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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking it Deep - 30 Days of Shamelessness gets real

Today I'm taking it deep at Random Girl. This is for several reasons. First of all, if everything was always silly and full of shenanigans, I would be Predictable Girl, not Random Girl.. Secondly, if I am really going to embrace the 30 Days of Shamelessness concept, I need to be real about the few things on the list that could give me an opportunity to grow and move past some shit.  Consider this your warning and feel free to bail out now if you don't want to come along for the ride.  


I'm knocking out two of the heavy hitters with this post because they are kind of  related, at least in my mind, and I don't want to have to write about this kind of stuff again any time soon. I kind of hate this, which means I probably really need to do it. So here goes.... 


Consider this me coming clean on the following days worth of shamelessness:
9. expose something messy or dirty you’d usually hide.
24. share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.”


I'm going to expose something that is messy that I would usually hide. It's also a struggle I have yet to "just get over".  Yes, I am dramatic like that sometimes.  Here's my story.


Sometimes one thing leads to another that leads to another and before you know it you are somewhere you didn't think you would be doing something you wouldn't think you would do and you aren't quite sure why. Ever been there? 


There was a period of time for me, like between the ages of 5-7 years old, when something that shouldn't have happened to me, did. I didn't know it at the time but after growing older and learning more about such things, I can clearly say that it was wrong and it was not my fault.  That's the advantage and the curse of having perspective. 


At the time, it was all presented like a game, like something that should be fun, was innocent, and I should even enjoy. And because the person that did it was close to the family and not a whole lot older than me, it was all ignored by the adults that should have intervened. It was written off as insignificant. It was not. But not knowing the full extent of what was going on or the impact that it would have on me as I grew older and developed my self-image, I simply pushed it back from my mind and went on about my business. 


My family moved and it became a non issue although I still would see this person from time to time. I just smiled politely and tried to avoid him. I didn't want to think about it and I certainly didn't want to talk about it. Once, when we were older, I think I was like 16 at the time, we ended up alone for a moment and he brought it up. I think he was attempting to apologize but I couldn't think about it or talk about it so I cut him off mid-sentence and I left. Ignore it and it will go away right?? 


But it didn't go away. It never had. It was always in the back of mind in two ways. 1) I was never really sure what to think about what had happened. I didn't think that he had hurt me but I also knew that something was very off with the situation because every time I thought about it, I wanted to get sick to my stomach which tells me that at the core, it was bad. 2) I lost respect for my body and didn't think it was worth honoring and protecting any longer because the damage had already been done. 


The second part was something I didn't figure out until much later, after I had abused my body in a number of ways including hiding behind being a "fat kid" in elementary school, stashing diet pills and adopting the "scarf and barf" lifestyle in high school, and offering myself up to most any guy that showed me attention to try to prove I was  "in control" of the situation. I clearly was not in control of anything in those situations. 


I lost the perception of myself, my body, and my worth. I felt like it wasn't mine to have since it was already taken over once.  How could it be important if someone else was allowed to do things to me and no one who could have stopped it did? What did that say about how important I was or how much value I had? 


I know now how flawed that thinking was and how it wasn't my fault. I don't blame my parents or other adults that could have or should have known because I don' t think it was intentionally ignored. I know how strong denial can be and how you can talk yourself into believing that "nothing happened" if realizing that the opposite is too painful to admit and if taking action would destroy other people. 


Why am I talking about this now? Why am I using space to drag you all into this not-so-happy place that was hidden for so long? Because I need to for myself. I don't have the luxury of denying and ignoring any longer because now I have a daughter. A daughter that is the same age as I was when this started happening to me. I have to be honest about what can happen and I won't risk letting the same things happen to my daughter that happened to me and pretend it can't or won't happen to her. 


I can't change anything that happened to me but I can change how I deal with it and I can use that experience to be extra aware and vigilant in protecting her. That's my responsibility and that's the lesson I have learned. 







I'm also using this for my response to the Studio 30 Plus weekly prompt: The End
If you aren't part of S30P yet, you need to be. Get over there and sign up!

14 comments:

  1. wow...hug and then some.

    I am so sorry you were treated this way. So many people who have suffered abuse say that owning what happened to them is the best way to get through it. You are doing that.

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you letting me and the otehr fans of you and your blog know what's been a part of you for a very long time.

    Know that you are never alone nor wrong to share this.

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  2. RG. Bravo to you. Bravo. We victims of child abuse and child rape live under the wet blanket of shame, acting-out against mostly ourselves.

    I was raped by my Boy Scout leader--a Deacon in my church--at age thirteen. I won't detract from your story other than to say thanks for speaking out. I hope seeing this in print has given you as much help as it did me when I published.

    As parents, we need to be careful of EVERY person our kids come into contact with. And we need to listen when they try to tell us things.

    Thanks again for your honesty.

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  3. I'm sorry that this happened to you and it bothers me to no end that it happens every day to some child. I'm glad that you had the courage to talk about it.

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  4. I can only imagine how difficult that was for you to go through at such a young age, and it's sad how one traumatic incident can shape your self-image for the rest of your life. There's no excuse for anyone to do that to a little girl ever, and I'm glad that you didn't allow him to even attempt an apology. You may have had a low self-image as a teenager, but that was a huge save for your self-respect.

    This must have been tough for you to write and relive but you're doing a great thing here. Your honesty, courage, and strength mean a lot to a lot of people -- especially your little girl. :)

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  5. Wow. This isn't just deep, it's ultra-deep.

    It always feels good to vent, especially when you have a group of people willing to listen and support. I've been following you for months now, and feel a tinge of pain when I read something like this.

    Getting it off your chest and letting the words escape your mouth can be a heavy weight lifting off you. I hope this helps strengthen you, and I hope nothing so scarring and jarring happens to your daughter. Especially at such a young age.

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  6. It isn't easy sharing things that you have left buried for so long but it is a great step towards healing. I don't wish a "lesson" like this on anyone and am so sorry you went through this. That being said it did shape the person you are today and the person you are today is wonderful. You will be a better, more alert, and more aware mother because of it. It is a travesty that things like this happen to children all over the world every single day and nothing takes away from that. Hugs.

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  7. thank you for pouring your heart out. This is the first blog post of yours I've ever read (I think), and Lance directed me here. Thank you, Lance.

    These are brave words. I hurt for the girl you were then, who had to endure and who was affected all the way down into her soul by the damage done. Writing your truth out can be really healing and validating, but it can stir stuff up inside too. I hope you haven't been too badly jarred from going back into this place and writing about it. I hope you have felt the support and warmth and acceptance from your readers as you've shared this. Your transparency is beautiful.

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  8. Wow. I am truly touched by your supportive words and your comments. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring.
    I don't consider myself a victim and I know that there are people that have lived and are living through much more horrendous things than I will ever endure in my lifetime and that sucks and breaks my heart to even think about the pain that has been inflicted on others.

    Mooner, your story breaks my heart, I hope that justice was served in some way for the crime against you. So seldom that is the case.

    Perpetrators get away with it because the people they prey on are too afraid to speak up or don't understand what is happening to them enough to know that it is wrong at the time.

    Pay attention to who is around your kids. Listen to them. If they react oddly towards someone or don't want to spend time around someone, that is a huge red flag. Recognize it and ask questions. Make the confrontation even when the possibility seems inconceivable or will cause tension or conflict.

    Your first and only responsibility is to protect your child/children or any children that you are privileged enough to have as part of your life, nieces, nephews, friend's kids etc. Be an advocate for those kids.

    This is the first and probably the only time I will post on this. It's been an exhausting day having all of this brought back up and I have felt on the verge of a panic attack for most of it. I have peace with it as I end this day and that is largely because of your support and kindness. Thank you!!

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  9. Wow, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Something else to add to our commonalities. Although, it's not something I'm happy about having in common with you. I mean, I heart you and everything but clearly, this is not one thing I am proud of saying, "I know exactly how you felt..." Revealing something like this or coming to terms with it, is very emotionally draining, yet liberating, exhausting, yet euphoric, sad, yet necessary. I'm so glad your daughter has you to look out for her and keep those "monsters" from taking her innoncence. We should all have been so fortunate.

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  10. What a brave post... I admire you even more now. Every paragraph gave me chills. I can't write nonfictionally about such things. This kinda stuff happens to 1 in 4 girls. How fucking ridiculous... All thru my pregnancy (and beyond) I had nightmares of my daughter being that 1. Having to make sure our daughters don't get molested takes away some of the joy of parenthood, huh? My heart goes out to you.

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  11. Your courage and honesty always amazed me, my darling. I can unfortunately relate to much of this, which makes my appreciation of the brilliant person that you are even more profound since it's so easy to go down the path of bitterness. I'm so sorry that you went through what you did, but admire the strength you have to, maybe not get over it since I don't think you ever get over something like that, but to not let it get over YOU.

    You are an amazing, loving, brave and wonderful person, my RandyGirl. *hugs*

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  12. This is why you're the one blogger I try to keep up with. I love that you're not afraid to open up. In posts-past where you've joked about the random and silly, interesting and funny - I can hear your voice, and this is just a different tone, slight change of pitch.

    Writing it down, letting it out, sharing if you need to is such a useful tool, something that you've taught me to use whenever I need to. For that I thank and adore the shit outta you!

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  13. @Yvonne & @Kat: thank you for your honesty. I wish that neither of you could relate on this topic though, it's one of the few that you hope you are the only one that could have to have experiences such as this. You ladies are amazing and brave and thank you for your support.

    @Lazidaisical: Yes, having to constantly watch for monsters kind of makes me want to lock the princess away in the tower and put dragons at the gate to keep bad things away. I can't though, I have just have to be aware and give her the skills she needs to know to speak up and prevent this the best she can and if anyone EVER tries to hurt her.... they will be more sorry than they could ever imagine.
    @Stefan: Thank you thank you thank you. I figured it was time for me to put up or shut up so I did what I had encouraged others to do... write it down and just get it out of your head. Maybe it will help someone else in the process right?? XO!

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