“A ROSEBUD IN WAITING”
Although I can say it’s been only two years since, it has been much longer.
I would never call myself a Sleeping Beauty but I she and I bear a striking resemblance in a way, for I only began to open up my eyes in the last two years, as if the inner beauty inside of me had been asleep all this time.
I had been trying to exist in a horrible fairy tale wrought with oppressive thorns, shameful darkness and sickly stagnant rot, written by dominating hungry ogres intent on devouring me- all the while waiting for the Knight in shining armor that never came.
One day I dusted off my long-lost diary, recovered my old email account that had been hacked into by X and found a box I thought had been lost. Overall I had two years’ worth of entries that I couldn’t remember writing. Some entries sobbed with despair- others, as flatly emotionless as stereo instructions. The undercurrent of self-blame and protecting my abuser snuggled between the lines. I had been controlled long enough to believe that it was my fault. Emotional manipulation and crazy-making behavior is a form of control.
I felt so full of shame… and for what?
I still struggle with that answer.
Some healing steps from abuse reminds me of dancing tango with a vicious monkey who kicks, hits, and steps on your bare toes with cleats, and laughs when you slip on his banana peel.
In other words, the revelations are a painful learning experience that sometimes I have to learn twice. I’ve had to learn to laugh at myself too.
I craved love and intimacy, but I couldn’t be touched by others. It made me physically sick. My close friends knew better than to hug me- I had to initiate the hug first. My own adopted dad had to stay two feet back from me, or I thought I might throw up.
If you have never heard of a vagus response or experienced it, close your eyes and imagine. Your heart beats wildly, you feel faint, hot and cold, and you might pass out. Some call it anxiety, and some have other names for it. I call it terrifying.
In June I found myself on WordPress.com and I signed up for an anonymous blog. I began to pour my life story out into the Internet very carefully, trying deliberately not to attract any readers.
It worked at first. No one read, or visited.
The website belonged to me and no one else- no names, pictures or places, just situations and its effects on me.
Blogging about my abuse was frightening. It followed no sensible pattern or reasoning. I’d write when I was triggered. Triggers only make sense to the person experiencing them.
One day, someone found me on WordPress, and they wrote me back. And then another.
Although it felt so comforting, I panicked. I’d somehow managed to procure two friends I’d never met who had endured (and were still going through) the same experiences.
At first, I was terrified, and nearly shut the blog site down. I thought I’d been so careful. I hadn’t tagged the blog (tagging is using key words to attract people) and I hadn’t subscribed to any other blogs with it. I think for about three months I managed to keep it a complete secret.
In a way, I’d blown the cover on the secrets. I’d exposed X. I’d talked about it. To the world. It was…the most empowering, terrifying sensation.
With their encouragement, not only did I continue to write, but I began to write earnestly, daily.
I wrote stories for myself, pure fantasy- sexual fantasies. A friend noticed my style and asked for one story. I wrote them a special story, just for them. They insisted I write full-time. By then, the strength writing had given me outweighed the risks of exposing myself.
With my first success of “Finding Tina 1“, I broke my silence by shattering my own glass walls and I felt the warmth of hope. Breaking silence was the best thing I ever did. My rosebud began to bloom again.
The entire process evolved into recovery writing exercises to help me gain strength from childhood sexual abuse, sibling abuse, two stalkers, blank memories, bullying, intimate partner physical and emotional abuse and rape.
Writing helped me discover patterns within myself- and from it, I learned to set my own boundaries, write my wishes, and re-write the traumas.
The process was not easy. Every day is a new day to learn and experience. But the days are getting better.
I am learning to be less of a victim and finding ways to evolve beyond a survivor- for survivors carry heavy battle scars, physically and emotionally.
Because of recovery writing, I’m becoming a thriver and learning to re-connect with my forgiving nature. I’m learning to open up to others carefully, and I reserve the right to decline once I see an old pattern.
I’m learning that no means no!
No to crossing my lines or boundaries, no to manipulation, and definitely no to repeating the same mistakes.
I’m also learning that I can say “not yet.” I’m not yet ready for certain situations and I won’t push myself to do it. Because of writing during my recovery process, I‘ve learned enough about myself to know that I’m not ready. Yet.