It takes intense strength to open up about childhood sexual trauma, abandonment, or other traumatic experiences one encounters, or has encountered, at any stage of the life cycle. It takes even more strength to finally give that trauma a name. The first time I opened up to speak about the sexual trauma, I did so hoping the adults—all of the adults I spoke with would listen and put some safeguards in place. When they neither listened or acted, or, to my dismay, shoved it off or even laughed it off as unambiguous, I shut down and withdrew. Writing became my song, my pillar, my strength, my Refuge.
It would be decades before I opened myself again. It was then that I was deemed a liar and a crazy person by some in my paternal family because I exposed the known behaviors and what was and should have remained hidden, family business, if you will.
Around the age of nineteen, all I had penned–my thoughts, poems, my life, the many things I was unable to articulate verbally were given to an adult family member who was to assist me with publishing my multiplicity of writings. Sometime after that exchange, all I had written was stolen and in the hands of my violator. No doubt, I’m sure he was able to decode much of what was written and to become aware that it was he who was the subject of much of my writing. Those were the things I had written from my early childhood years up to that point. Of course, now, all that was written has seemingly disappeared. How convenient. You may have discarded the paper version of my memories. However, you will never be able to erase what has been etched in my memory.
In the mind of a child, when someone fails to listen when he or she speaks or does not at least attempt to gain clarity about what he or she is attempting to explain, and simply ignores them—they feel invisible, unheard, and their behaviors will begin to manifest in various manners. Some children will appear defiant, insolent, combative, or even withdrawn or guarded, grades will often fall in school or not. Some will even behave as though everything is perfectly fine and move on to becoming very outgoing, as well as protective. Some will become promiscuous; some will form same sex relationships. Some will form a lifetime of attachments, sometimes unhealthy ones. Oftentimes, they will exhibit more than one of these characteristics.
I’m writing and speaking from personal experiences and observation, not from a textbook, as I am neither a therapist or Counselor by profession. Today, I speak about it, the sexual trauma I experienced at the hands of the individuals who were supposed to validate me and protect me, instead of becoming my violators. I’m speaking out now to take charge of my own healing from the lack of safeguards in place for me as a child—and to also take charge of my life by placing boundaries wherever needed. There is zero access to me now.
Today, when I cry tears, my tears are no longer tears of sadness, but tears of healing, relief, release, and of purpose. Much of my life has been spent leading others on the path towards healing and being a protector. When in fact, I was the one in need of healing and protection. Today, I release myself from the tremendous pain and responsibility I’ve allowed to rest on my weary shoulders. Today, I give myself permission to strengthen the shoulders I have lent to others to cry on and the ears lent to listen to their stories.
Recently, I shared with someone that healing is not pretty at all. In fact, it’s a very ugly process. Just as a new unhealed incision one receives after surgery, or the scar one receives after falling down scraping the skin from their knee, elbow or any area of a body that encounters an injury that leaves the underlayment exposed. Even as those scars begin to heal, the protective skin which grows on the surface is very ugly. It is not until those areas are fully healed do they become beautiful. The healed areas may never look the same … they may look even better than before.
Those unhealed areas do not heal by keeping a bandage over them, they must first be exposed for the full healing process to take place. Following surgery, a protective gauze or barrier is placed over a wound to protect it from further injury. However, the overall and final healing does not begin until the bandages are removed. The same process is necessary for the hurt that takes place in the heart, especially one without a protective barrier. Until you have exposed the wound, the process of healing cannot take place. There are layers to healing. As you begin the process of healing inwardly, it is important to guard your heart, mind, and personal space with all diligence. As the healing begins to manifest in the natural, spiritual healing will also take place.
Do not allow anyone to mute your story or your song. Speak about your wounds as often as you desire. Holding the pain inside only causes further damage. Someone else’s healing may be waiting to be released and healed by you sharing your story. Your inner-child, inner-teenager, your inner-you are waiting to be healed. Freedom awaits you.
My story and song are now being shared for the world to see and hear. The misdirected shame of what happened to me that should belong to the ones who committed the viloating is gone, never to return. The need to care about what others may say or think is nonexistent. My mask has been removed, because I can no longer bare the weight of it; it’s too heavy.
Not everyone will understand your healing journey; it is your journey, not theirs. Do whatever is necessary to complete your journey. There will be glory after this. As adults, we are responsible for our own healing, whatever healing looks like for you. However long it takes. Healing is available. You have permission to heal.
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