*******trigger warning *******
The book Loving Yourself – 4 Steps to a Happier You, breaks speaking out into three parts – telling, asking and expressing anger. All of these steps need to be taken in order to step forward on your path to learning to love yourself and show yourself self –compassion.
The step of telling is all about self-disclosure or talking about one’s self. I know from, experience that this step is sometimes hard. I was taught to be seen and not heard, that if you did not have something good to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all and that the world was only allowed to see my “happy public face” and that what I was feeling had to be shoved down inside and hidden.
To actually talk about who I am, to create pictures of myself with words is hard. I have to dig deep down to a spot that I have hidden for a very long time. I am letting myself be seen – my hopes, my dreams, my secrets and my imperfections – both small and large. I am letting out my secrets to the world – allowing them to see the real me. I hope for acceptance and understanding but I am prepared for the fact that what I have to say may be made fun of, rejected or criticized. Telling takes courage – so here goes.
I was born into a family that was led with an iron-fist by my maternal grandfather. His word was lay. He was a child rapist (I’ve changed this from molester after reading this link from Faith). He had no preference; he would and did sexual abuse both sexes – male and female. It wasn’t about the sex but about the power he wielded. I know that in my family alone, he abused my mom, my two uncles and me. I am sure there are more but they are afraid to come forward, even now after his death. I also know that he used his status in the church to get young people alone so that he could warp their minds into doing what he wanted. It was one of the reasons he had to leave Michigan.
Due to my mother’s abuse issues, I was beat, abandoned and emotionally abused. I was forced to grow up and be an adult before I was even a child. My father, who came from a family that was also abusive, emotionally and physically, was distance and mostly non-existent.
Although I was incredible gifted and wanted very much to be something great like a lawyer or a doctor, my family was against higher education, especially for a girl. Even when I said I wanted to be a writer, that dream was immediately frowned upon, women took low paying jobs until they married and became mothers/homemakers. I am finally reaching for my dreams that have been so long denied. I have enrolled in a few on-line courses in history and alternative medicine. I am writing for me now and not the approval of my family. Whether my writing goes somewhere or not, I am doing it.
Something that I haven’t said before, but I will say now is that I wonder about God. I know what my religion teaches but I also know what I have seen and had done to me. While I have been taught that God is merciful, loving and kind and that the problems we face do not originate with him but with the Devil, I question my faith.
I am an emotionally eater, food is my comfort. It fills a hole inside of me. I self-inflict pain – I guess you’d say I am low-grade, since I don’t leave scares, but it is the only way to feel anything, sometimes. While I crave a man to love me, I am scared to death to allow one to get close to me. I have always kept the male species at the friend level. Yet I have always had more male than female friends. It is just when they try to move past the friend stage that I freak out. I still can’t have a man hug or touch me in any way, even just my hand or arm, without wondering. I wonder if they want more from me, if they are going to stop or move into areas that are not just friendly forms of affection or if I am totally crazy and just imagining things.
Crowds scare me, even the store, church or the library is hard for me, and these are all what I use to consider safe places. I feel like the last uninfected human in a zombie movie and all the zombies know where I am and are coming to get me.
Sometimes I wonder if I am getting joy out of the fact that I have PTSD, depression and panic attacks. I wonder if they are a shield that I use to keep the world away. I wonder if I like having these issues. Other days I am the complete opposite and I wonder if I will ever reach the day were they no longer control my life.
That is all that I can think of for now. I am told that when we reveal these things, that they can no longer taint the way we look at ourselves. That by expressing these terrible, vulnerable or beautiful things that we have felt too shy or ashamed to reveal before, we can see that they will be accepted by others (and even if they are not, that it is ok), but more importantly I can finally accept them about myself. By giving voice to my pain, I am accepting the amazing fact that I am bigger than they are.