When I started this journey I had a lot of emotions and confusion. Did I do the right thing? Was the pain worth it? What did everyone really think of me? How was this going to affect my life, and the others involved lives? I never planned to deal with this, I never planned to talk about it that day in a room full of women. I never planned to continue to talk about it and work thru it. But here I am four(ish) years later still in the thick of it. Still with thousands of questions and so much confusion. But I am on my way. Slowly, but surely I am figuring things out.
One of the biggest things that I worried about was how people would think of me. I didn’t want them to think of me as the girl who was molested her whole childhood, damaged, broken, I wanted them to think of me as Sandra, the fun-loving silly girl they had known. But in the end, they think of me as something completely different.
In a weird way I remember the day I finally told like it was yesterday, but also I barely remember any of it. I can’t see the faces of my friends in that room, I can’t remember what they all said. However, apart from being shocked they were supportive. They helped me so much as I started this journey by just being with me. By letting me slowly figure it out and not pressuring me, but being there for me when I needed to talk, and helping me figure out what I should do next. There has been a few of these ladies from that weekend that have been a huge part of this process. But each in there own way. One especially had an interesting way to help me. She wouldn’t lie to me. She would tell me what she thought with out protecting my feelings. It was AMAZING. I can’t describe her, she just had a way of being blunt, and still loving. One of my friends would just let me talk and talk and talk. She gave me her opinions but let me talk! I could sit here for hours explaining how great my friends have been. But my point is this. As I continue this work I get more and more vocal, which puts that fear of what will people think of me, up front in center. When it was just my close friends I could tell them that I was worried about how they thought of me and they could ease my fear, but as I started opening my self up to others I can’t just ask everyone what they actually think of me. That being said, something amazing has started happening.
Lately people have been telling me what they think of me. But it wasn’t what I expected. People tell me they think I am strong. They tell me how proud they are of me. They tell me that I am an inspiration. They say these things with a smile on their face with honesty in their eyes. And, the amazing part, I am believing them. I have done something amazing. I have been vulnerable and allowed people in to a secret that I kept for most of my life. By telling my story I have helped others be able to talk about their secrets, their pain, their truth. I have women message me to let me know that because of my ability to open up they have asked for help, they have gone to counselling, or in some cases even brought the law into. I never realized how selfish I was being by not telling, in more then one way.
When I made my pain public I allowed people to feel it. I allowed people to feel their own pain. Sharing my story helped (and is still hopefully helping) others. In a way I never expected, I helped people. That was not my plan (or even something I realized could happen) when I started sharing. But I am so happy that I did open up, that I have been able to make my journey more public.
The other thing I realized was I was being selfish to my family. I was on autopilot. I love my children and husband very much but being on autopilot makes it so you really don’t experience emotions. I was happy, loved my life, honestly didn’t know I wasn’t experiencing life to its fullest. But now as I walk down this journey everyday I get to feel a bit more. I get to understand a bit more. I get to live life to the fullest a bit more. By working on myself I have been able to be more, more of a wife, more of a mother and just more of a person. By putting myself, and mental health first, I was able to put my family first. I was able to heal, well if I am honest, I am still healing and will be for a long time. But I am getting better, I am more here for my family. I am not on autopilot as much anymore, I am actually able to experience things.
The most interesting thing is that I thought I was doing the right thing not telling. I was wrong. It was not a secret that should have been kept, no matter what people may think of me, only good can come from telling this secret. Good for me and my children, safety for other children, and good for the people that my story is reaching. So I will continue to be a voice in a place that I believe needs to be louder. I will continue to be support for people who need a hand to hold. And I will continue to heal and grow for myself and family.
If you are in a place that is dark, please reach out. There is so many amazing resources out there, not including just friends and family. At SACE they have a 24 hour crisis line 780.423.4121 These are trained people there to help. Don’t suffer alone, start a journey of healing. ❤