I am a survivor of long-term, multiple perpatrator childhood sexual abuse. Although I have always known I was abused, I haven’t always dealt with that knowledge. For many years I was a ‘victim’ and didn’t really understand what that meant. I simply was trying to survive, but struggled with many ‘unhealthy’ coping mechanisms like self-defeat, emotional eating and avoidance to name a few.
It wasn’t until my early thirties that I discovered that my abuse trauma had more of a grip on my life than I thought. I was going along like that was just the way it was; what I was feeling and experiencing was normal. After graduating from college in my mid-thirties, I hit a major emotional wall when I tried to teach elementary school. The environment of the public school was so triggering that I was forced to see just how much I was truly impacted by my childhood abuse. Unfortunately, I was forced to step away from that career.
During that time I sought my first therapist. One of the ways I discovered I could help myself heal was to express my pain through writing. I think it is one of the best tools I have discovered. Growing up with a ‘secret’ that you are taught you can not talk about, takes away one’s voice. At least that was the lasting result for me. I never felt I could speak out against an injustice, speak up for what I believed in, tell anyone how I truly felt. Writing at first gave me a voice that was stolen from me long ago. After I tried out my voice on paper, I began learning how to vocalize myself. I began to heal and become a ‘survivor’.
This piece of writing expresses part of the struggle to ‘speak’ words so other can hear me with their ears rather that their eyes.
When I sit down with keyboard at hand,
the words flow as a medley from my mind.
But, when I speak from the depths;
when I open my mouth to utter my thoughts,
they come stumbling out as verbal chaos.
Why does my soul stutter
when I render sound to the pain,
but my fingers sing like harmonious nightingales?
I think it may be because
I am accustomed to living within my mind,
where no one can sensor my thoughts.
They simply cascade in graceful rhythm.
My musings float along
uninterrupted by boulders in the stream.
In my mind, there is no outside judge
to tell me I am wrong;
to hinder my progression.
But, when I speak;
when I utter my reflections
I am my own judge
before the words have a chance
to come out.
I stumble over each articulation
like a pot hole in the road.
I worry I won’t be heard;
the listener will not gather my true self
of which I give voice. Then, I will be lost
back inside myself.
feeling very alone