Survivor Stories – Michele

When I was ten years old I was molested by a boy who was almost fifteen. I spent the next eight years closed off from the world until I had enough.  I went to a school counselor that was very supportive and a survivor herself.  I think the saddest moment was I had hid the secret so well she even admitted she was shocked that was why I wanted to talk to her.   The moment of truth did set a little bit of me free.  I was still naïve in so many ways; I figured that it would all magically fix itself once I spoke up.  I was a little wrong, maybe a lot wrong.

I spent a few years reburying it after another counselor told me “Get over it.” That was a blow to my system. I was hit with a situation when I was almost 30 when I  saw on the news the guy had died.  I went back into the hole I had dug and started to pile the dirt on me.  Right after I turned 40 I realized enough is enough.  Every time I don’t speak up, he wins. Every time I let things slide by, he wins.  I found a counselor who helped me work through a lot of issues.  I, for once, saw how I can control my story now. I was always in control; I just let the fear be the driver.  I am now putting fear in the passenger seat so I can drive.

Every time I speak or write about the fact I was molested, I am in control, liberated, and free.  Part of me gets excited because I am doing it for me. I am doing it because it feels great to let go of the fear. It feels wonderful to know I am sharing something that at one point in my life controlled me. Most importantly the guy is losing. He is losing control over what he did to me.  It was hard at first, but once I started to reach out and say “I’m interested,” people responded with care and support. That’s what everyone needs and hopes for.  For years one of the hardest things to come to terms with was the fact it only happened once. I had formed the idea in my mind that since it was once, no one would care. I struggled to connect with people who were molested repeatedly, not because of them, but because of my thought process. It had added to the feeling of worthlessness. I wasn’t important enough to be called a survivor, just a victim.  With the counselor, I realized once is still bad, once is still unacceptable, no matter what.

I did survive therefore I am a survivor. I did make it through, I am doing great, sometimes just okay yet I survived. My journey isn’t over yet, it’s just finally beginning.  I’m finally speaking of what needs to be told. I am not afraid of the past any more.  One part of my journey that I have been stead fast in is, I don’t feel comfortable forgiving.  I realized a while ago, that not forgiving is part of my path, part of the road I’m on and that’s okay.  For some forgiving is important part of their healing, for others like myself, it’s just as important to feel comfortable not forgiving. Our journey is unique to us as we’re living it.  Others may try to say otherwise, yet doing what is safe and comfortable to us is what is important.  Remember it is your journey and you are in control. You lived through something that was awful, you are a survivor. It’s a path that you are living, one you can change when needed.

This is a place in Eastern Oregon where I grew up.  It’s a family friend’s ranch and view of some wonderful mountains.  It’s a place that I know I am loved, cared for, and will always call home.

landscape

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