The naked truth


It’s difficult acknowledging the whole truth to yourself when you’ve been abused, when you’re still flooded with shame for things that were done to you as a child, for the things you let happen as an adult, the people you allowed to betray you.  Difficult for me, anyway.  I keep sliding back into thinking it’s all my fault.  I should have said no.  I shouldn’t have trusted.  I shouldn’t have been ignorant.

It’s hard to look at others in similar situations and say “I’m one of those people”.

It’s hard to say that 55 years of my life are gone, most of them spent trying to run from that truth, trying to hide from its savageness and from the truth of my self-esteem; and then that the last ten years or so have been spent recovering, not just from bankruptcy, but from all the past as well, putting myself back together, piece by piece.

It’s really hard sometimes to believe that it wasn’t wasted, and that I’m not shameful now for having taken so long to get to this place of being able to stand exposed before the naked truth, and neither try to run nor hide.

At least I got here.  At least I’ve started to pick up the pieces.   When you’re the one who gets abused, you’re the one who has to pay the price, and you’re the one who has to find a way to heal.  There’s just no getting around it.  It is what it is.  In the end, you’re the lucky one.  Let me make this personal: I’m the lucky one.

It’s fine, I can do it.  I’m strong enough, I’ve got enough courage.  I’m drawing wonderful people into my world, and my lust for life is undiminished.  As are my wish for fulfillment in every way, to have fun and pleasure, to love and be loved, be part of community, have friends, achieve dreams.

I feel quiet today.  Something shifted in me yesterday.  The last little shred of illusion and hope that I was clinging to was stripped away from me.  The illusion and hope that everything I’ve invested into my relationship with my mother, all that I gave up in childhood, all the love, understanding, compassion that I’ve given her was well invested.

It wasn’t.  Still, I wasn’t wrong to do it.  Nor was I wrong to hope, to cling to hope and illusion, and even to let myself fantasize about my mother listening to me yesterday.  I wasn’t wrong to give her one more chance, to let myself be so vulnerable, so I’d have to see the truth if she turned away from me.

Even though it meant putting myself in potential harm’s way one more time.  Even though it meant being hurt again.  The gaining of knowledge has a momentum.  At some point doubt has no weight any more, no pull.  There’s just certainty of truth.

You can hope that those who abused you will help you heal, but chances are they they won’t.  Chances are they’re not even very conscious of what they’ve done.  You have to find a way to leave.  They’re not going to change, because it works for them not to.  You’re the one it doesn’t work for.

I’ve done it.  My leaving isn’t violent, it’s not noisy or revengeful.  It’s not all sentimentally forgiving, either.  I don’t forgive my mother.  I don’t forgive the men who molested and statutorily raped me.  I don’t forgive the men who broke their word to me or abused their power.  I understand, but I don’t condone.  Unconscionable behaviour isn’t condonable.

I forgive myself.

No matter what lies ahead of me, no matter what else I have to process, this moment and the certainty it holds for me, can never be taken from me.  I can never go back from this threshold that I’ve crossed.  I always thought this moment would be a trumpets blazing one.  It isn’t, though.  It’s quiet and simple.

It’s my moment.  My very own.

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