A few years ago I began to tell some of my story online and met many like me, broken but striving to live lives no longer as victims. There is power in giving voice to the hurt done to you as a helpless child. Telling your story is a crucial first step to healing. Telling helps bring consciousness to things we bury deep within in order to survive. We have to tell the stories, bring them into the light, pick them apart and find meaning in them to help us move forward.
After a while I began to see that many were telling their stories, over and over again, for years. Their stories never changed. I noticed that in digging their way out of a traumatic past, they had actually dug themselves into a new pit. They were stuck, not progressing, and so I realized that I could easily become stuck as well. I didn’t want to trade the pit I was in for another. I wanted to be free and so I stopped writing about my past, about anything related to the trauma. I needed to focus on moving forward.
I tried to move forward. I finally got into counseling to address the trauma and shortly thereafter returned to school and got a degree in psychology. I focused all of my research into the mental illness that I had recently learned was at the heart of my issues with my family and how that affected me as an individual. It wasn’t pretty.
I learned that I had been taught by my experiences to see life in a way that was destructive to me. I learned to identify when those perceptions hindered me in my relationship with myself and others. I learned to tell myself a new truth and for the most part saw significant improvement in my emotions. Despite what was happening in my life contentment, joy and happiness became the norm rather than the exception. I’m glad to say that I continually improve. Life is so much better. I am so much better.
And yet, there are times that I get sucked into the past. Sometimes I write but then I avoid writing about the past because I fear getting stuck there. I get up on a diving board but rather than launch myself into the water, I pull back and just flop in. It’s inelegant and clumsy, but at least I am able to get wet. There is some satisfaction in that, but it just isn’t the same. I think about things to write every day and though I have the time, I avoid writing in my blog, because I fear not being able to hold back. And fear that if I go for it, I will never get out.
Someone contacted my husband recently and made some accusations against him, his feelings and intentions. When he corrected the individual, the person said that he was living in the past. I became so angry. How can stating a truth that by default illustrates another’s bad behavior and choices be living in the past?
I want to go back and just upload all of my previous posts from my prior blogs. I’ve been uploading them after editing them, trying to show grace for others because I know that they do not know what they are doing. But now I want to delete the edited versions and upload all, even though it shows where I was emotionally and spiritually at the time (which doesn’t paint me in a positive light).
I’m angry at them and at us. I wonder if by not telling the story, we are acquiescing to their disordered version of the truth. I try to tell myself that only God will justify us, that it doesn’t matter what people say or think. It doesn’t. But maybe we are guilty of compliance if we don’t at least make a statement of our truth. Stating our truth will not change anything. It will most likely only cause more trouble for us. Yet the truth burns in me.
I used to think that I felt this need to tell all because I needed and wanted validation and justification. I did want and need validation and justification. And I’d be lying if I said that it wouldn’t be nice if I got it. It would be amazing even though I know it wouldn’t change the outcome of our lives. So why this burning need to tell?
I used to imagine me writing this amazing blog, writing books and lecturing, helping so many like me in the process. That is never going to happen. Nothing I do will ever make a difference for myself or others. That is the reality of the situation. And yet this need to tell persists.
Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.