For a long time I thought I was tainted and damaged goods because my ex step father, Daniel C. Young Sr would do horrible sexual things to my body. The idea of healing, of being whole, of having healthy friendships and relationships seemed so far fetched that I couldn’t even imagine it. I think that’s why I dove deep into writing fiction. Because if I couldn’t be a real woman because I was so dirty, than at least my characters could have great friends and wonderful relationships.
Accepting love from others when you see yourself as damaged goods or as a broken person is very hard. I remember dating many men and while they were not perfect, I kept feeling, “not good enough” when around them. While I’ve always been a confident person, I was a tainted confident person. I knew I was intelligent, I knew I was creative, dynamic and all those other things. But I also saw myself as poison. I felt that because Daniel had poisoned me, I would in return, poison every one I came into contact with.
Throughout the years it has been so challenging to let people love me. And even to this day to here words like, “You are good enough,” still hurts a little.
It’s has gotten better. How?
I have found that while I take control of my safety and my protection, I can surrender to love. Pure unadulterated love. It’s easier to say than do. I think I spent the first two years of my relationship with Mr. Officer just learning to let go. Most of my journal entries were like, “I can’t believe he wants me to trust. He wants me to just walk blindly, take a risk, be vulnerable. I can’t do that. Is he crazy?”
No. I was just crazy. Well not crazy. I just have a broken viewpoint that had been damaged by a bad situation. I wasn’t damaged but my view on love, trust, vulnerabilty and healthy risk taking was slanted and tainted and needed some mending and grace.
This had also been the case with my friendships. For awhile it was just so hard to let people in. You are so used to putting up walls and boundaries to block out the pain and hurt and abuse…that in the midst of that you block out the love and joy and fellowship of good people. I learned that instead of putting up a wall, I needed to put up a filter. Instead of just closing the door on everyone, I needed a screen that could block out the pesky little buggers that had no good intentions.
It has taken trial and error. It has taken tears. Therapy. Hundreds of conversations. Dozens of journal entries. I have had to make mistakes and try new things but I have found that once I thrived past the victimization and circumstance; once I let that go, I was able to hold on to something else that was worth my time. And that is love.
It is not all roses and sunshine and rainbows. I find myself still trying to say, “Ok, I’ll let you love me but I won’t let you have me.” Its a balancing act. But being at a place where I even have close friends, healthy family relationships and a loving romantic relationship is a progress of growth.
I thought by the age of 25 that I would be dead. I wrote out my obituary my senior year of college. I know. It’s so morbid. But I was dealing with depression and suicide. I never thought I’d be able to love someone purely or that someone could really see me and love me.
But while the abuse wasn’t a choice, love is. I have full control over who I allow in my life and knowing that, I am able to surrender to love.
Give me tips Sheena. How can I learn to trust? How can I let them love me? I know I am not good enough. Maybe others are but I am not?
Are thoughts like that running through your mind?
I guess I came to a point where I realized I had the power to be whomever I wanted to be. While the child in me was abused and hurt, the adult me had every chance in the world to decide what she’d think, where she’d be, and what she would do.
I think it just all comes down to choice. For awhile I sometimes found solace in my depression, isolation and views of being damaged goods. And then I wanted something else. When you are ready, you will act differently. While the act of your victimization wasn’t your choice at all, deciding to stay a victim is left up to you. I wanted to be a survivor, a thriver and a warrior. I wanted to be a healthy woman. I really didn’t want to die at 25, alone thinking myself unlovable. So I started visualizing a new me. And those visualizations, affected my words, my actions and my choices. Those visualizations affected where I found myself and who I spent my time with. And like I said, through trial and error, through making mistakes, and through painful realizations, I discovered a new me.
I don’t think love makes the world go round. But I think it grounds us. It pulls us out of the depths of a depressive hell and it brings us back to earth. It gives us something to hold on to when everything else is chaotic.
I guess through all my ramblings, I realized I had to find a new me and love myself and in loving myself, I was able to let others love me too.
If you want to stay a victim, if you want to stay depressed, hurt and angry, stay that way. But if you want something more than that…start writing, start talking, start doing something different.