Why tell my story? Why now?
I was raised in a culture where you never appeared weak. If something bad happened to you, you sucked it up and moved on. No weakness. No crying. People will talk. We don’t want people to talk about us. Get back to work. Work keeps your mind busy. Everything is fine. Smile.
Granted, my rape is none of your business and I’m sure some people wonder why I would ever share such a shameful thing. It is shameful, but I’m at a point where I have to use my pain for good. I will not sit idly by and not be my authentic self. I’m tired of putting on a show. I am broken. I struggle. I pray. I am overcoming.
And this is all okay! It is okay to not be perfect and to struggle. That is real life. I want to live my real life, not some make-believe version where my make-up is perfect, I have the perfect outfit, the perfect job, the perfect house, perfect spouse. What I want and what I want to share with you is real life. The real shitty parts of life that we face and somehow get through, and we wake up ready to face the world for another day.
By conventional terms, I must appear to be pretty miserable. Unemployed, living in my parents basement, no significant other, barely does her hair and make-up. I made all of these choices. Can I be honest though? This is the happiest I’ve been in 3 years. It’s exhausting putting on a show. Now is the time for me to recover and reclaim my life. I’ve reconnected with old friends and re-learned that I love where I grew up.
Why did I leave DC? Safety
This is the first time in 3 years that I have felt safe. Both physically safe & mentally safe. Continuing to live in the city where the rape occurred brought me an amount of stress & anxiety that I didn’t realize until I was back at home on the farm for good. When you live with constant fear of who is walking on the sidewalk, who is riding the subway with you, who is on the airplane you get not only physically exhausted, but emotionally exhausted. I’m not constantly wondering if someone is following me home.
I was living the life I always envisioned. Dream job, great apartment, great city, great friends, get to travel a lot. Life was good! I finally hit my stride in adult-hood! Living the dream! I never could have envisioned the nightmare that was to come.
I hope that you will follow my story on this blog. It’s going to be raw & honest. Honesty is something that is hard to come by these days, especially when dealing with rape. There will be some light-hearted moments as well. Laughter, music, Family & friends are what have gotten me through many long days.
I’d like to share this podcast from National Cathedral Church on shame & knowing God in the struggle:
I attended NCC for some of my time in DC and found their messages always relevant and uplifting. The Lord has perfect timing as always.
So, I hope that you will follow me on this journey as I tell my story. I also hope that you will share this blog with others. I can promise you that someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse. Once I started opening up about my assault to friends & colleagues, I was surprised by how many other people have been raped in just my small circle. It’s painful to talk about and carries the scarlet letter of shame, but I’m done staying quiet.
Tomorrow marks 3 years since my rape. Three years ago my world was turned upside down. Today I am stronger. I am a survivor. I hope to be a servant to others. Today I am ready to reclaim my life.
Keeping it Real,