The thing about healing when you’ve been broken is that it truly isn’t a linear thing. Brokenness tears you up inside and out. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a breakup, mental/emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, being cheated on, or the death of a loved one. Those things all break you to the point where you’re dropped to your knees (sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively). It hurts both viscerally in your heart and it burrows into your head to torment you… and the thing is everyone’s healing timeline is different. What’s enough time for one person might not be the same for someone else because each experience is different. You can’t walk into someone else’s skin to live their experiences and pain. You wouldn’t want to, and you wouldn’t want someone else to be able to because they’re intensely personal. Our pain is our own to command and keep.
I’m often stuck inside my head fighting my demons that dwell in the murky depths of my mind. They hit me like an anvil when I least expect it, and I’m still dropped by pain from my past. Some days I’m aces. Some days it takes all I have to function and pull myself together to get through work. I know that I am a broken, mess of a person. I am chaos. I am fire that ignites and burns rampant in a forest of decay. I am the murky abyss beneath the ocean’s surface containing the Leviathans of the deep.
I have a rage that boils inside and projectiles as Vesuvius did in 79 A.D. It wins some days. Other days my rage lies dormant and inactive waiting for the steam to bubble back up and roar again.
My broken consciousness ebbs and flows. I’m glad to say that I have more good days than I do bad ones at this point. However, it has taken me countless hours and days lost in thought to work through things. Endless glasses of wine with my best gals. Walls of texts to my best man friends that could rival the Wall of China. Novels to my cousin pouring my heart out and wanting the pain to end.
All of my broken consciousness stems from all the reasons I offered from the start. We all fight battles within us that the world never sees.
I suffered severe emotional abuse as a child. I still hold the insecurities inside that ignited from that abuse. I was told a lot of my life that I was worthless and lazy. I was never good enough despite the work I put into school or my sports. I heard most of my life that I was a pig. I was ugly. I was not worth anything. It was people that were supposed to love me that spewed those awful things to me. No matter how much makeup I use, how often I go to the gym, or how fit I become. I still have trouble seeing myself in a positive light during the bad days.
I was hit and smacked around almost every day as a little girl. I hid bruises on my arms and legs for the better part of my childhood. I still don’t feel right if my legs or arms are visible though there are no longer marks to conceal. I’m rarely seen not wearing jeans and hoodies- a complex to keep teachers from thinking my parents beat me because it wasn’t them. I cower randomly for no reason at times. I have moments of rage for the person who did it to me that crushes me out of nowhere. Most days I hold no grudge. I managed to move on. On the bad days I think I deserved it and hate myself. I tell myself I was never worth saving. The scars that live inside still linger.
One of my first boyfriends cheated on me. And at times I still believe no man will ever really choose me. There’s a voice that whispers inside that I’m not worthy of love or good enough to keep a man interested. I have almost always been left for a better version of a female even in my later relationships. Sometimes I was left for the possibility of someone better not even anyone specific. Sometimes I was just blatantly used. Worth no more than the chance to get whatever the man desired. They’d get it or not and then just disappear from my life forever. No word. My worth as a person has been shaken at times and on the bad days I tell myself it is my fault and I’m not worthy of love. Slowly I’ve managed to build myself up and realize I’m worthy. I don’t deserve the treatment I’ve gotten.
People I loved and admired most in my life have been stolen too soon. The sand in the hourglasses of their lives ran out without warning. There are days that the pain of loss is overwhelming no matter how long it has been since their deaths. November, December, and January are months I spend waiting for my loved ones to die because history says it’s so. No good ever happens in those months for me. Things will strike up a memory of my loved one and I’ll be knocked out with the pain of their loss all over again. Most days they’re remembered with fondness and I feel grateful I knew them. Other days it’s pain. I try to live my life in their honor and be a person they can be proud of. Most days I strive to be the best I can and use the pain to remind myself to not take people for granted.
I was date raped. It was a first date and there’s very little I know about him. I have a first name I know and nothing else I can be sure about. I can’t hear that name and not be hit with the memory. Most days I live my life just fine. I move through the world relatively untouched by the effects of my rape. It was three and a half years ago. You would think that I would be completely healed by now. However, I am still knocked out at times and the wounds reopen in ways I can never predict.
I might drive by the relative location of where I think his house was and think I recognize it, but I can’t be sure because I wasn’t conscious for part of it. It comes flooding back. The feeling of waking with my clothes mysteriously removed and him on top of me, jackhammering away. The feeling that it wasn’t happening to me. That it couldn’t be me. My body reacting without my permission. My consciousness not in the act, not in control. My physical shell stolen and used as if it was nothing but an object to be taken. My consciousness broken apart from its outer shell and splintered into two pieces. My consciousness unable to comprehend what was happening.
I go to the store where I met up with him in the right conditions. Empty parking lot on a dark, rainy night. I get struck with the flashback of the night. I’m paralyzed. Panic sets in. I can no longer breathe. In that moment all I want is to not exist. I want to die. It comes in when you can’t expect it. It hits and suddenly you’re no longer in control of your body again like during the rape. On the bad days I tell myself it was my fault. I agreed to go to his place. I accepted a beer from him and even though I’m no lightweight I inexplicably passed out. I asked for it. I didn’t fight him off upon waking, so I must have wanted it. I deserved it. I had it coming. I did nothing about it, so clearly I asked for it.
I get asked out on a date, and I think I am strong enough to take a leap of faith. The date approaches and panic sets in. I often cannot go on a date anymore because fear takes over and wins. The idea of meeting a stranger for a date causes panic attacks. I can’t trust men anymore because of a rape that happened over three years ago. There is no guarantee that he won’t try to rape me, too. Or worse this time finish the job and end me afterwards. I don’t want to even try to date most days. I don’t want to be around men I don’t know and I don’t feel I can trust. The rape has me damaged beyond repair some days.
The one exception I found that I was willing to risk a date with proved to be a worthy man. He showed me dates can be fun and men can be sweet. He’s shown me that great men do exist still. That not all men will rape. He’s the only one I would have agreed to be with. He wasn’t a stranger and that was the biggest advantage he had in his favor. He’s shown me that I can put trust and faith in some men. Unfortunately he has his own demons to work through, but he’s been the best man to ever enter my life.
Most days I am in control. Most days I am not a victim. Most days I am a survivor. Most days I am the storm. Most days I am the chaos and shine brighter than the sun. Most days I am healed. However, healing isn’t linear and sometimes I am not healed. Some wounds reopen. Some days you end up broken all over again. What we all have to remember is that healing is a process and eventually the wounds will stop throbbing. Healing ebbs and flows and everyone’s timeline is different. I can promise though, one day your good days will outnumber your bad ones.