We are survivors. Part of our lives involved great tragedy. A huge part of our lives has been dedicated to overcoming those events. There are daily struggles and daily victories. We made it through, but we still must constantly strive forward in the healing process. But, that is only part of who we are. There are other parts of us.
Day to day life involves hundreds of variables and possibilities. Day to day life involves the reality that we have many parts to who we are and those parts require certain responsibilities. We have jobs that cannot be stopped because we have a flashback. We have pets that need to go to the vet even if we are having a vulnerable day ourselves. The cars need to be fixed, the house needs to be painted, and the groceries need to be bought. We can’t decide that today we cannot take our children to school just because we had nightmares and sleeplessness.
So we maintain our households, hold down jobs, take care of our families and still fight for the part of us that was wounded and is ever pushing towards feeling content in where we are.
As we are working on healing, we are also working on being a good parent, being a good wife, being a good daughter or sister.
We are not just our past or what has happened to us.
We are not just working through the challenges of abuse.
We are much more than that.
A person commented the other day, “I know other women who were victims of sexual abuse, too.” We are not JUST “victims of sexual abuse.” We are survivors of sexual abuse whose sole identity is not JUST that.
For example, today, I felt particularly overwhelmed. My husband and I have been searching for answers in our daughter’s declining health. For two years we have taken her to doctors. Watching her symptoms progress and being no closer to a diagnosis has really started taking a toll. As parents, watching your child suffering and feeling totally helpless is simply heartbreaking. Recently, we have also been dealing with many house repairs, and having to coordinate many types of construction and remediation. Between my muscle disease limitation, trying to fix our home, and watching my sick child, I am extremely exhausted. I’ve spent the last year researching and trying figure out her symptoms. Daily, I’ve spent hours on the computer to come up with ideas the doctors didn’t. On top of all of these things my dog is dying of cancer. He is 12 ½ . He has been my constant companion. He probably has a week to live. So I am, understandably, overwhelmed. Then throw in some fleeting thoughts of abandonment and betrayal…it has just been one of those days.
My day of feeling overwhelmed is like the days of so many others. But we don’t wake up and only label ourselves as “victim’s” of sexual abuse or only categorize ourselves as “survivors” of sexual abuse.
We are not just sexual abuse survivors. That is just one part of us.
We are mothers. We are wives. We are daughters. We are fighters. We are dreamers.
These are the other parts of us.
These are the most important parts of who we are.