1 Year Anniversary

A year ago today, I got brave, took a deep breath and told the story of my rape to Jenn at InterAct. It’s been a year of ups and downs, tears, tears and more tears and letting go of lots of gunk I had no idea was there. Don’t get me wrong. I knew something was askew, hence part of the reason I was there and part of the reason for my self-imposed dating sabbatical 2 years prior. I needed to heal. I just had no idea how much pain and emotion 5’5″ of human could hold!

I filled out the paperwork, burst into tears on telling Jenn my story over about a 2 hour conversation, and cried so many tears I lost track. I was absolutely sure the world would stop turning or I’d get struck by lightening though it was a clear, sunny day, or that I’d get busted for speeding even though I was going the speed limit for once.

I was sure he could hear me or that God would be mad at me or something! Your brain will tell you some crazy stuff to keep you from changing your mind, body and spirit! You’ll die if you tell or something bad will befall you or no one will like you or believe you or, or, or…or what?

Truthfully, I couldn’t hold onto it anymore. I needed to let go. I needed to stop hurting already!

I held onto it for 11 years. 11 years of hell and dysfunction and well maybe you wanted it and don’t– No, I remember it, the details, frame by frame like I was watching a really bad porn movie.

I’ve spent the last year peeling off layers, letting go of pain, anger, shame, guilt and everything else you can imagine. Healing my rape, discovering new things about myself and my rape. Sharing it selectively with trusted friends.

It’s like a clog in a pipe. You pull out the clog and the original event is buried underneath grease, hair, and whatever else has gone down that pipe and gotten stuck to the clog until one day, it stops up. Or you get fed up. I got fed up!

Truthfully, I was in shock when it happened and the sense of shame, guilt and dread kept me from speaking at all. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that my boyfriend, someone I trusted and chose to share myself with, would do something so horrible to me. Especially when he had 2 small children at home at the time.

It shattered my life, my sense of trust in everybody and everything, especially myself and, of course, men. I’ve learned to make decisions and have confidence in those decisions again. I’ve had to re-teach myself things I didn’t even realize I’d stopped doing.

I know now that I am not my rape. It happened to me. I didn’t relinquish control and it’s not my fault. I have given myself permission to heal and to heal my rape. I know I am worthy of a beautiful, happy, joyous, abundant life and I am working on building it, day by day.

I am using my voice to speak up and speak out, both in writing and in public. I told my dad and step-mom and told my mom and step-dad again. In April, I spoke publicly for the first time, in front of an audience of roughly 40 strangers and  2 friends of mine, telling my story because it needs to be told. Because I deserve to heal. Every victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence deserves to heal into a survivor!

So, today I start year 2. I’m ready to start dating again, to find a man worthy of my time, love and attention. Someone who will be by my side as I continue on my journey to healing. I AM READY!

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Letting Go…Again

Letting go is not a one off thing, just FYI. I’ve recently realized that there are indeed some things you can ‘just’ let go of but the things that define you, or the things you think define you, you have to work harder at, often having to let go of them repeatedly.

Repeatedly. To the point of annoyance sometimes.

I’ve written letters to people, ideas and things I want, need, deserve or desire to let go of “letting them go”. I’ve also shredded and burned the letters. The problem isn’t me. Or you, if you’re doing this and thinking, “Wait, I’m not the only one?” The problem is your sub-conscious, or Inner Mean Girl(s)/Guy(s) in my world, or ego. It holds on tightly to what it knows, with a death grip when you start trying to let go.

The good news is, it can be done for real. It just takes persistence. I’m a “How” girl myself. I like processes and step-by-step instructions. How exactly do I let go? Sadly, I can’t give you instructions because it’s different for everyone.

Looking back over the last year and even the last 3-6 months, a lot of letting go happened, some of it I didn’t even realize but as I have struggled recently with letting go, it’s been a great reminder that I know I can let go because I have let go before. It’s a good feeling.

This version of letting go has been lots of tears, lots of emotion, lots of me getting angry with and frustrated at myself, wondering how much more I don’t know about is lurking, how much I need to let go of, how much more needs to be excavated and oh what a process!

I will tell you that I know it can be done, I know there’s more to do and I know it’s worth it. I see the changes in myself and I am proud of me for being brave and letting go, trusting God, His plan for me and tomorrow!

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A New Challenge – Writing Every Day for 30 Days

So, it’s June 6th. I’ve gone a month and a half with no posts. Good job, self! OK, that’s all the beating up there will be. I forgive me as there’s been a lot going on! For June, I have taken on 3 fitness challenges and the writing challenge. Creating a habit of writing a page a day, minimum, for 30 days.

30 Days of Writing

Most days I’m writing at least 2 pages, and it’s all over the place. And that’s OK. Writing isn’t linear. It’s creative and it’s emotional. And every emotion is O.K.

What am I writing about?

Change, lessons from my past, facing fear, learning from mistakes, forgiving myself (“I did the best I could with the information I had available to me at the time.”), learning what works for me, what speaks to me and what has me in the land of ‘what on earth?’

I’m writing as randomly as I’m doing. I have no idea where it’s going, where I’m going or where I’m going to end up but I do know everything’s going to be OK.

The tongue in my mouth and the tongue in my shoe are almost in the same line. Finally.

So I keep going, keep writing and keep learning!

Would you like to join  me in this challenge?

https://www.facebook.com/events/665212973527517/

We all have a story. What’s yours?

 

 

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How I Spent My Saturday Night

It wasn’t fun but it was necessary. It wasn’t glam and it had nothing to do with baseball, one of my most beloved loves in the world. There are some things baseball can’t fix.

So, what how did I spend part of my  Saturday evening?

I let myself out of jail. I shared my secret publicly for the first time in a room of 40 some people, including 2 friends of mine and today I’m sharing it with even more people.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The event Saturday  night was meant to raise awareness.

My counselor emailed me about a month ago and asked if I wanted to share my story. She said I could write it out and read it if I wanted to or I could have someone else read it at the event. I said, “It’s my story, I’ll read it.”

Saturday Evening

The lights were turned down with only a row of spots in the back on for some dim lighting.

9 people, myself included, sat in the audience and one by one, our stories were announced. I was the 5th of nine to speak. I left my seat, walked up and sat down in my chair in the row at the front of the room. I turned on my flashlight, read a statistic “42% of rape survivors told no one about the rape”, and then paused.

Then, I read my story.

My mom introduced us in the fall of 2001. He was a “good Catholic man”, widowed, with 2 cute little kids. He was my type, according to my mother. Tall, dark and handsome. Fine, introduce us. So she did. We dated, went out to dinner, I got to know his children and ours was a happy relationship. For a variety of reasons, Friday night was our date/stay over night. We’d talk and go to lunch during the week. Fast forward to October of 2002.

I don’t remember which Friday it was, just that it changed my life forever. We made dinner, ate with his kids, put them to bed, did chores, watched TV and went to bed about 10:30.

I woke up around 2AM on my knees, Mark attempting to have sex with me doggy style. I was groggy, still in pain from consensual sex earlier in the evening. I said, “no”, and tried to pull away. He grabbed my hips, pulled me to him and proceeded to tell me I’d wake up and get into it. After I tried to crawl away, I closed my eyes and prayed to get out of it alive. Along with wondering why this was happening to me. He proceeded to rape me, even as I was saying “no”, asking him to stop and telling him he was hurting me. To no avail. I remember everything starting to hurt and feeling completely alien in my own body.

Then he asked me if I’d ever had anal sex. “No, I haven’t. It’s of no interest to me,” I responded. He then said, “I’ll just put the tip [of his penis] in and see what you think.” In that moment, I wanted to die. I wanted to be absolutely anywhere but there. I said, no. He said he’d wear a condom. I remember saying no, I just wanted to go to sleep.

But no, he wouldn’t listen and before I even got the word “no” out, again, he was sodomizing me. I remember being curled up in a ball on my knees. There was no place to go. He was angry with me. I was vacillating between just wanted to get out of this alive and wanting to crawl under a rock and die. Crushed. Shattered.

My body began spasming, amidst waves of pain. He finished and let me go.

At one point I remember feeling like I was on the ceiling looking down at the entire scene. Filled with shame and guilt. I felt like I was living in an alternate universe.

I remember getting up and hobbling into the bathroom. My entire body ached. It hurt to walk, it hurt to sit, it hurt to pee. How did I let this happen? I trusted him. He’s my boyfriend. I thought I was going to be sick.

I got into the shower. It was filthy. Just like Mark. I scrubbed for I don’t know how long. There is no scrubbing rape, sodomy, shame, anger and the rest of it away. My skin was red. I dried off as best I could, hair still damp, got dressed and drove home. It was probably 3AM. I have no real idea what time it was. I also have no idea how I got home. I remember showering again and crawling into bed.

2 weeks later Mark broke up with me. I was in denial. I was devastated. For his kids. They thought they made their mom go away and now, I was gone, too.

In case you were wondering why I never reported it, there are a couple of reasons. First, I was in denial. Even after I admitted it to my best friend/roommate and to my mom and step-dad after that, and found out that Mark admitted to cheating on me, it took me a long time to wrap my head around the idea that I had actually been raped. I mean, how could my own boyfriend rape and sodomize me? I even tried to convince that I was OK with it. It turned my world upside down. Any sense of trust I had in myself was shattered. My trust and faith in men was shattered. The idea that a man would want me for anything other than sex? Yeah, no. I had no self-worth or self-esteem.

I saw him at church once after it happened and hid behind my mother, admonishing her not to move.

I’ve just recently regained faith and trust in myself and others, men in particular. It’s taken almost 12 years. Someone did ask me, sometime after the fact, if I wanted to press charges. I declined. First, Tallahassee is a really big small southern town. Had I reported it, it wouldn’t have been quiet for very long and I was ashamed that I ‘let’ it happen. After all, he was my boyfriend. Should I not have seen it coming before hand? More importantly, however, I didn’t want his kids to lose their dad. They’d lost mom, I didn’t want to be responsible for their losing him too, even if he was a rapist.

Fast-forward to this past summer. I found this place and shared my secret with Jen. I was assigned to Marlo and have been working with her ever since. I recently healed my rape enough to give up my space to someone else whose journey has just begun. In writing this out again, I’ve discovered more layers of pain and anguish. I’m working to heal those as well. It’s a process that’s starts with being able to say, “I was raped” aloud. I’ve rung most of the emotion from it, done my best to forgive him, for me, not him, so I can move on. I realize that I deserve love, joy, an amazing man who adores me and that I am not at fault. Letting go of the shame is still tough at times, especially when you think it’s healed…and then something triggers you and you realize it’s not. I’m committed to my happiness, though, so whatever it takes, I do.

As a final note, I saw a meme on Facebook the point of which was to advocate for gun control, with a photo of a woman, head in her hands, with the caption “A rape can last 30 seconds, but a murder lasts forever. Guns Are Not The Answer”. When I saw it for the first time, I burst into tears and shook violently for a good 20 minutes. My rape itself lasted roughly 30 minutes. The after affects have affected my life for almost 12 years. My rapist effectively stole 12 years from me. Rape and sexual assault, left untreated, do more damage than even I could ever have imagined.

I owe a very big thank you to a dear friend for putting out the brochure at her function which led me here, to Jenn for listening the first time and to Marlo for helping me heal.

After the event was over, someone whose name I don’t know came up to me  gave me a big hug and thanked me for sharing my story.

Prologue
I waited about 3 weeks to tell my best friend/roommate and then my mom and step-dad. It took me over 11 years to tell my dad, which is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. But that’s another post.

Needless to say, it’s been a rough road. Some people reading this have been with me every step of the way and if you’re one of those people, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am lucky to have an incredible support system.

If you’re reading this and you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped and you’ve never told anyone, please, please, PLEASE tell someone! Reach out to me if need be. Or reach out to RAINN.org.

Know that you have a right to heal, you have a right to a beautiful life and so much happiness that you need a group of friends to share it with but first you have to be brave for 5 seconds. It takes less than 5 seconds to say, “I was raped” aloud, to someone who can help you or get you help.

I can’t change what happened to me but I can raise awareness and be an advocate. I’m sharing because this ISN’T about me. It’s about reaching out and being brave, lighting the way for someone whose journey is just beginning.

 

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I Have a Confession

I failed. I blogged daily for 31 days straight. I knew I would probably not be able to maintain that pace once the challenge period was over but things have gotten challenging. And I’ve failed. I haven’t kept up with my blog as I intended to and I have SO MUCH to share!

I commit to myself and to you, if you’re reading this, to do better. I’ll be posting at least 3 days per week. I’m working on a schedule. Brain dumping if you will.

That’s failure number 1.

I also failed at part of my trip. Or the intention of the trip. I wanted to bring dear friend with me when I head to Boston this weekend. I failed to raise the money to cover the expenses to do so. I’m bummed but last week I realized that while I’m staying with a very dear friend of mine, the trip is about me. Me surrendering a lot. Me letting go of a lot. Me facing some things I didn’t even realize were issues. So, I didn’t really fail, I just had to fail to meet my goal to see that I was misaligned. I’m still nervous about this trip for a number of reasons. But more on that later.

That’s failure number 2.

I’ll have more Lisa Nichols, more revelations and I’ll be blogging while I’m on my trip so stay tuned…and please forgive my brief failure/absence.

 

 

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Day 2 – Clear It!

I’m going to be posting these a day behind.

Yesterday’s call with Lisa was as awesome as Day 1′s! I love her energy.

Yesterday, she asked, “Are you late to your dream?”

As much as I’d like to think I’m right on time, and that everything happens in Divine Right Timing, part of me thinks I’m late.

So, then she said, “Have a clear space, a clear mind for clear movement.” OK, then!

The challenge. “Clear it!”

My statement: “Clear it! I commit to clear movement in my life by cleaning out my car trunk AND cleaning out my mind and my heart in the next 36 hours.”

WOW! That feels monumental and it feels like EPIC transformation!

I’ll let you know how it goes! DAY 1 I said, “I am READY for my breakthrough!” We shall see.

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Day 1 – Doing Differently To BE Different

I’m taking a 7 day mini-course with Lisa Nichols.

Today was Day 1. Which I missed because I woke up late. Luckily for me, she decided to break a rule because there were so many people who couldn’t get on the call…and do a replay link. Alas, I got to listen. :)

So, with every day, every piece of power wisdom, she includes a power step. More on othat in a minute. But she had us all say something I’ve been saying in my own world for a few weeks now:

I AM READY FOR MY BREAKTHROUGH!

So, today we’re declaring three things we desire (not want, as if you want you’re always going to want…)

Starting with the statement: “Power me!” Then writing out 3 things we expect from ourselves. And she wanted us to share so I shared with her via email and Twitter and withe anyone reading her Facebook page.

My three expectations:

1- Expect me to transform my life and my mind, letting go of everything, everyone and every belief and practice that no longer serves me.

2- Expect me to launch my coaching business, using my story to help others transform their lives.

3 – Expect me to transform my body, growing stronger daily!

And we were to end it with the statement: I’m not asking permission, I’m giving notice!

Power stuff! I’m ready for Day 2! Let’s GO!

What are you ready to change? I’d love to hear about it!

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