Yesterday, Kate, over at Help4YourFamily, tagged me to answer a question. In return, I get to ask eleven bloggers to answer eleven questions. She posed a lot of really good ones, and I had a hard time choosing one. There are a lot of things I could tell new parents for instance, but that would end up being a book.
I’m going to answer her second question:
How is your life different now than you imagined it would be ten years ago?
This is where I tell my little brother that this might be a good post for him to skip. There are things that have happened in my life that he doesn’t need to know about. Love you, Brother. Don’t read this one. Also, anyone else who doesn’t want to hear about trauma.
This is a scary one for me to answer, because I don’t like the girl I was ten years ago. She didn’t like herself much, either. She believed everything. She was terrified of everything. She was so hurt that she didn’t really believe that she was capable of love. She was in a relationship that both reinforced all of the negatives she believed and supported her crazy.
All that distancing language. She was me. I am still that girl, but I am that girl with powerful changes.
Eleven years ago I was raped. I refused to acknowledge that it was rape. That was too scary. In my mind rape was only rape if you fought back. You had to do more than just lay still and say no while pretending it wasn’t happening.
The man who hurt me had been my on-again, off-again boyfriend for years. To get away from him, I left my entire circle of friends. I left without a word of explanation. I simply didn’t call, see, or contact them. Every friend that I had.
I cut myself off from everything that had made me who I was, too. I started to live in a fantasy world. I claimed I could see auras. I claimed that it was possible to predict the future. I studied psychology and then later physics with the conviction that I would prove that the paranormal was possible.
I got involved in a relationship with a man who believed he was psychic. When I would begin to question the science and his claims, he would tell me that I was only questioning because I was being brainwashed by my education. He undermined what little self-confidence I had left. He began to systematically cut me off from my family.
Ten years ago, I believed in psychics, aliens, ghosts, conspiracy theories, and fairies. Ten years ago, I believed that I was unlovable and had to be something fantastic to be worth anything.
Ten years ago, I didn’t have patience to share. I told people who asked me if I wanted kids, someday, that “I will have children when it is legal to put them out on the porch like my cat when they wake me up at night.”
So, if you’d asked me ten years ago where I would be today, I would have told you that I’d be living primitively in some kind of post-apocalyptic compound. I would have privately thought, in the deep recesses of my mind, that I was going to kill myself before ten years were up. I hated myself. I hated the fact that I wanted to believe that I was special enough that I was lying to myself about reality.
Ten years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the future that I live in today. It’s too warm. Too loved and loving. Too safe and trusting. Too rational and sane. I couldn’t have imagined my capacity for change or healing. I had myself walled away from everything loving and good.
It took six years of education, ten years of friendship, and three years of therapy to get where I am today.
Loved. Loving. Rational. Worthwhile.
So, this post is about change. This is about healing. My personal story is the one about the amazing resilience of humanity.
If you know someone who is hurt, or struggling with mental illness, or if you are someone. It’s okay. Change can happen. People get better. Don’t give up. The world that you can imagine today may be so wonderfully far away from where you’ll really be in ten years time that you wouldn’t believe someone if they told you. Not that they could, reality doesn’t work that way.
So, the other part of this tagging business is that I get to tag eleven bloggers and ask them to answer Eleven questions. My eleven bloggers are:
- Ever So Gently
So, now I get to create questions for you! I like this part. Pick your own question off this list though, because I don’t want to put anyone on the spot. Well, at least not more than this list already is….
- What is the one truth that you know, without a doubt, that you wish you could share?
- What is the best day that you’ve ever had?
- What mistake have you made, that you’d make again? Why?
- Where do you want to be in ten years? What are you doing to get there?
- What is your favorite song? Why?
- Where was your first kiss?
- Did you have a favorite teacher? Why did you like them best?
- If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
- What makes your heart sing?
- Have you ever had a ‘Eureka!’ moment? What was it?
- What is your favorite part of your day?
So, go to! With great honesty and fearlessness, answer questions and tag others!