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
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