This month has been full of ups and downs. My sister and my niece came to visit, my husband has started sailing again, now my uncle and cousin are here for a few weeks. I haven’t been compelled to write much as of late, but a recent experience has reminded me of the healing that can come from expression, and the cathartic relief it provides.
A few days ago I ran into the one person I was not ever prepared to face – the person who over the course of several years abused me financially, emotionally, and sexually. The encounter was brief, but the effects were immediate. I was terrified, horrified, and completely taken off-guard. Of all the gin joints in all the world, how did he end up in mine?
My fear turned to shame, anger, and guilt. Am I being punished? Tested by some divine power, perhaps? I went home shaking, wondering ” why me?”. I told my husband immediately, and he reminded me that I’m safe, and will remain safe with my family.
After a restless sleep full of nightmares of horrors from my past, my husband and I talked again. I learned a lot from that short talk, and I’d like to share that with you now. First, and I think most importantly, we talked about forgiveness. I am not required to forgive the wrong that was done to me at the hands of someone I trusted. He will never apologise, and I need never forgive him. I do however, need to forgive myself. It wasn’t my fault, and I need to stop punishing myself based on the actions of another. The emotional trauma that these events caused me have changed me forever, but they needn’t define me, and I can’t allow the bad memories to continue to creep into my new life. No forgetting, no forgiving, just acceptance. I can’t erase the past, and it’s time to stop living there.
The second, equally important point was strength and success. I have conquered many things in my life, why not this? Fear of the past has coloured the way I have lived, have seen myself, and controlled my emotional capabilities. But hell, if I can survive suicide, death from illness, bullying, homelessness, and hopelessness, who’s to say I can’t survive, and thrive, because of this?
It’s time to reclaim my life! My emotions, my mental health, my dreams at night. I own all of those things, and no one person can take anything away from me. Only I have the power to punish myself, and only I have the power to heal myself. I forgive the naive girl that I used to be, I forgive the bitter woman that I have allowed myself to become. The soul-sucking raven I used to be is gone, and a Phoenix has arisen from the ashes in its place. No more feeling sorry, no more excuses for my anger, no more burying the experiences that have helped to shape me. My shadow needn’t scare me, my nightmares aren’t real any longer, I owe myself some sanity.
I am growing, I am moving on, and I am looking forward to a newer version of myself who refuses to be defined by the bad, but instead by the good.
I am strong. I am worthy of real love. I am a better person for all of my experiences, both good and bad. Most importantly, I am good enough for myself. I am OK with who I am as a person, a mother, a wife, a sister, and a friend. From this moment on I pledge to give no one the power to hurt me, and I will cause no one any hurt in return. I can’t forgive the wrongs, but I can move past it all and know that acceptance, in my case, is a good replacement for forgiveness.