A dad, his daughter and a motorcycle

When I was in first grade, my dad bought a motorcycle. There’s not much cooler than that to a six-year-old kid. I can remember the excitement I felt when he bought me my very own helmet. A few times a summer, he would take me for a ride. I would hold on tight, never afraid. He was strong and I felt so safe with him. I felt so special on those days. I felt important to him, worthy of his time. Sometimes, we’d ride over to the ice cream shop. We’d lean against the fence, eating our cones, making small talk. Then we’d hop back on and head home, always taking the scenic route, along the beach. I loved the feeling of the wind on my arms as I wrapped them around him tightly. Those rides were never long enough. I wanted to ride with him forever.

I can’t remember the last ride. I suppose they just tapered off as I got older. Things changed. Our family changed. We all became different. Things happened. Things that caused those feelings of worthiness to vanish. I still don’t have them.

He’s got a motorcycle now. I don’t ask for rides anymore, and he doesn’t offer. He doesn’t understand. Those special feelings I had are so faded, I often wonder if they were real. It’s funny how a memory can make you smile and cry at the same time. I would’ve ridden with him forever…

Image result for father daughter silhouette

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 31/16

This post is a part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill. The prompt word is “first”.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Divorce, kids and validation

My husband moved out October 23rd. Since then, I’ve had him over to dinner every other week or so. The kids see him throughout the week at basketball games, or sleep over his house a few nights. We’ve been getting along extremely amicably around them. It’s been so important to me for us to be as much of a “family unit” as we can, while living in two separate homes. I held our annual Thanksgiving sleepover here with my in-laws, as well as our Christmas Eve party with them. Today, my husband came over in the morning and we exchanged gifts together, as we always have done. After, we all drove together to my mother in law’s home for our annual Christmas dinner. People are so surprised when they see us doing these things together, especially with my in-laws, and I’ve  felt kind of proud for being able to pull this off. My kids have been happy and adjusting well to the new routines…it seemed.

After our dinner at their grandmother’s, they went over to their dad’s for a bit. After an hour or so, I receive a text from my husband, saying our 13-year-old son has been crying for the past hour, “because we’re not a family anymore. I feel really bad for him”. My heart lurched into my throat. I hadn’t pulled it off, after all. I called my husband to get more details. He said my son was alone in his room downstairs, while my other son and husband were upstairs. “So, he’s all by himself down there, crying?”, I asked. He said he had offered him to stay down there with him, and my son said he didn’t have to, so my husband went upstairs to watch TV.  What the hell?

I immediately drove over there. My husband and older son were watching TV upstairs. I go down to my youngest and he’s lying on his bed, in the dark, sobbing. I lie down next to him and just hold him. He keeps crying, and I keep holding. I try to imagine what I can say to make him feel better, but I know nothing can. Through his tears, he tells me he’s sad thinking about the “old days” and how he misses us being in the same house together, doing things together…simple things like eating dinner as a family. I tell him he’s right, it is sad. I tell him how bad I feel that he has to go through this…how divorce is one of the most stressful things a child can go through. I wanted to validate his feelings, not make them go away.  I suggested we invite Dad over for dinner tomorrow, and he thought that would be a good idea. I was amazed at this 13-year-old boy’s ability to put words to his emotions. He described occasionally having tears well up over the past few months, but was able to make them go away. He described an overwhelming sadness today after spending the holidays together, then coming home to his dad’s new house. “It doesn’t feel like home here. Even Dad says it doesn’t feel like home”. He couldn’t make the tears go away this time. During the conversation, he tried to stop crying by using slow breathing techniques. God, he is so precious. I kept telling him that crying is the best way to release this pain he’s been stifling, and that it’s unfair he has to deal with this situation.  I agreed that the house was not like our home. The room has a bed and a dresser in it. That’s all. I suggested we buy some things to make it more “homey”. He didn’t think that would work, because they are just “things”. This kid is smart. So, I suggested we come up with ways to create new memories there. When they visit their dad, other than watching TV together, they don’t do anything. This is how it was when my husband lived here, but wasn’t as noticeable to the boys because they had me doing things with them. Now that I’m not there, it’s pretty noticeable that all dad does at night is watch TV and stare at his laptop while drinking wine.

His tears finally slowed down and we went upstairs. I told my husband of our talk, and about our plan to create memories in the home. He said “there’s nothing homey about this place at all” and starts rattling off what he doesn’t like about it. Luckily, my son was in the bathroom when he said that. I cut him off, “stop saying that in front of him”. No wonder he’s sad going there….he hears his dad complain about it not feeling like home, then spends the night alone in his room. Jeez.  My husband did not look excited about the plans to “make memories”, but I did not give a shit, at this point. My oldest suggested they buy a chess set for over there, as they had played it today. We came up with a few other ideas, and it seems as though we have a plan. My heart softens, as the crisis subsides. I ask my husband if he would come over to have dinner with us tomorrow….and he says “no”. He has plans. I can tell by his face, along with his vague “plans” description, that it must be a date. I look at him, with the “look” and look at my son. The son who was just crying for 2 hours and wanted his dad to come to dinner tomorrow night. My son says, “It’s fine” and stares at the TV, with tears welling in his eyes again. He stifles them down, and I let him. All I can think of is me as a child, always responding, “It’s fine”…when it definitely was not fine. I look at my husband again. He says, “It’s fine. I’m taking them skiing on Thursday, that will be plenty”, like it’s his call to decide how much time together is enough for our distraught son. I pretend I’m not furious with him, and gather the boys to leave. I let them head to the car first, and I shut the door. “Do you have plans specifically for dinner tomorrow?” and he says “yes”.   “Can you switch it to Tuesday, or even later tomorrow night?” and he says “no”. No elaboration. I can tell he’s feeling defensive, as he says, “What’s the big deal if I come over the next day?” In my head, I’m thinking “the big deal is that your son has been crying for 2 hours about us not being a family anymore. The big deal is that your text said you ‘felt so bad for him’.  The big deal is that you are not coming to dinner with your hurting son because you have a fucking date”. But I don’t say any of those things. I just leave. Because if I say those things, we end up in a fight. And if we end up in a fight, we don’t parent well together. So, I hold it in…I stuff it in the box inside my soul and save it for this blog.

Once we get home, the tears are gone. We actually had a great conversation for almost an hour, talking about different medical careers (my son is FINALLY interested in talking about his future), colleges….all kinds of things. It was a great conversation that we probably wouldn’t have had if this crisis hadn’t occurred. He commented on what a great talk it was… we made a good memory tonight, after all.  He went up to his room to play Xbox online with his friends. I think he feels better after letting those emotions out, and hopefully better for not having to stifle them or make excuses for them.  I know that makes me feel better when I’m feeling like he was.

I know this will get better. I know he has to have his ups and downs processing the death of his family unit. I know my husband will continue to disappoint me. I know I will cry probably more times than my kids will. But I have a tool box now. One that my husband doesn’t have. I keep adding to it, every chance I get. Eventually, it will hold enough tools for the both of us, so we won’t notice how empty his is. And I’m filling my kid’s tool boxes, too. Mine was completely empty at their age, and we can all see how that worked out. Teaching my children how to deal with pain, instead of hiding pain…and validating their emotions are two of the biggest gifts I can give them. They are gifts they won’t even realize they are receiving, but that’s OK. I don’t want them to have to realize it. I want validation to be normal for them, not something they unknowingly crave their entire lives. Fingers crossed….

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Robot girl cooking

When I was a little kid, I imagined myself to grow up to run a restaurant. I used to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen and pretend they were the swinging doors to a restaurant kitchen. I’d write up fake orders and tape them to the door and pretend to cook up delicious meals to my imaginary patrons. When I turned 9, it wasn’t pretending anymore. Mom had left, so Dad assigned the task of cooking to me. He would plan the menu for the week and tape it to the refrigerator. He’d prep the meals and leave me detailed instructions on how to cook them. By the time he came home from work, I’d have a hot meal on the table for him and my brother and sister. Baked stuffed pork chops for 4? No problem! Not bad for 9. My siblings were 16 and 18. I’m not really sure why they didn’t get this job. Well, I know why my brother didn’t…he was a boy. Boys got treated differently in my family. When mom left, it was my sister’s responsibility to babysit me every weekend. Never my brother. He got to go out and do whatever he wanted with his friends while she had to stay home with me, resenting me. I don’t blame her. It’s kind of a shitty deal, just because you’re a girl. I guess that’s why I got the cooking job. I was a girl and I was home after school. I was a “latch-key” kid. I’d let myself in, make a snack, do my homework, and cook dinner. Every night. Same routine. 9 years old, and I was pulling my weight, filling in for mom. I never questioned it. No one did. Whatever Dad said, was. I mean, if we weren’t going to question why mom left, why the hell would we question why a 9-year-old was cooking dinner every night?  At that point, I was so numb, I was like a robot…so it really didn’t matter.

I’m not sure I even know what a normal childhood is anymore….

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 24/16

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Linda G Hill. The prompt today is “cook” and my job is to write “organically”….no editing. Freestyle blabber….Merry Christmas!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Spirit animals

The hawks have returned to my life.  I haven’t seen them since this summer. They first came to me when I was in the deep hole of PTSD. They say hawks are messengers, that they arrive to remind you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I felt they came to me to support me in my decisions, as I had so much self-doubt. I think I saw at least 2-3 a week…swooping down right in front of my car. One time, as I was crying after bearing my deepest childhood secrets to a friend, a hawk barreled down the road right next to my car. It was flying in a perfectly straight line along the road, as if it was leading me home.  If it was someone else telling me this was happening, I wouldn’t believe them. It was just crazy how they were making their presence known to me. Once I cleared those major life hurdles, they were gone as quick as they came.

It’s been about 4 months now, and they are back.  A few weeks ago, my friend Paula was reading my post on here about my butterfly party. She attended the party, and felt as though something spiritual had happened that night.  She was hesitant to comment about it, though, as she wasn’t sure about my spiritual beliefs. She was speaking to my friend Tracy on the phone about it, and Tracy was telling her I was very spiritual, both with church and with the universe. Just as Tracy told her about my experiences with the hawks (and deer), a hawk startled her as it swooped in front of the window Paula was looking out of! She couldn’t believe it! It landed on the tree in her yard.  She took a picture of it and sent it to me (see below). She felt it was significant that the hawk was facing away from her, but she didn’t know why. I instantly knew what it was. I knew that hawk was for me. I knew it because the week before, someone I love in my family started to slowly turn their back on me about my childhood abuse. Not really about the abuse, but about me talking about it now. And by him starting to turn his back, it made me question if I was making a mistake about my decisions this year. I started to feel self-doubt again. So, the hawks are back.

Just yesterday, I was riding in the car of the nurse who is training me at my new job. It’s a bit overwhelming to be training 40 hours a week, while continuing to run my company until it sells, while having two boys on four different basketball teams, while getting ready for Christmas, while getting divorced. And during all of this stress, one of the toxic family members I removed from my life is not going quietly. And the one who is starting to turn his back on me is not stopping her. And even though I want her out of my life, I don’t want to make a big spectacle out of it, so I’m letting him not stop her. But it still hurts…that he’s not stopping her.  It still hurts that he’s not supporting me. But I get it. The adult me gets it. The adult me gets that people cope with whatever coping skills they have. The adult me gets that I have more coping skills than I used to because of all the therapy I went through this year, and I get that not everyone did that kind of work. I get it, but it still hurts. And when it hurts, I start to doubt myself again. Because I still have that inner child in me, the child who feels nothing but neglect. And as hard as I try to validate and nurture her, she’s still seeking it from the ones who could never give it to her.  I think it’s going to be a life long struggle, balancing her and me. Anyway, I’m riding in this car for work, on a busy road through town, when she says “What the heck is THAT?!” and points ahead of us. There, in the middle of the road, just in front of us, swoops the biggest red-tailed hawk I have ever seen. It was massive, and flying so low and so slow, right in front of us. It was a weird place for a hawk to be flying…with all the traffic there. I smile excitedly. “It’s a red-tailed hawk!” I tell her. She asks if that means something, and I say “yes”, but I don’t want to make her think I’m crazy my first week of work, so I don’t elaborate. We turn left at the next set of lights and travel about a mile, and another damn hawk flies over our car! Not nearly as big, nor close as the other one, but quite obvious. I had adrenaline running through my body…this was something special! I wished I was with someone who could understand the significance of it. I knew it meant something was going to happen in my life. I also knew that something was going to be a struggle.

I went home after work that day, and found out the family member I removed from my life (not really removed, as she doesn’t see us but once a year) had called my soon to be ex husband to invite him and my boys over for Christmas. That caused an uncomfortable conversation that confused my boys and ended up making me feel horrible for them even being involved. Once again, I started doubting my decisions. I went and got the mail, and found a thank you card. It was from a friend I had mailed a Christmas present to a week earlier. I had sent her a hawk ornament, as she has a relationship with them, too. In the card, she said I had touched her heart. I stood there for a few minutes, piecing it all together. My entire process this  year….speaking my truth, doing the work, making tough decisions, validating myself…I’m doing this all because I can’t connect to anyone, not even myself. Do you know how painful it is to not be able to connect to anything because of trauma? Very. So, the hawks are here because I’m doubting myself, doubting my decisions. They are telling me to take a step back…a step back from the family drama, and look at the big picture. I touched someone’s heart. And she touched mine. That’s why I sent it to her. The people who don’t touch my heart don’t have a place in my life. At least not right now. Not while I’m healing. The hawk in my friend’s back yard was telling me that I’m on the right path, even if it seems people are turning their backs on me. Speaking my truth does not make me a bad person, and them turning their backs on me does not make them bad people. I am doing the best I can with what I have…and so are they.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I was a bully #SOCS

Somewhere between the ages of 12-14 or so, I was a bully. I was one of those kids who made a few other kid’s lives miserable in school. Not a lot of kids, just a few. They were actually friends of mine, that I “sprung” being a bully on.  They never saw it coming. Neither did I.

I hated that part of me. I never knew why I was doing it. It made no sense that I could be walking out to gym class with a friend and just punch her for no reason. I actually did that…we were walking and talking and I punched her in the cheek. I instantly said “I’m sorry” and acted like it was no big deal. What the hell? And she stayed my friend. She was a quiet, meek sort of girl. Just like me. Except I hated that part of me, so I guess I hated it in her. And because she was quiet and meek and didn’t have a lot of friends (like me), I knew  I could get away with it. I didn’t understand why I needed to do that, it’s just something that erupted from me. I felt guilty afterwards. Shame.

I did it to a few other girls. I can remember starting a fight with a friend of mine in 9th grade. I made up a lie that I had heard her talking about me, and I punched her. We had been friends for 3 years, and I spring this crazy shit on her. Just awful.   There was another girl who was new and befriended me. She would come over my house sometimes. No one really did that, so you think I would have valued the crap out of her. Nope. This one day, I decided to become really angry at her and chase her out of my home with a big kitchen knife in my hand.  How scary must that have been for her? I can remember thinking to myself “why am I doing this?” as I chased her, scaring her… like it wasn’t even a really me. Like I was harboring a wild animal inside me and it would just break free on it’s own. I really had no control over it….or at least, that’s how it felt. It was sort of like watching a movie of it happening. When it came out, I think I felt a little powerful, or maybe in control…both things I never had in my life.

Over the years, I felt terribly guilty for how I treated them. Still, I never knew why. I just chalked it up to me being a bad person. I had always inherently known I was “bad”. I was never really sure why this was so…it’s just how it was.  I think I must have thought I was bad since my mom decided she didn’t want to live with me anymore. And I must have thought I was bad because my dad would keep reminding me that he offered me to her and she didn’t want me. He must have offered me to her because I was bad? Is that what I thought? I’m not sure I consciously thought those things, but looking back, I can see that I felt them. You don’t always have to put words or labels to feelings, or even understand what they are. You still feel them, and they define you.

I continued to do “bad” things, because that’s what “bad” girls do. That’s how I made sense of it.  When I was molested at 13, that was me being “bad”.  I figured I had “let” that happen to me because that went right along with me being “bad”. So, it only made sense for me to have sex with other guys when I was 14, because I was already so “bad” for doing what I did at 13. Even though I told those boys no, and looking back now I can see that what really happened is they raped me…I thought I was just “bad”.  I had no control over it. It was just who I was. It was me. I was bad. Not even just bad…I was a whore. But hey, we all know whores are bad, so really, what’s the difference?

When Facebook came on the scene, I found a few of those girls and apologized. They had moved on, of course, but seemed genuinely happy to hear me say I was sorry. I apologized for ruining what should have been the best years of their lives. I couldn’t give them an excuse, because I didn’t have one. That was 7 years ago, and I hadn’t started therapy yet. I was still bad.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been in therapy for a year now. And I don’t mean “just therapy”. I mean deep, painful, hard work therapy. I was going twice  a week for most of this spring and summer. Writing up to 10 times a day in my journal.  Peeling off those 30 year old layers resulted in PTSD…nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, confusion, panic…really life changing stuff.  I describe the whole therapy process as a giant jigsaw puzzle. After I process a few layers, I’m usually able to put a few pieces together. Last week, the pieces that seemed like they just might fit was the piece of me being a bully and the piece of me being sexually abused. I wrote to one of my victims and asked her about the timeline. She remembered it vividly (which sucks, because I know she remembers it because that’s when her life was hell because of me). It was right around that time. I’m still not sure if it was right before the sexual abuse started or right after. If it was right before, it must be related to my mom leaving. If it’s right after, it must be related to the sexual abuse (or maybe the physical and emotional abuse of my stepmother?) Either way, in the big picture, the point is moot…. it’s not going to change what happened. I have my answers….I was a bully because I suffered trauma. Does it really matter which trauma caused it? No, it doesn’t.  Trauma is trauma. Which one is minor details. All I need to know is that my trauma caused someone else’s trauma, and that sucks. We are in our 40s now, and they have all moved on, and even consider us “friends” now, so I am grateful for that. And hopefully, by me making amends, maybe when they think back to those awful times, they might not be so awful now. I’d like to think their memories sting a little less now that I’ve reached out to them, but I’ll never really know.

One thing that does not make this whole question moot is… most bullies do what they do because something bad happened to them. Well, I can only speak for myself. Maybe some kids are just born bad, or just have bad role models… but I really don’t think that’s the answer for most of them. I love that schools and society are addressing bullying now. Back then, it was brushed under the carpet as “kids being kids”. That’s wrong. Kids kill themselves from bullying. It needs to be addressed. But I also wonder…if someone had dug a little deeper back then…if they had found out why I was acting that way…do you think I could have been saved? Saved from 30 years of carrying that heavy load of guilt and shame inside me? Saved from making lifelong bad decisions because that’s all I thought I was worthy of?  I’m not going to wonder too much…it’s a moot point. The past is the past. I can look back at it, but only for so long. I need to look forward, because I’m not going back. I’m moving on. All I can do now is try my best to add happiness to the world, including to myself. I hope by doing so, I might reduce the amount of bullies in the world…even if just by one.

 

This post is in response to the prompt “moot” in part of Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s  neat way to stimulate writing. It’s organic…we can’t edit it. So, what you just read is raw…straight from my brain to yours….

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 17/16

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Baring my soul #SoCS

I bared my soul this year. I never planned on it. I spent my whole life hiding my soul. I was so good at hiding it, even I didn’t know it was hidden. I thought what was on display was all it was, and it took baring it to get me to realize what I really had inside me. How one can walk around for four decades not knowing what’s inside them, I just don’t know…but it happens.

Baring my soul resulted in “opening Pandora’s Box”. It was life changing.  Pandora’s Box doesn’t just close up again. Nope, that sucker stays WIDE open until you deal with what it is you just released. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. I did it, though. I’m on the other side now, and can appreciate just how damn heavy that box of secrets was. Baring it all made me lighter. It made me free. Well,  a little more free. I really had to bust my ass emptying that box…it burned and I cried and it was excruciatingly painful. I didn’t think I would ever get the job done. It’s like the box was going to swallow me up…drown me…because I had to dive head first right into the nasty soul part to understand how to empty it. But I did it. One day, it was just empty. It’s crazy how it just happens. Plugging away, feeling hopeless…then it’s done. Liberating. Empowering. Freedom feels good. Funny, though…how come during all those box emptying days, I never noticed that other box? That smaller box that was inside the big box. Damn. Nesting boxes of souls. That’s just mean! But, that’s how it goes, I guess. I don’t make these rules, I just live with them. So, I find myself now facing this second box, wondering how hard it’s going to be to empty. I’m scared. I don’t want to go through all that again. I’m tired. But I can’t just go walking around with another box inside me. Not after all that work I put in on the first damn box. So, I peek inside and get a glimpse of what’s in store. Yup, still some shitty soul ruining stuff, but this box seems a little lighter. Whew. That’s how nesting boxes work…big one with a smaller one inside, then a smaller one inside that one. I bet after I empty this one, there’s a good chance I’ll find yet another one. Weird thing: I’m not really that scared anymore. I get it now. I already survived baring my soul. I already survived emptying “the” box. All these other boxes are just part of that first package. I can handle it. I might not like it. It might make me sad. That’s OK. I know I can be sad and angry and scared and hurt…and survive. I can’t control how other people are going to respond. I can’t make people be who I expect them to be. I can try to open eyes and hearts, but if it doesn’t work, that’s not on me. In the end, all I can control is how I respond.  I bared my soul…the ugliest things inside me, and I’m still here. I survived. I did more than survive, I grew.

Moral of the story: When life seems like too much to bear….wait.

Image result for seed destruction quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is a part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. We were given the prompt “Bare/Bear” and then had to write organically…no edits, just let it flow!

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 10/16

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Superhero-ish #SoCS

I don’t want to brag, but I just changed the world. Not kidding. I know, I know…one person can’t change the world, right? Well, that’s sort of right. I mean, what can one girl do? The world is so big!  But you know what? I might not be able to change a whole lot, but I can change some. A little. Even one single thing. Change one person’s perspective. Yep, I can do that. I know this, because I just did. And that’s how you change the world, right? One person at a time.

In a recent post of mine (Post Election Triggers), I talked about how, as a sexual abuse survivor, I was triggered by the audio tapes of our president elect, describing how he can sexually assault women because he’s famous. Most people don’t understand this. I can see that. If you haven’t been sexually assaulted, you can’t understand. Even for many women who actually have been sexually assaulted, they don’t understand, either. These women I’m referring to have fascinating, intricate brains that changed thought processes after the abuse as a coping mechanism…essentially numbing them through denial or self blame.  I know this because that used to be me, until I was lucky enough to find myself on a path of healing. I performed exhausting work on rewiring my brain, and people like me are fully aware of the effects of trauma. Just because I’ve rewired some of my thought processes, doesn’t mean I’m immune to triggers.

I have to say, listening to the actual tape was not the worst part for me. Sure, hearing him talk stirred up emotions of fear, shame and anxiety. Worse, though…it was the response of much of the country that hurt. It was listening to people minimize, dismiss, laugh at, demean and criticize my feelings. It was listening to people say they didn’t care about what he said or did. It was listening to people call the accusing women “liars”. It was listening to people compare his words to “50 Shades of Gray”. It was listening to people say they were fine with what he did, because the husband of his opponent did the same thing. And it wasn’t just people…it was my friends. It was painful to listen to people that are supposed to care about me, not care about me. I listened to them say that his abuse is okay because other people have done the same thing. Crazy.

I did my best to explain that I was not criticizing people for their political choice…we all get to choose who we want. My problem was with people choosing him and not calling him out on the hurtful things he said. Whether it was about sexual assault, racism, mocking disabilities….I have a real problem with people not condemning these things…not so much politically, but on a human level. Yes, you can stick to your political party AND call these people out on their hate. You can do both.

I lost a few friends over this. They couldn’t get past the political part, and were not going to bend for anyone. They didn’t care who got hurt, as long as Clinton did not win. One girl, who had been my friend for 30 years, stuck to her political guns and stood by her comment “Adult women have a responsibility to report sexual assault at the time of the event, or they are just as guilty as the one who assaults them” (referring to women who wait years to come forward). Well, I waited 30 years to tell my story…

I let my emotions get the best of me one day,  when I posted a quote on Facebook about many women watching the equivalent of their abuser being elected to the presidency, and to be kind to them…as chances are you know multiple. Obviously, the post was referring to me. The first comment was from a male friend who said “…and 4 brave men in Benghazi were unavailable for comment”. This was a perfect example of how crazy this election was. Here I am, putting it out to the world that I am hurting because of sexual abuse, and a man minimized it, because of what happened in Benghazi. Don’t get me wrong, I feel horrible about what happened in Benghazi. I hate that those men died. It was truly awful. But what the hell does that have to do with sexual assault?! It’s OK for sexual abuse to occur rampantly in this country because people have died elsewhere? I should shut up about my pain and not care about Trump assaulting women because of what happened in Benghazi? I don’t matter because of what happened in Benghazi?

I told this friend to “eff off” and deleted him…along with a few others who chimed in. One of them said “Whoa! So you think rape is worse than murder?” …like it’s even appropriate to compare the two things. Rape is OK because murder is worse?? It made no sense, and was so cold and hurtful. I really struggled the week of the election.

OK, I’m sure you’re wondering where the hell the part is about me changing the world. Fast forward to last week: the friend who made the original comment, the guy who I de-friended on Facebook…he sends me a private message, wishing me a happy birthday, sending his love…like I didn’t just tell him to “eff off” 2 weeks ago. I was perplexed. I contemplated ignoring it, but I didn’t. I told him I was surprised to see his message, that it was as if he didn’t recall our interaction. He said he wasn’t going to stop loving me because we had a fight, and he apologized for hurting me and wanted to know what it was he needed to do to make things right with me. Damn. I’ve never had that happen before. That really happened!! I cried. Finally, someone validated me. Finally, I felt worthy to one of “those people” who were making me feel like I didn’t matter. And I didn’t just think of me…I felt like it was validating all women who were feeling this way. I ended up sharing my story of sexual assault and he was so apologetic, saying he wished he had known. I told him it’s too bad that people have to either be directly affected by this or have someone they know be directly affected by this in order to be mindful of feelings. It’s too bad we have to share our story in order to get people to understand, yet at the same time, we share our stories and people still don’t care. We shouldn’t have to work so hard to get people to care.

So, this guy now has a new viewpoint on sexual assault, and more so on people’s feelings. This may sound like a post on sexual assault victims (well, OK…it sort of is), but it’s more about a solution to much of the anger in our country. We need to care about each other’s feelings, even if we don’t understand them. When someone else is hurting, I am not the one who gets to decide if they should feel hurt…they are. If I ever hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally, I will always be sorry and ask what I can do to make it better. I will not make them feel small or stupid or childish for having feelings, whether I understand them or agree with them or not. I will not tell them that I didn’t intend to hurt them, therefore they shouldn’t feel hurt. This is not what’s been happening lately, in this country of ours. People are calling other people losers, whiners, “too sensitive”, drama queens….for having feelings. They tell people to “toughen up” when they are hurt. This makes the hurt person angry, too….which leads them to want to hurt the other person, and next thing you know, we have a country full of people hurting each other. We are all different. We all react differently to situations and trauma. Instead of being a divided country that hurts each other, we need to unite and heal each other.

So, that sounds like a great plan, but is that going to happen? Probably not. The anger runs pretty deep in America. But you know what? It happened between two people. It happened to me and my friend. I can bet the next time he sees a woman talking about feeling scared regarding our president and sexual abuse, he’s going to respond differently. And I’m pretty sure he’s going to come across this scenario, as there’s so many of us out there. So many of us that are speaking up and sharing our stories. Speaking up makes a difference. Calling people out makes a difference. Not to everyone, but to some. And if I can get one person to change their views and want to help heal a person, maybe you can, too. You don’t have to be a superhero and change the whole world. Just be superhero-ish … change one person’s world.

 

This post is a part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt was “SH”. I had to use a word that had those letters in it, and let it flow…totally organic writing with no edits.

 

 

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 3/16

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail