do not like to talk about things that are not pleasant, but remember that I (or your mother, sister, daughter, friend….) may have been, or may currently be a victim of abuse.  As unpleasant as it may be to face that fact, remember that it is even harder for her to speak out, bearing her soul and hoping that she will find love, comfort, and respect in a world that had done her so much harm.  Help her by learning the signs, gathering resources, and learning how to help her cope.  Should the day ever come that she needs you, you will be there, and the love and comfort you share with her will give her the courage she needs to not only be your loved one, but to say that she has survived.

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Taking a Step Out…

Recently, I had a conversation with someone that has been the fuel for my recent revelings and ponderances.  During our discourse, the one thing that really caught my attention was that they mentioned how adult survivors do not speak about the things they have faced.  They said that they wished that there was a way to get survivors to open up, but then, the public is often not prepared.

As a survivor, I know the reasons that we hide.  I also know the reasons we should not.  Yet, there is such a wide gap between what we need and what we receive that we quickly learn that it is much easier to live with the mess inside, rather than to open up – adding the extra burden of the mess outside as well.

For this reason, I have been deeply conflicted.  I want survivors to feel safe and at home in their own environments.  I want the rest of the world to know that the walking wounded are among them, and if they do not take notice and attempt to help, our wounds will only worsen, until there is nothing left but to bleed out all over the place.

It is time for us to speak.  It is time to leave behind fear.  If the world will not come to us, then we must go to them….

Never Before…

I am not what you would consider an art buff.  Sure, I love pretty pictures and enjoy graphic design, but I have never really cared much for art exhibits or paintings.  One of the main courses I avoided with great care in college was Art History.

I only say these things to help you understand how deep of an impression one artist and their works has made on me today.  When browsing through the “People You May Know” section of my dashboard, I noticed a page for the Darkest Dreams A Lighted Way exhibit.  Upon opening the page, I was intrigued and decided to have a peek at the art that had been displayed during the exhibit.  Immediately, I was drawn to the art of the Exhibition Curator & Director, Aunia Kahn.  Upon seeing her works of art, I was deeply touched by the raw emotion that she is able to convey, and the way that she captures the inner struggles of victims of abuse.  Never before have I been so moved by a work of art, as I was by “We Soon Forget” and “One Day After” (as seen in Aunia’s Our Human Error Gallery).

After viewing Aunia’s works of art and jewelry, I now know why art can be so captivating.  In order for art to have meaning, it must touch us on an emotional level and connect with some part of our soul.  Each work of art will speak to us differently, some may never speak to us at all.  However, for each piece of work, there is at least one person who will be forever changed by the connection that they have made with the heart of the artist, and with themselves.

For now, the only words I have left are, I am completely in awe….

At it Again…

Recently, I have started to feel the urge to speak out publicly grow stronger.  I have known for years that my goal in healing was to be able to one day speak without fear, regret, or a fictitious name.  To help others by allowing them to know me and giving them the opportunity to truly see that healing is possible, and so is life after the pain.

It has been a very scary thought to ponder, and there are quite a few draw backs that I still consider as I think of the possibilities.  I still worry that, upon speaking out, I can never take it back. Once I lay everything out for the world to see, I will be subject to their opinions, beliefs, distrust, and judgment.  I do not wish to confront my abusers, so there will be no accusations or naming, but I know that family members will want to know who the abusers were.  I can keep my secret because I know that it would cause me more damage to be forced to deal with my abusers, than to keep certain thing to myself.  Yet I know that it will be a serious issue.

Last, but not least, I feel I should tell my father.  Although we do not speak, and I do not wish to have a relationship with him, I feel that he has a right to know what I am preparing to share with others.  I thought about writing a letter to share what happened to me, so that he would not hear it from strangers and be shocked.  Yet, what started out as an informative note, has now become a somewhat accusatory letter.  There are so many things that need to be said…

I am not sure if I am even on the right track here.  Maybe I shouldn’t write the letter.  Maybe I should just leave things as they are.  I know that speaking out is important, and that it could help someone else – but sometimes I worry that I am not quite ready for the ugly mess that is going to come spilling out once the flood gates are opened…