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Are you a Victim, or are you a Survivor? You cannot be both.

I have a hard time lately calling myself a survivor, I’ve been using the word without really thinking about it means.

Does it mean sitting on my ass blogging every day, or does it mean working toward something? I was victimized by men who abused their friendship with me to cause pain and sorrow. With the expectation that I would keep my mouth shut and protect them, even after they broke their promise to keep me safe.

I was a victim, but now I am a survivor, what does that even mean exactly? I am working on figuring it out but I am not entirely sure what the word means, so I thought I would put it out to the universe and see what y’all have to say about it.

I think, in all honesty, it means accepting that bad terrible things happened to me and I think it means learning to accept that those things are not going to happen to me anymore.

I have a really great support group made up of men and women who love me, who know the secrets of who and when, enough people that I am protected when I share my story, and yet I still don’t feel entirely safe.

I think it means dealing with the PSTD that comes from understanding where my memories are coming from, and learning to deal with the manifestations of those memories through my behavior.

I am learning, or trying to learn, that it’s not always about me, that sometimes I have to make space for other people to share their stories and help them heal but it’s not easy.

I want it to be all about me, because for so many years all I did was focus on other people, but it can’t be about me a hundred percent of the time. I have to make space for others, because others have made space for me.

The definition of a survivor is a person who copes with a bad situation or affliction and who gets through, or a person who manages to live through a situation that often causes death. ~ Dictionary.Com

Is that all? A person who copes with a bad situation or affliction that often causes death? Well in that case I am most definitely a survivor, but that still doesn’t explain the work it takes to get from one day to the next.

Being a survivor means dealing with mental health issues you shouldn’t have to deal with. It means learning to live life all over again, after a traumatic event that could have very seriously caused my death.

It means questioning everything I thought I knew about the world and seeing the world in a newer harsher way that I didn’t know existed when I was being abused.

It means not lashing out when I have flashes of anger and rage that come with the fact that my life was destroyed by the very people I loved and trusted to protect me. It means understanding that my brain works in a very different way now than it did before I was abused.

It means recognizing the signs of abuse, so that I can do my best to prevent myself from ending up in another abusive relationship. It means doing the work so that I can heal from what I’ve been through in a positive way, so I don’t end up becoming an abuser myself. Which is these days, one of my worst fears.

It means dealing with a Psychiatrist who refuses to believe that I was a part of a sex cult, which means the RCMP doesn’t believe me either. Of course no one believed Keith Rainier’s victims until they were proven to be true, and even still, people don’t believe me.

It means accepting that people will always call me a liar or tell me that I am crazy even though I distinctly remember the men who came through the balcony door to my bedroom when I was fifteen years old in North Delta British Columbia. Even though I distinctly remember Keith Rainier coming through that door.

Being a survivor means knowing that no matter what anyone says about me, I can keep going, keep fighting and keep living my life to the best of my abilities, because I’ve already survived the worst the universe has to throw at me.

Being a survivor means refusing to give up.

So here’s to the survivors today, we’re still here, despite what the universe and our abusers want, so fuck em. They can’t take us down.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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