I had to take a week or so to process everything because I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support and love I have been receiving from so many people; family, friends and even strangers. It’s been such an emotional roller coaster for me since I went public with my #StoryofStrength. One moment, I feel high on life, inspired and feeling like I can change the world with my newfound purpose. The next, a call from someone very close to me telling me to take it down and saying very hurtful things, makes me feel like I want to crawl into a hole and cry. I knew going public with my story would have its share of misunderstanding and anger. I sort of expected it actually but I am happy and feel comforted that this has been received with more support and empathy than with disdain and shame.
Going public with my story was probably the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. For the majority of my life, I felt so ashamed and disgusted with myself, thinking there was something wrong with me or thinking I was to blame for what happened. It’s take a lot of inner work and soul searching to realize that that is NOT true and it’s extremely common for other victims to feel the way I did.
Through this whole experience, I’ve learned a few lessons and strength my faith in myself.
What I learned the most through this whole experience is to love myself. To accept myself for all my flaws, to not blame and shame myself and yes to be selfish because for all those years, I suffered in silence and lived with a lot of inner turmoil. I did not love and respect myself for a long time. As I continue on my journey of healing, I also focus on loving myself. When you love yourself, you have faith in your actions and stay true to your purpose and mission.
When you board an airplane and they explain how the oxygen masks works. Don’t they say to place the mask over yourself first before helping others? That cliché, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Rings so true. The best way to be able to truly help others and to love others, is to love yourself first. Sharing this story is the ultimate “I love you” to myself.
Breaking the Culture of Silence
I come from a culture that promotes silence. Growing up, we never talked about our problems; instead, we had to pretend there were none and keep up pretenses. I know every family has their own share of good and bad, but childhood sexual abuse is something extremely traumatic and an epidemic that needs to be addressed. Just because you ignore a problem, doesn’t mean it’ll go away. You can cover it up, pretend it’s not there, but under the surface, it festers and contaminates your body, mind and spirit. Maybe I’m so vocal now because I didn’t have the chance to when I was younger. I’ve finally found the strength to speak my truth. I’m going to continue to do so whether people agree with it or not. At least I can go to sleep peacefully at night knowing I did the right thing and I’m healing my trauma my way.
You are NOT Alone
Through sharing my story, I have had so many people message, call, text and email me about their own stories. Friends, relatives, acquaintances and even strangers shared their own traumatic past with me and I hope they also realize, like I have come to realize, that we are not alone. Growing up, I felt alone and there was no one that understood what I was going through. I didn’t ask for help because the one time I gathered enough courage to, I got shut down. For all those who are currently going through any form of abuse or are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma… please know that you are not alone. You are not your past. You are not to blame. You should not be ashamed.
We can all heal, move forward and live a happy life. We can learn from what happened to us and more awareness to this issue. We have the power to STOP this cycle of abuse and violence NOW.
It ends with us.
I created a RESOURCES page with links and information to helpful organizations, articles, etc. that focus on this type of abuse and trauma. I will continually add to this list so if you have any suggestions for other organizations, support groups, books, documentaries and other tools that would be helpful, feel free to email it to me at email@example.com.
Once again, thank you so much for all your love and support.
*If you would like to share your own story of strength, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be anonymous unless otherwise specified.