I’ve been asking this question of myself for years. Why did it have to be me that got raped and tortured and branded? Why did it have to be me that got abused and kidnapped, neglected and scarred?
Because if not me, who else?
I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, not the why me question, but the “if I could pick someone else to take my place, who would it be?” I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy, and I imagine that there are a great many of you who feel the same way about your own experience.
The sad truth is that you were put here on this planet for a reason. You don’t have to like the reason, but you absolutely do have to acknowledge that there is a reason. Even, and especially if you don’t know what that reason is.
My reason is Loud Mouth Brown Girl. In every meditation I have I hear myself saying “I want to be the Loud Mouth Brown Girl,” I have many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that it is what is keeping me alive. It’s my anchor to this world.
As I write this, I want to curl up and cry, I want to be sick, because at the end of the day, acknowledging that the only reason I am alive right now is so that I can do this, so that I can document my recovery process to help others, also means admitting that I wouldn’t change my past.
I wouldn’t take back what happened to me no matter what, because if I took back even one part of what happened, I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am today, and I quite like where I am right now, even if it hurts.
I want to make this perfectly clear, accepting your current reality does not erase your abusers from the harm that they caused. It doesn’t change the fact that they are horribly damaged and broken people, who hurt you, caused you pain, and changed your life. And it for damned sure does not alleviate them from the guilt they should absolutely carry.
It’s hard to sit there and say “yes I am glad I am here,” without it sounding like you’re really saying you’re glad you were raped, which is what probably led you to being where you are at this moment, but the two statements are not the same, and I am working really hard to remember that.
It’s difficult to acknowledge how difficult your past was, because people honestly do expect us to get over it, but they don’t understand that when we say things like “I can’t,” what we really mean is “I am physically, emotionally, spiritually, incapable of just getting over it.”
It takes time, and a lot of work. Mental health work is very much like putting together a puzzle, and as human beings are so completely individual each puzzle has to be put back together in a completely different way than the one before it.
There is no one way fits all for mental health work, there are a million different ways to help someone who has mental health issues, but none of it will mean a damn if you aren’t willing to do the work to help yourself.
For me a big part of my mental health salvation was starting this website, and every time I add something to it, or create another space for people to connect with each other, I am creating a space in which others can find ways to help themselves or others.
For you it may be starting a clothing company, or a painting one, for you it might be taking a bath, or healing by meditation, but whatever it is, it is all part of the work.
Not every single day is going to be a huge success, some days are going to feel like complete failures, but you get up every single day after that and you keep going, you keep pushing forward, because your goal is to survive.
I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to survive everything that the universe could possibly throw at me. Now, if it could just throw untold amounts of success, wealth, and beautiful shoes, boots, and clothes, I am sure that I could do a GREAT job surviving that. (Let’s find out shall we Universe?)
The more that I realize that I can do something with LMBG, the more empowered I feel to do the things that matter to me.
When I think about how this site started I remember writing hundreds of love letters, because I couldn’t afford to mail out invitations to people to come check out the website, but writing all those letters and handing them out by hand allowed me to meet hundreds of amazing people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
The love letters were another anchor to my life, they gave me something to hold onto, so that I had a reason to keep living. Ten years prior to that I didn’t know what I was looking for, I just need that the “search” was my anchor.
Having something tangible is so much more important now than it was when I was in my twenties.
In my twenties I was just doing whatever it was that I thought I should be doing, to get from one day to the next. The difference now is that every day is a concentrated effort to prove to myself and to the world that I can create something that helps others, while simultaneously helping myself.
There are a lot of people who will write posts like “ten ways to long term healing,” and some of those things on that list might help you, but the most helpful thing to me was deciding what I wanted to do, and creating a way to make it happen.
Are you going to continue to stumble in the dark? Or are you going to take stock of your capabilities, and use them to do something great? Because you absolutely can…I am.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall