Sunday, April 25, 2010

A story that needs to be told

I have been sitting here for hours trying to figure out how to get the thoughts that are flooding my head out.  I have started and re-started this post several times.  Someone might say that if it is so difficult that maybe I should take that as a sign that I should not post these thoughts, but that is not the case.  I just have to figure out the best way to say what it is that is weighing on my mind.  Its a touchy topic.  Its a deeply personal and private topic.  It is not something that I have shared with many of those close to me.  

I feel compelled to share because I know that there are many people out there who have been through this or something very similar.  Ah, who am I kidding?  I mostly need to share because if I don't I'm not sure I can fully heal.

16 years ago, I was a single mom with 2 Littles to watch over.  I was also quite the drinker.  Not every day, but definitely binged on the weekends that I had no Littles to tend to.  On one of those weekends it was business as usual.  Go to the club with a friend, get good and drunk and then go home and pass out.  That is usually how it ended up.  Until one night when things didn't exactly go as planned.

Here's what I remembered the next day.  I went to the club, I got separated from my friend and then I recalled standing outside after the bars had closed and having a complete stranger ask me if I was ok and if I needed a ride. The next morning I awoke to a severe headache, a large egg on the back of my head and bruises on my neck.

To those of you reading, it is probably very clear that I had been physically and more than likely sexually assaulted.  To me, at the time, I had messed up big time.  I had had sex with someone because I drank too much.  I couldn't explain the bump on my head or the bruises on my neck, but I was pretty sure that I was never going to tell anyone what had happened.  Everyone would know that it was my fault for drinking too much and for leaving with a stranger. Even though I didn't remember leaving with anyone.

So I filed the attack away and went on like business as usual.  Went to work on Monday with a headache and faint bruises on my neck.  I made it 3 days before a fellow employee finally cornered me and asked me why I had been acting so off.  Apparently I wasn't very good at pretending.  She was an angel.  She had been through a date rape experience and she encouraged me to go the doctor and then to the police.

Some of the details of the attack had been coming to me over those 3 days.  I remembered where the attack had taken place and I remembered who the person was.  It was a friend of my friend's boyfriend.  I didn't remember his name, but I knew that I could find him if I needed to.  I kept that information to myself.  I didn't want to find him.  I didn't want him to tell everyone that I had willingly left the bar with him.  I didn't want to get my friend involved.  So I told her that I didn't know who he was.  Just some guy from the bar.

My co-worked told me how I would feel so much better if I reported it.  She said that I would feel more empowered and safe.  She went with me to the police.  I did not feel better.  I felt embarrassed and ashamed.  The police officer was very kind.  He assured me that it was not my fault and that I shouldn't feel bad.  Then he had me take him to the scene of the attack.  All I could do is shake as we walked into that wooded area.  More details came to my mind, but I couldn't share them.  Too disgusted.  He found some evidence and then told me to go right to the ER and get myself checked out.

At the ER it was determined that I had sustained a concussion.  I was not pregnant and I would have to wait for the HIV test to come, but the attacker had used a condom, so I should be thankful for that.  I went home feeling dirty and ashamed again.  I never talked to the police after that.  I couldn't even see that I had been viciously attacked even after I had been told that I had a concussion. In my mind I was still to blame.  I asked for it.  I filed the experience away and every now and then I would bring it up in one of my many stints in the counselors office. I even had been able to embrace the notion that it was not my fault and I thought I had moved on.

But today my thoughts kept turning back to that day 16 years ago.  I found myself getting more and more emotional about it.  I knew that I had some more healing to do.  I recently began the practice of Reiki.  I'm not going to go into what Reiki is right now, because this post is getting long enough.  Simply put, it is an ancient Eastern energy healing technique for the body, mind & spirit.  I knew that I needed some healing in the area of this past trauma, but I had no idea what that meant.

This afternoon, as I performed Reiki, the memories of that night came flooding back.  Things that I had long forgotten and some things that I had no idea I even knew.  I was finally able to understand why I could not remember so many details.  I had been drugged and I had been mislead to believe that this person knew where my friend was and would take me to her.  I had been a victim of a terrible, brutal crime.  I relived all the pain and fear of that night.  For these past 16 years any tears that I shed about that night were tears of shame and guilt.  Today, for the first time, I let the tears fall freely for the pain that I experienced  that night.  I cried silently, so that I would not upset my family, but I didn't hold it in.  I released the experience.  I felt fear, pain (actual physical pain) and anger. I felt vulnerable and small. Nothing I felt tonight has resembled shame or  embarrassment or disgust.

I'm shaken, but I am also healing.  I am finally, after 16 years, feeling all that I should have felt that night.  I am finally seeing what happened as the tragedy that it was.  I feel safe and protected and I know that I am going to be fine.  I am being guided through this healing process from a combination of sources.  Both divine and human.  I am not doing this on my own.  This is bigger than me, but I am stronger because of it.  I am a little freer today and little lighter knowing that I am loved by many and that I will not be judged by this event any longer.

There are people that I know that are going to read this and they will probably going to be taken aback and maybe feel awkward around me, but that is ok.  Healing doesn't just need to happen to those of us who have experienced this.  It needs to happen to those who are affected by it in any manner.  I don't want people to look at me and feel sorry for me, I want them to look at me and think how amazing it is to heal from something so sad.  I have more healing to do, but I know that I am up for the experience.  I am ready to let my spirit shine and be fully free.  That day is coming.

I don't know how long I'll keep this posted.  I may decide tomorrow that I don't want to expose myself to others this way.  For today I will hit the 'publish post' button and I will hope that what I have gone through can be a beacon of light for anyone who may have experienced the same thing and just wants to heal once and for all.

If you have gone through any kind of physical and/or sexual attack, please tell someone.  Allow yourself to heal and to see that you are a beautiful, shining soul who only deserves to be loved and safe.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I became a mother today

I became a mother on this day 22 years ago.  For these past 22 years now, I have loved being a mother and I have hated it.  I have made many mistakes in my mothering, but they were all mistakes that I had to make.  Some people say that being a mother is a job.  The times that I have hated being a mom have been the times that I believed that being a mother was a job.  In my mind, mothering is not a job.  It is not something that I can call in sick from.  It is not something that I will ever receive monetary compensation for.  It is not something that I can, at the end of the day, clock out and walk away from.  That is how I view a job. 

Mothering is a part of who I am.  It is a piece of me that will never be absent from my life.  I will always and forever be a mother.  It is a role that I have been fine tuning all these 22 years.  Am I the perfect mother?  Absolutely not.  Is there a perfect mother?  Absolutely not.  Is being a mother perfect for me?  I believe so. 

I stumbled into motherhood at a time in my life when things were not going well for me.  I was drinking too much and I was not taking any part of my life seriously.  I was not the person that I wanted to be, but had no intentions on changing.  Then I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl.  She filled my lonely heart up with love the second I laid eyes on her.  She was perfect.  Becoming a mother turned my life around.  It would be many years till I was to become the shiny person I feel I am today, but my life definitely changed that April 14th for the better.

On that day, I became important to someone else.  I couldn't think of just myself any longer.  Yes, it was hard being a single mom.  It was hard feeling like I was all alone in the world with this tiny baby.  I doubted myself as a mother, but I never never doubted my love for my precious Little.

The relationship that I have had with my first born has been complicated and fierce at times.  It has also been rewarding and meaningful.  I wish her to be happy and joyful and to love herself as I love her.  I wish her to find her passion and turn it into a way of life.  I wish her to be thoughtful and responsible and to surround herself with the same kind of people.  Most of all, however, I wish her to know that I love her and I will wait patiently as she finds her way through life.

I can no longer financially support her in any way, but I will always emotionally support her.  I have boundaries in place that will not be crossed.  I hold those boundaries solidly in place because I love her and I want to model to her what it means to not allow others to take advantage of us.  I don't want her to take advantage of me and I don't want her to be taken advantage of either.

Being her mother for these last 22 years is something that I would never change.  I don't wish I could do anything over.  Every experience, every ounce of pain and joy I have felt, was exactly what it was supposed to be.

Happy Birthday, Not-so-Little #1.  I hope that you know in your heart that I love you fully and unconditionally.  I hope that you are able to make your life into all that you hope it will be.  Thank you for choosing me as your mother and helping me to begin my journey into motherhood.  I love you!!

Just my thoughts.