So how did/do I begin this journey? I had no clue and I (thought/felt) that I had no one to ask so I decided to start by identifying what I was feeling, what was I feeling? I was feeling fear, I was feeling alone, I always felt overwhelmed. After noting these feelings, what was next? The next question was what do I do about these feelings? I decided to try to begin to understand them, I started with fear, understanding fear. I went out a day or two later and found a book called the The Gift of Fear, by Gavin De Becker. In beginning to understand this feeling that had for so long controlled me, I began to truly allow myself to feel the full significance of what had been done to me, I had been violated, my child innocence was taken with absolutely no consideration for it’s lifelong impact and memories, the psychological affect all it would have on me throughout my young adult years. I think what had most adversely affected was when I told the adults around me what had been done to me, nothing was done, it was swept under the rug, once again, a sense of betrayal, but even more profound was that I did not feel any real outrage in my heart, I did not feel (part of my PCST) that I had any right to feel outrage and so as I got older, I saw myself as something not worth the fight, me for myself but nor could I ask anyone to fight for me, I thought I would never have any meaningful relationships. Beginning to understand all of this helped me begin to see why I was the way I was and this was a new insight to my other behaviours. I do not blame anyone (except my abuser of course) for how things were handled, I sort of understand why things weren’t handled and I will leave that at that.
Beginning to understand and to see what had been done to me for what it was, that I had a right to outrage, to anger, to fight for myself, to move on was in itself incredibly empowering, I slowly began to regain as much of what I had lost as I could. I had an unhealthy, dysfunctional notion of fear, fear of life, of dreaming, of loving , of being loved, of intimacy, of being in control, of making certain decisions in my life, and I wanted to feel it all…so I decided to embrace fear, to face it, to take it on.
Another book I read is one called women who run with the wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a very intense and powerful read for women who want to feel it all, to live wholly and as completely as the world around us will allow us to (and maybe stretch those boundaries once in awhile) J
Between these two books, I found myself begin to feel a new life taking over, I began to see myself differently in the mirror, as a beautiful woman with her whole life before her, and for the first time in my life, I felt like this life was really, truly mine!
15 years later, I walk along side fear, I respect it, I trust it but it no longer controls me or my life. This was my first “tool”, understanding fear.
I don’t share photos of myself voluntarily, part of my abuse was being photographed, this did more damage than anything (in the long term) and so it was truly ironic how my life became about being photograph, about my image. Anyway, I am sharing a few pictures of myself with this article, picture 1 taken months before the abuse, picture 2 taken in high school when I was at my worst in terms of “girl/woman” confidence and another take about 6 years after my “healing” journey began (2005), I hope you will see the difference in who I was then and who I am (becoming) today, I hope you too can see in yourself the woman you want to be.