Last night I came home from a night out with friends and couldn’t sleep, so the child in me decided to watch Toy Story 4. This morning I saw a retweeted interview at the top of my social media feed with author Karl Ove Knausgaard and figured there must be a reason it was at the top of my feed after being posted five hours early, so I watched it. This afternoon I watched This is Us. It took me until the previews of next weeks episode of This is Us to realize there was a message sitting right above my head and all I had to do was pluck it down like a fruit from a tree. If I had waited any longer to understand this message, the fruit might have whapped me upside the head like Sir Isaac Newton.
So why am I laying out my day for you? Well, I left the errands out, but let’s just give me a high five for making it in and out of Target with only what I needed, now back to the point. I am laying my day out for you, because each thing I watched hit me in my soul, and socked me between the eyes like a message tied to a ball, only this time it didn’t hurt when it hit me in the face, instead it woke me up and made me see something I hadn’t seen.
Early last week I shattered what I have come to call my glass ceiling of shame. This is something that hung over me like a black cloud, but an invisible one, because I didn’t realize it was still there and when I did I was able to break through it. I was elated, giddy and literally cried tears of joy, yet I have been wanting to blog about it for eight days now and I have not been able to get anything written that seems halfway satisfying. I thought perhaps I was overthinking it and I was. So today when I watched that interview it helped me. I have never read any of Mr. Knausgaard’s books, because I feel intimidated by them, you know like they’re for smart people who actually read the books they buy, and not just store them on a shelf where they look pretty while you promise yourself you will start reading them. I know it sounds silly, but in listening to his interview I was inspired by his honesty and his forthright way of dealing with events in his own life. It was then that I realized I wasn’t able to write my story, because I was worried about hurting people, but too be honest, there is no one to hurt. I am the one with the story and it is mine to tell and I am learning to be brave enough to tell it without worry or holding back.
As I continue to build a platform to help people bridge that gap from surviving to thriving, I can only do so, if I am willing to be honest. I have always said I am an open book, but the book that I thought I was presenting wasn’t always opening all the way, so now I am breaking the spine on my book and making sure it stays open. I can’t help people if I don’t allow my ugly parts to be exposed. I know I have shared much about my journey, but I have also held back. My ceiling of shame was made of glass, and because my abuser groomed me so young, I didn’t even know it was there. It was one of my earliest learned traits. “Don’t tell your parents…” etcetera and I didn’t. It’s why no one knew, I learned to develop two me’s, the one my parents and family saw, and the one that my abuser saw. This trait is hurtful to many, because there is always someone that feels they should have known. My mom never knew the extent of my abuse, she died before I could tell her, but not too long ago, my dad and I had a heart to heart talk about it and even he kept trying to figure out how he didn’t know, simple, circle back to early training. I told him, I didn’t want him to know, and yes, I was that good at hiding it all. Early training, muscle memory.
Muscle memory is a very real thing and it’s real when it comes to the formative years and what you learn. I like to think I am not a statistic, because my parents kept me just on this side of that line. I do emotionally eat, and I was told by my therapist that my weight is a wall to keep people away from me, so I could remain safe. I didn’t dispute any of it, because I know she was right. No one ever wants to feel like they’re not in control, but the truth is the ones in control of their life probably don’t realize they are, this is a guess, because they just live it. For me, controlling my life, left it out of control. I wasn’t seeing the big picture. My puzzle wasn’t scattered anymore, but I just had the edges, not the context of the picture. This is where Toy Story 4 and This is Us comes in.
There is a need to overdo, or over-help to the point where one might think they’re helping, or that they’re the ones holding it all together, but instead a situation is being created that requires one to be the hero in it, because we couldn’t be our own hero. I have been afraid to shatter that ceiling, not just because I couldn’t see it, but perhaps because I didn’t want to. Shame hovered over me like a hostile alien warship keeping me in line and it stifled my life and me, hiding my confidence in myself and my talents, so I wouldn’t succeed, so I would find every reason to continue to blame my past for my life now. My Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) was terrible. When I look back at it, the memories flooding back over time like a river rushing over a broken dam, it was down right horrendous, but I am still here. I am still alive. I did not become, forgive the expression again, a statistic.
I might have had two childhoods, one as an only child who overly clung to her parents without understanding why (they are pretty cool though), and the other as a little girl hiding a very BIG secret, but I made it and the only way to honor my past and to show myself that I am becoming my own hero is to acknowledge just that, that I did rescue myself. It is also to acknowledge those who were there when I could not shoulder this burden alone and that wasn’t easy for my support group, because I often would not reach out until I was exploding like Mount Shellsuvius, spewing angry lava everywhere.
Sis Laura, who I lovingly call Sibling, my soul-sister and best friend, helped drag me into the light and as I kicked and screamed, she didn’t give up on me. She knew. She knew how bad it was before even I did and before I could tell the entire saga to my dad years later, so when I started this particular path to healing several years ago, I was ahead of the game because of her. This journey was about sorting through the puzzle pieces and weeding out the pieces that didn’t belong in this big picture. The stray pieces that found their way into the proverbial box.
The movie, the interview, the television show, they stirred my brain and gave me no other choice than to dig deeper into myself to pull out the root of the issues I have dealt with since my childhood. No one likes to uproot a tree, but it’s time to plant a new seed and let a new tree grow.
This was not an easy path and it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. I went through six months of the most intense therapy I will probably ever go through, just to learn how to open up and allow myself to heal, but if you are willing to put in the hard work, if you are willing to ask others for help, then there is a possibility that you will find yourself uprooting the tree that you have become and planting new seeds to allow something less damaged to grow. And to be honest, not all outcomes will be the same. This is my story, my journey, but I am sharing it, so others know that they’re not alone out there. I am sharing it to touch that one soul that might happen across my story, as I did many others along this path and realize that they’re not alone. Sometimes this can ignite the fire, and the drive, that can, and many times will, lead to the path of true healing.
Don’t be ashamed of your past. Who you were yesterday, mistakes or no mistakes, is not who you are today. As a quote I found on Pinterest from Meg Byrnes says, “Your wound is probably not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility.” No one can heal you, but you, however, with the right support system in place, they can help you shoulder the load when it becomes too heavy for you. Find people you trust, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s actually a sign of strength, not weakness, and shatter that goddamn glass ceiling that is hovering above, or around, you.
Let’s start here, I believe in you.