The one.

When I first started writing my blog I wanted to reach one person. Not any particular or specific one person. Just one person. Because at one point and time I was that one person that I wished someone had reached. Writing my blog, I wanted that one person to know that I knew what it felt like to be afraid too. I knew what it felt like to be overwhelmed too. I knew what it felt like to be at a bottomless pit of despair and feel like there was no way out. I wanted to share exactly what happened to me so that one person didn’t feel like it had just happened to them. I wanted to share the choices I made after the abuse so that one person didn’t feel they were the only one who made those choices. Throughout my blog you can read about the abuse I endured and the many abusive experiences that happened in my life after. 

I know what it feels like to be that one person. 

I started my blog as I was searching for answers, and sharing them as I have discovered them. I have been completely honest, raw, and transparent in everything I have written because it is in the secrets that I carried the shame. In revealing the secrets I have shed the shame. I have transferred the shame to where it belongs. I had guilt. I carried that guilt. I have learned to shed that guilt and place that guilt where it belongs. Not on me.  I carried the blame because the blame had been put on me. I shed the blame. The blame was not mine to carry. 

I did not choose to be abused. That abuse left me a huge train wreck with debris everywhere. Bits and pieces of myself were scattered in places I am just now finding and just now putting back together. I was torn apart. Every part of me was torn apart so much that I had no idea who I was or where I was going. From the age of 11 when the abuse started, until I married my husband when I was 25 years old, I was a only a fragment of what I am now. From 25 years old until 35 years old I found pieces of myself that I thought were lost forever. Then I was sexually assaulted again. I then saw the wounds that had only been bandaided. Only in the last few years have I truly faced my past. I have felt it. I have seen it for what it was. I have discovered the depths of the abuse and the permanent scars of PTSD. I share very private stories about my past and my life on my blog. I don’t need them to be private anymore. Private secrets all came from fear put on me and there is no freedom for me in a life of shame.

My brother condescendingly asked if I was going to talk about this”forever.” Since this IS mental health awareness month, it is a good time to bring up that PTSD IS FOREVER!  It would be like asking me if I was going to be talking about my osteoporosis forever…well, since currently there is no cure for it, and it keeps getting worse, and my bone health worries me, then YES,  I will be talking about it forever. It would be like saying am I going to be talking about my muscle disease forever. Well, it has symptoms, daily symptoms, and there is no cure, so, YES, I will be talking about my muscle disease forever. Mental health issues are there just like my bone disease and my muscle disease. It shouldn’t be censored or filtered because it is hard to hear about. I don’t talk about ANY of my disorders or diseases every day or all the time. But they are part of my life and there will be times that I will bring one or the other up. I bring them up to share what I have learned, what works for me, what coping skills have helped me, and also to reach out to that one person who needs to know they aren’t the only one.  If my brother doesn’t want to hear about it, I have no idea why he reads my blog. But I don’t write my blog for him nor will it be changed or censored for him. I write for that one person. That one person that is out there that I hope to reach. 

I was friends with and looked up to the man who molested me. I was conflicted because I cared about him as a father figure and he was doing these awful things, but I trusted him. He said what he was doing was right and good and I was supposed to enjoy it. But I wasn’t. I was scared. But I was confused about being scared with a man that I cared about and trusted. That right there in and of itself fucked me up for a very long time. He took away my sense of boundaries. I did not know what was the right way to feel,or the wrong way to feel. He confused my sense of self. He confused how I felt about my own body. He confused what my role in life was supposed to be. He confused me down to my very identity. He scattered parts of me all over the place and it has taken me until I am 45 years old to even begin understanding the ramifications of the crimes he committed against me. As I put one piece back I understand myself more. I regain my identity. The root of myself has been there all along. But the branches were broken, splintered, and chipped away. 

I felt like I was the only one. Some days I still feel like I am the only one. Some days it feels lonely being me, in this body, when the PTSD triggers hit me and I feel/remember the hands of a man I wish I could forget. I’ve always had triggers. I just know what they are now. I had them when I was 18 I just had never heard of PTSD or even the word “trigger” so I didn’t know that’s why I felt the way I did. 

If I had that one person sitting in front of me I would tell them that there will be bad days. There will be lonely days. There will be unbearable days. But I have found the days in between. The days in between matter the most. There are days when you won’t remember, you will just be. There are days when the past isn’t hitting you in the face and you don’t have triggers, you will just be. I would tell you that you aren’t the only one because I exist. I may not have experienced exactly what you experienced but I know the feeling of being dirty. I know the feeling of being used. I know the feeling of unworthiness. I know what it feels like to wish you didn’t have to live another day with the memory of these things weighing on you. I can’t tell you that you will always be ok but I can tell you there will be days in between when you are. If I had that one person in front of me I would wrap my arms around you and tell you, ” I believe in you. I believe you. I see you for who you really are and not what an abuser tried to make you believe. I see you as a whole complete resilient beautiful soul. I see the real you. I see the one. And you are not alone.”

Don’t let anyone silence you. Your voice matters. My voice matters. I will keep sharing my stories, my experiences, good and bad, defeated and victorious, because I matter too. I need you to know you are not the only one. So I will share my life so that you will know, even if it is just me, there is one person out there that understands what you’ve been through. All it takes is one. 

 

21 thoughts on “The one.

  1. Bethany I’ve been thinking about your previous post, where you published the conversation between you and your brother. He’s probably reading your posts so I’d like to address him directly: I’ve been through what Bethany has gone through. My abuse was by a family member, not an outsider. My family dismissed my complaint as well. Endlessly I’ve heard about being grateful for what I do have, get over it, get on with it, do you have to punish us? The answer is, yes, I am grateful for what I do have, no, I can’t get over it, no, I’m not punishing any of you. I’m raising awareness of the plight of millions other women and children who is going through this as we speak. One does not get over it. It’s always there. I addressed my abuser last night, having had to imagine the conversation I always wanted to have – of him acknowledging what he did, expressing true heartfelt remorse – only then can forgiveness happen. I imagined my family acknowledging my complaint, believing me and the child I was, acknowledge the damage and welcome me into the fold – you can’t imagine the pain of realising this isn’t going to happen! As long as we are silenced, as long as we are told we whinge, so long will we keep the conversation going. It is indeed, through having been silenced for so long, been made to feel guilty for feeling bad about ourselves, that we will keep on speaking up for ourselves and others who has gone through this, who is going through this. So help us God!

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    • I cannot tell you what this means to me. To know that I have a support system that believes in me and will fight for me and will stand beside me and take the time to address my brother and ….I’m moved to tears. Thank you.
      And I am truly sorry that you ever had to go through abuse. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for explaining it in a way that shows I am not the only one and a person doesn’t just get over it. I so appreciate you. And wOw you addressed your abuser last night. Oh wow!!! You are amazing.

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    • There is so much strength here. It’s a relief to know we’re not alone in our feelings. I especially appreciate what you say about living with our trauma while simultaneously being able to feel gratitude, joy, love. It’s hard for others to understand but you say it so well here. 🙏🏼

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  2. This is so beautiful. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this, but personally I feel like you wrote your blog for me. If you hadn’t shared your story I would have never came out and voiced about the verbal abuse that my mom hit me with. She also manipulated me. She knew my weakness. She knew how to play me. With your encouragement and your story that you shared I have finally come to terms with the verbal abuse. I am not going to be silent. No I haven’t told my family what she did, but I will when I’m ready. I have told my family that I have here in Winston. I have told the people who I think need to hear it and are ready to hear it. When my family is ready and need to hear it and when I’m ready I will tell them. It’s going to be a long time before my mother and I can make amends. So in reference to what your brother said yeah you and I and many others are going to talk about it forever because talking about it is what heals you. Since I’ve started talking about the verbal abuse I’ve experienced such healing. So to your brother I would say first of all fuck you because you have no idea what Bethany went through and you have no idea what I or anyone else has gone through. Second I would say to your brother that he’s brainwashed and I hope that one day you will see the light. But if he doesn’t I wish him well. I will not go down to his level just to prove my point. If I do that then I am demeaning myself and my worth as a human being because that’s what he’s doing to you Bethany. He’s demeaning and saying you aren’t human. He’s saying you aren’t worthy anything and that’s sure as hell not true. You are worth something. Just because you talk about what happened doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It did happen and I believe you. Even if your brother, your father, and your whole fucking family doesn’t want to admit what happened it did happen. You are not alone. I’m right here with you. I believe and have faith in you. So I want to say Thank you! Thank you for sharing your story because it has helped me. It has inspired me to be a better me. It has helped me to be the real me. You are a true gem. I love you and I’m so fucking proud of you! Bravo Bethany! Bravo to you baby girl!!! Hugs!!

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  3. Even though you are 20 years younger than me you are so wise. I too am am the one out here you are reaching out a lifeline to. Your sharing what happened to you and how it affected who you are has shown me how much it can destroy who we were meant to be. Your story could be my story and so I finally don’t feel so alone. I have stifled my feelings all my life with no understanding until you sweet one. Your brother is losing out on a wonderful sister and someday may try understanding you instead of judging you. If they only could understand how much that re-victimizes us all the more.

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  4. This was really sensational and literally brought me to tears. I know people who have gone through this personally and I know for a fact that it’s not easy, but being able to move past something terrible and to be able to become a better person is a quality that I really admire. You’re beautiful and you should know that you have a whole community of people for support! Hope you feel better ❤ Regards, Mvadi.

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  5. Thank you for this post Bethany. I’ve been writing and reading blogs just over a year now and it’s voices like yours which have helped me find mine and continue to heal. I appreciate your honesty, the safe ways you share your experiences, your poetry, your cleaning videos 🙂 and how you gently get from one day to the next. 🌱

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  6. Thank you for your openness. I am not a victim of abuse but do suffer from PTSD. I wish you great joy in life. My the right pieces fall back in place.

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