Seems like not so long ago we ushered in the new year, had Easter egg hunts , applied sunscreen, attended barbeques and passed out candy to all the excited trick-o-treater’s. We blinked and Thanksgiving is suddenly knocking at our front doors. Creating grocery lists, spending time with families and strategizing on the many “can’t live without” deals happening on black Friday (which is now charcoal Thursday).
Last January I mentioned to a very dear friend that 2017 would be my year. A time for significant breakthrough and change. At the time I said those words I felt like something deep inside me was attempting to rise up and see the light of day. Almost like a baby chick hatching from an egg. First you see cracks appear on the outer shell – slowly at first – then as the cracks continue to grow it loosens the solid structure holding the small bird inside it. This fragile creature reaches the point where the shell is no longer needed and attempts to escape. To what exactly? I don’t think the baby bird really knows but at this point is solely focused on breaking free.
My firm commitment to therapy and trusting and leaning on my support system was crucial to making this happen. I’ve done both before but never at the same time. Up to this point in my life I hadn’t jumped 100% in to recovery and healing. I was a working wife and mom to 3 young boys so my focus was needed in other areas. In terms of overcoming my childhood abuse – I did what I could when I could. Now my role and responsibilities had changed. While I miss running children to baseball games, guitar lessons and helping with homework (okay maybe not the homework part) – now was the time I could finally focus on battling my demons.
So I began to take good hard look at the ways I spent my time and money. Would these things get me closer to my goal? What did I need to give up or shift to a different area? In a way it felt strange and wrong to place so much energy and focus on myself. Part of the reason is because I’m a mom. Our entire purpose is to nurture and care for our family and sometimes along the way we get lost. The other part has to do with my abuse. You see my sexual abuse began when I was only 4 years old and lasted for eight years. My physical and emotion abuse lasted even longer. The message I learned is that my well-being and feelings were not important – I wasn’t important.
Attempting to erase these lies now as an adult for the most part feels like standing on a beach facing a tsunami. As a child you try to shield yourself from the large, destructive wave of pain and torment. Hold on for dear life and pray you don’t drown. When your body finally washes up on the shore you just find yourself inching and crawling back to higher ground. As relieved as you are to have survived it – you can never forget and will always feel like it’s hovering over you.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am not a push over. I have deep convictions and will fight for my children or causes that I feel deeply about. Those who know me see that I speak my mind and I’m passionate about helping others to overcome injustice. Just not so much for myself. I was completely rattled and speechless when I finally realized it. It was truly a wake up call for me. I learned that my internal (and external) scars were like petroglyphs (prehistoric rock carvings) that told the story of who I am. Except it never dawned on me it was mere fiction.
There is an internal struggle that takes place inside me before heading to therapy. Almost every time. I can think of a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. It’s close to Arizona State University so the traffic sometimes is overwhelming. The funny thing is I always leave my sessions different from when I arrived – with hope. To be completely honest I thought I would be further along in my recovery but so much has happened this year:
- I had zero communication with my parents who lived in Texas
- I was in the middle of the sexual abuse case I had filed against my uncle
- My father’s brother (different uncle) was diagnosed with late stage cancer and did not survive
- Six weeks later my father unexpectedly passed away
- My mom moved back to Arizona and for a while into my home
- I learned that the District Attorney would not pursue the case due to lack of evidence
When I spoke the words “this is my year” I had no clue what I was saying. In January I thought my blog in November 2017 would tell a different story. I believed I would share how I bravely stood before giant demons with my slingshot and a rock and slayed them all. I can’t say that just yet. It’s still a work in process and my commitment to it (to myself) brings me closer to that day.
So far the waves of 2017 have attempted to swallow me whole. I couldn’t have guessed what was in store for me, and maybe that was a good thing. I learned that this time instead of hoping to not drown I’ve taught myself how to surf. I’ve fallen off my board many times but I refuse to let the massive movement of water win. So I wait. When I see the swell forming I begin to paddle and swim and prepare for the right moment.
I don’t know how long it will take or how old I will be but I WILL BE HEALED. I WILL BE RESTORED and one day become a master surfer of monster pipelines. Until then I will continue to prepare for the battle that lies ahead. Water isn’t solid and powerful waves can’t last forever – the same goes for my abuse scars. One day my dream will become reality and I will be free and whole – and I don’t just want it for me. It’s my hope that I will look around and see others attempting to ride the waves with me. Slaying our giant demons together.