Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Magic in Disaster

About a year ago, I started telling my story. I didn't know it at the time but, that day telling my story would change everything. I was asked to speak at a victim appreciation day at a men’s prison in Saint Joseph. I was slowly starting to face my fears and this was my biggest challenge so far. As I sat in front of 200 men waiting for my turn to speak I could feel my heart beating in my head.

I was introduced by a prisoner who was the leader of good behavior; I stepped up to the wooden podium and nervously started telling my story. The story I have shared with you all in my blogs. But, not even half way through I completely lost it. I started crying and turned away. As my advocate came to me with her arms open I buried my head into her shoulder, trying to collect myself. I had taken my chance to tell my story and turned it into a disaster. But, as I was trying to pull myself together I heard something amazing, Applause. My embarrassed tear filled eyes looked up to see an entire gymnasium full of men standing up with tears filling their faces, clapping. They all had their own victims; from thieves to murderers, from drugs dealers to gang members. Grown men who have done their fair share of wrong doings, were starting to understand and feeling compassion, for maybe the first time... in a victim.

It's no lie that child molesters and rapists do not get treated well from other prisoners. But, this was more than that. This might seem crazy but, it was like believing in magic your whole life and finally seeing it. To me, that's what real compassion is. In the midst of the disaster that I was working through, there it was, Magic. It hit me in the face and I realized that this is all worth it and I felt good. I felt like I was finally being heard.

After that day, I have taken compassion and I have made sure to show anyone who has been dealing with more than they think they can handle, that they can still find their worth. They can believe in that magic. Not from a wand or a story book but, from themselves, by telling their own stories. By me just listening and being there for them, even when their words come out all wrong and they can’t say a sentence without crying. Showing compassion can save lives. It can change everything and without it, there is no magic.

"A moment of compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Finding Myself Again

I have wrote to all of you a lot about the dark places I have been and how I have gotten out of them. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't rely on my relationships with others to get me here. So recently, I took away my own security blanket which was my relationship, and I did it on purpose. Who am I to sit here and preach to all of you- if I myself have not stood on my own two feet and faced some of my problem alone? So, now I am.

I'm alone in my thoughts and I'm alone with my surroundings. I live alone, sleep alone, and now do most things alone. I'm adjusting to the fact that I can't have someone saving me all the time. I need and WANT to save myself. I want to look back and know I stood on my own and took my situation head on, and won.

Maybe this is impossible. I'm not saying I always want to be alone because frankly it sucks and I hate it. But, I got comfortable in my latest situation and could no longer help myself. I seemed to have all the answers for other people but no longer had the answers for myself.

Relationships are hard after something like rape. You either don't let your partner in at all, or you let them in too much. There needs to be a balance, and by the time I realized that, it was too late. Next time around, I won't look for my partner to save me, but I will look for their support while I save myself. I'm facing fears again, that I faced in the beginning. I'm going back to the places that were the darkest and not backing down.

I could have friends come stay with me every night so I wouldn't be afraid of shadows that aren't really there, but that wouldn't be facing them would it? It would just be covering them up, like I've been doing for the past two years. Some people might think I'm nuts. To let go of all I knew and all that was safe. The rest of my life was planned out to a T but my heart knew that was not the plan for me.

Usually, I would have already cracked by now, but surprisingly I'm not. I'm surprisingly doing okay. Sometimes I'm uncomfortable but I don't think that will ever go away completely. The point I'm trying to make here is that its okay to be scared. It's okay to not know what tomorrow will bring.. being a survivor is hard, we all know that. But being an independent survivor and knowing everything is going to be okay is liberating.

It's never going to be easy, nothing ever will again, but I want all the survivors reading this to know that you can have people that support you and be independent at the same time. I have friends and family around me that I can talk to without clinging to them to save me. Eventually, I will have the type of relationship that makes me melt like a popsicle on the 4th of July. But right now, my goals are enough to give me butterflies and at this moment I know, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I'm finding myself all over again, and I'm proud to say that I'm doing it for no one else but me.

"RECOVERY. It will be challenging. It will also be worth it. You will relapse, and that's okay (as long as you keep fighting). You may feel alone in your struggle. You will have good days, and bad days, but the bad days will get fewer. Your problems will not magically go away, but they will be manageable. You may not feel different at first... but when you are done you will feel happier, healthier, stronger, and recovered. That is why you have to keep fighting."