I always wanted to be the Mayor. Or a county commissioner. I really wanted to be a judge. I wanted to be somebody that could make changes, fight for justice, help those who were lost in the system or caught in the system. I wanted to be somebody that could have a voice that changed things. I wanted to be that change! But I couldn’t. I was afraid that my past would come out, I would be slandered, misjudged, and my daughter and husband would suffer because of it. I had big dreams. I also had a big past.
The first man that abused me had a daughter who was a professional waterskier and also a model. I looked up to her. I wanted to be her. She gave me lessons on walking in heels and how to walk and turn on a runway. Her father knew I wanted to be like her. That’s why he gave me gifts that were hers. He’d give me her bathing suits and ask me to model them for him. I wanted to be beautiful like she was. In her bathing suits I had the illusion that I was. He was a very twisted man. I got older and became a professional water skier. I got older and I tried to be a model. The child molester had convinced me that I could be one (although he preferred porn star). When I was 8 years old I was in a McDonald’s commercial. My parents set the money aside that I made on that commercial. My mom helped me to get a photographer and we put together a modeling portfolio. I still have the pictures. The look like pornogaphic pictures, most of them. There was nothing in that portfolio that was tasteful or useful. I continued on this path where my body was connected to my dream. Model, professional water skier. The modeling world tore me apart. My nose was too big. I wasn’t tall enough. My this wasn’t right and my that wasn’t right. I was not model material. They told me repeatedly I was not pretty enough and did not have what it took to be a model. But if I could be a model and a professional waterskier I would be like the child molester’s daughter. And she was perfect.
The child molester’s daughter was perfect because she took interest in me but didn’t molest me. I made her dreams my dreams. I was all twisted up with body image and how I could make my family proud. My mom sent me to this modeling school with the Daniel twins. The Daniel twins ended up being famous. I remember the modeling show we did after the class we took. There were scouts there. They bombarded the Daniel twins. I just stood there alone on the sidelines and realized that I truly was not pretty enough and did not have what ever that look was they were looking for. I was following someone else’s dream though anyway. One that pushed me to crash diets, starvation, and anorexia. I was following the dreams of a childmolester. The ones he put into my head. At that time I had no idea what I really wanted, I didn’t even know who I was. I had lost myself.
Through those years I was molested by many other men.
One: particular man I chose to date. He tricked me as narcissistic manipulative abusive man can do. He was a sociopath. I was too young to know the difference. I was so young. He has pictures and video tapes of me. Being raped. Submitting to his will and whatever he wanted. I didn’t know back then that that is what it all was. I thought I was supposed to submit. I couldn’t say no. I didn’t say no. But he knew he was hurting me. He knew what he was doing was criminal and wrong. He has the tapes to prove it.
I’ve told the story before of having sex with a man for money. He was my friend, thought I was a virgin. Offered to pay me for sex so that I could pay my bills that I could not afford. I agreed because I thought I was finally making a decision about my body on my terms under my control. It was a very bad choice. He was a very bad man. And I was not a virgin. That was taken from me long before. This was only two example of too many to count that I have spoken about on my blog in the past.
I made some choices after I was abused as a child. I made some choices that were not really my own. They were choices of a victimized, traumatized, girl who knew no better. She didn’t know the warning signs. She didn’t know the consequences.
I had no guidance. I had no idea what was right from wrong. I went from one abusive situation to the next. They plucked me up and I didn’t know how to say no until more damage after more damage was piled on top of me. I had no instinct.
I met a man, he asked me to go back to his place, I did, I was raped. I never told anyone. I never said a word. I just numbly moved about my life.
When I was 16 years old I went to the gynecologist. She said I was obviously “sexually permiscuous” and lectured me and insulted me and demeaned me for the current state of my vagina. Never did she even think to ask if what was done to my vagina was consentual. Never. She could have saved me. She had proof. She could have, with her proof, convicted many. But she made an assumption and I was too afraid to challenge that. I only interject her here because she was part of a problem that could have been solved had someone cared to really notice.
After I got married I was haunted by my past. I was haunted by the secrets. I was haunted by the pictures I knew that were out there of me, by sadists. I knew I could never run for any office. I could never be a judge or a Mayor or anyone that had the power to change anything. My past was tainted. Still, it feels dirty just writing it. I know humanity though. When it is at its worst. My aunt once threatened to tell my daughter I attempted suicide and was put in a mental hospital just because I pissed her off. So I know what people are capable of. I didn’t want the evils of people to come out and embarrass my family.
I had big dreams. But they did not come to fruition because of abusive men. Evil men. And fear of those secrets.
It is one of the reasons I have written about these secrets here. On my own terms without the threats of others or the fears of others. I don’t want to be haunted by something I could never have changed. I didn’t have the tools to change the past. I didn’t have the support, guidance, or ability, at that time, to make any different choices than I did. I don’t want anyone to have that power over me ever again. To know some secret they can hurt me with. That is why there are no more secrets. I have purged them to save myself, to release them, to unchain myself from the past.
My body has been through torment. At the hands of many. And I feel no shame for what was done to me. I feel no shame in talking about it now. I feel like I need to go take a shower to wash off the thoughts of them but that is PTSD and that is not part of shame.
I have written all of this for a reason. I am not my past. Those things happened. There were reasons why they happened beyond my control. I cannot be ashamed of my past, or hide from it, or act like it didn’t happen. It all happened. But here I am now. I changed my dreams along the way. Fear may have kept me from my original dream but I was led a different direction.
I was led to become a chaplain. And I became one. I went into nursing homes for 8 years and prayed for some individuals who had been through the same things I had. My new dreams have come true. I just had to make them and pursue them without fear.
Don’t let the past stop you from having a dream or creating a new one. I never, in a million years, would have thought, that a “damaged and tainted” me, could be a chaplain. I was though. And I am. I still am a chaplain. I may not be working actively but in my heart I am still trying to help other souls that have been wounded like mine. And on paper I still have my certificate.
I also became a mother. That was one dream that I had had since I was 8 years old. That dream never changed or was altered.
Right here, right now, today, I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a chaplain. I am a friend. I am also a survivor of terrible abuse that still affects each facet of my life. But I have not let that stop me from continuing to dream. Just new dreams.
My current bucket list: Pet an elephant, swim with the manatee, swim with the dolphins, stand on a beach one more time with the water running over my feet. I have no idea if any of the dreams will happen. But they are my dreams. PTSD does leave a person always slightly a little bit haunted by the past. It just does. But that does not mean we cannot dream. That does not mean we cannot believe. That does not mean we cannot overcome the fear that held us back before.
Don’t be afraid of them. They don’t have power over you anymore. So what, I don’t get to be Mayor or a Judge and bring justice. But I can use my voice to spread awareness. I can use my voice to teach others the value in releasing the shame. I can use my voice to stop the stigmas. I have a voice, a dream I forgot to acknowledge. A dream worth having and sharing. You don’t have to BE a Mayor or a Judge or have your pHD to BE somebody. You can just be you, and that is enough. Just don’t forget to keep dreaming.