Recently, a fellow writer sent me a message with a blog topic for me. Here is how the initial chat went:
Friday, 3:45 pm- She wrote
I have a blog topic for you!
How to function as survivor after being a victim
*as a survivor
Saturday 8:20am- I responded
Would you like to write it?
Saturday- She responded:
Oh goodness, I don’t know.
Initially, when I received the blog topic suggestion I thought to myself…..’Uh, I know you have been reading my Blog, I think this is what I often write about….I am confuzed lady??’ (My daughter and I readily use the word confuzed to denote that we are beyond normal confusion). Then I realized this really was not about me so I asked what I hoped would be the Golden Question.
Let me say before you read this below, this is why I tell my story: for the Domino Effect. I fell in love with Maya Angelou when I was a teenager because it was the first time someone spoke my story of trauma and I held that in my heart for years and years before I wrote my own.
My hope is that for every truth we tell, another life will be lived fully.
LIVE. OUT. LOUD.
Solange Made Me Do It
I had no idea I was a victim. I knew that I had been through some unpleasant things in my past, but the idea of being a victim carries so much shame and embarrassment for me. I can help other’s see their worth, but I was delusional about my own.
For the first time a few weeks ago I shared the story of how I was verbally, mentally and sexually abused by my ex-fiance. In the midst, I didn’t even realize it was happening. I was raised to be a strong woman that didn’t take anyone’s shit and to recognize the signs. I saw them and ignored them because I was lonely in a foreign country. I didn’t realize how much damage it did to me and I didn’t realize that I carried it with me like a piece of luggage until the word vomit started flowing. You know, that one bag you have had forever, that you would rather duck-tape than to throw it away because the hole is not that big, and you paid too much for it? That one. It was attached to me like a tumor.
I left him when I realized that we were two different people. I stayed away when I had time to think about the manipulation and the fact that he tried to break me. He didn’t. He couldn’t. My genes were stronger than his desires. I had generations of women standing with me who were strong enough to endure and flourish.
I have heard Alicia share her story a few times. The first time, I didn’t know I had one. Well, I knew I had one, but I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I didn’t want to share. I wanted to support those brave survivors from a distance. If I got too close, I knew I would spill the beans and then everyone would know about my private pain and shame.
I sent Alicia an email a few hours ago telling her that she should write a blog on how to function as a survivor after being a victim. She is the expert, she knows, right? I needed to know because I was so tired of living like a victim. The shit sticks to you like honey on a hot day and even when you aren’t thinking about it flies zone in on it, drawing attention. And even after you wash it off you still feel those phantom flies and stickiness. It never goes away.
What I didn’t expect was her response to my proposal: “Would you like to write it?” My first thought was No!!!! I don’t want to be vulnerable! I don’t want to share my shame. I knew better than to be abused. I let it happen. I paused, took a deep breath and remembered that I had a choice. I could continue to function from behind the scenes or I could step up and own my story. In those terms, I didn’t really have a choice. I knew what I had to do.
I know that Solange never thought that beating up a guy in an elevator would inspire such honesty, but there it is. So now I have to figure out how to function as a survivor instead of a victim. I have to figure out how to let go of my shame and embarrassment. I have to because I want to be authentic. I want people to be able to look at me and know that they are getting all of me. The good, bad, ugly. No more hiding. No more isolation. Just me.
I’m not yet ready to thank Solange for sparking this conversation and revelation. I’m sure she doesn’t care, LOL. I’m a victim who is learning how to function as a survivor. It will take time, and now that I have opened my heart to receiving the love, acceptance and support that I know I will have, I’m ready to receive it.