Harboring Hatred

I realized that for a long time now, I have been holding a lot of anger and a lot of hatred towards certain people who have wronged me. Various people from my distant and not so distant past cause me distress even just at the mention of their name. I cringe and scowl scrolling past them on Facebook. I feel in the depths of my soul a lurking darkness, towards them. I hate them. Hate them.

A few hours ago I wanted to write about all the people that I hold grudges against and how they hurt me. I wanted to air their dirty laundry and expose to the world what they have done to me. How they have ruined me; how they ruined my life. I thought this would help me feel more at peace, if I shared these things. I realize now after some much needed decompression that the real issue here is me. That’s right, me. It’s me holding on to bad things. It’s me letting the people who hurt me have so much control over my life. Harboring this hatred is giving these people power over my life, over my well being. The hard part is I know I can’t let go just like that. I know that letting these hurts go is a process. Yet, it’s a process I need to start sooner rather than later. Because once this process turns to progress I will be even more free. Free from those people, free from hatred, I will be free to start my life again. And that is something worth celebrating. It’s something worth fighting for.

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He Changed Me

I always went to church, in God I believed

I always thought I was a “good girl”

How can just a couple moments change a life?

I thought I loved this man, but on that day

He stole my heart, my mind, my brain.

He destroyed my body

On the other side I stood… cold.. alone.

My heart once on my sleeve, now scraps in a dogs teeth.

I silently screamed as I wore a feeble smile.

Lost in that moment, I would never be the same

But, just a couple moments can change a life.

I met a man the other day.

He spoke softly to me when he told me “You’re beautiful.”

Those words felt weightless, valueless.

He took my hand, and got down on one knee.

He said, “Darling, will you marry me?”

How could I trust another man?

But change takes courage, courage to hope in a better tomorrow.

I said, “Yes. Happily!”

One thing is sure, I’ll never look back.

One man destroyed me

One set me free.

Learning to love myself, I will be.

Just a couple moments, can change a life.

Lukewarm Memories

So you know the feeling you get when you start reminiscing about years gone by? That warm gentle feeling of nostalgia that washes over you like a wave. You know, that feeling you get when you hear an old song, see an old item, or go to a place you haven’t frequented in some time. I generally love that feeling. Remembering gives me a warmth.

Unfortunately, tonight.. remembering feels cold.

I’m not sure how my brain came to this place. I was thinking of such good days and good times. Those memories life’s my head with joy. That is, until I found conflict in my memories. I found bad things in a good memory. Can it still be a good memory if it is filled with bad things? Should I still hold on to these types of memories or work to let them go altogether?

Here is an example. I remember spending many summers on Lake Michigan at my Grandpas property. I think so fondly of that place. I remember imagining growing up to take my husband and kids there. Alas, that never can happen. Now should this negative effect such a positive memory? No? Well here is a harder one.

One of my favorite things about high school was how extroverted I was. I loved being social, hanging out at friends houses, going parties, and honestly doing some things I know I should feel guilty about. However when I remember some of these times, I still find a sense of warmth. I’m glad I had those experiences because I think they shaped me into a well rounded person, I’m even thankful for some of the memories I have with some less than wholesome people. Shouldn’t I inherently dislike the memories if the I dislike the people?

Do you see why I’m conflicted? I don’t want to give up these parts of my past. I often feel like in order to heal, I must erase certain things completely out of my life. Problem is.. I don’t want to erase everything out of my life.

Of course I want to erase some terrible awful detailed memories that come to haunt me. However, to erase people, places, or things would take away a lot from what makes me, me.

I think I made some pretty poor choices over the years. I also think I have made some extremely wise choices over the years.

So, should I be in conflict? Should I let go of people who hurt me? Should I even let go of the memories we have shared (especially good ones)? Should I continue to hold on?

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. All I can do is keep being strong and being the best version of myself.

What’s the Point

I’m not going to sit here and lie about why I haven’t written in a while. This has always been a place I can clear my head space. Lately it’s not that I haven’t needed it as much as I have found other outlets. Not to say this isn’t also a great one. But hey, I’m not here to excuse myself. I’m here for one reason now.

I’m probably a freak right? Like what I’m about to say might blow some people straight out of the water. As some may know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Month and many are voicing out about suicide prevention. Let’s talk about that. Last year, I was right there with them, screaming with all my might. Now, I look at all of these stats and information pamphlets and it all just doesn’t click in my head.

Maybe it’s because to me, Suicide, is the most attractive word. I imagine most cringe when they hear it spoke. But me? I listen to it. I let it slowly waft into my ears and roll down my spine. If depression is a prison then suicide is my get out of jail free card.

I know all the things people will say when someone is thinking about suicide. I know. I’m not ignoring those things either. I don’t have a plan or even intention. However it’s something that I can’t rule out as an option. I wish I could but truthfully, I think that would make every single day that much more unbearable.

I don’t care if I make sense. If not one person reading this understands what I’m going through then the world is just that much of a better place. Denying my pain seems to be part of my treatment lately, but it’s not something I can do in my own time. I know my pain and my husband sees it. My healing is stagnant or progressively getting worse.

Why am I even writing this? Is their much of a point but to clear my mind? Perhaps someone will read it and relate. If so, please let me know because I feel completely and utterly alone.

Can You Hear Me Now?

It has been a while since I have posted publicly to my blog. At times I feel it is best my thoughts remain private, but right now, I only feel I need my voice to be heard.

I don’t know how many tines I have written about the invisible terrors mental illness causes. I have probably spoken on this topic far more than I could count. One thing I often don’t talk about though sexual assault. Now for those who may be triggered or have a hard time reading about these types of things, I do encourage you stop now. I would never want anyone else to relive trauma.

Now, every form of abuse I have suffered still causes me problems in my life. This very specific form of abuse however hurts me in ways I can’t even comprehend.

I want to tell a brief story. There was a young man who came to my work place looking for a home. Now, to everyone else, he probably seemed normal. If anything, maybe he seemed to be a tad bit conceited. To me, he was different. This man’s personality, his actions, & his mannerisms flipped a switch in my head. In my mind, I have seen him before. Even though I probably had never actually met him, my mind knew him. My mind recognized his mannerisms and set off a warning alarm. My body’s fight or flight defenses turned on because all of a sudden, It wasn’t a stranger. This man wanted to hurt me, degrade me, rape me.

I don’t know him and he probably is an okay guy, but from past experiences, my mind and body thought this man was threatening. It pulled to mind gruesome memories and details that I never wanted to think. Now, do you want to know the worst part? It was noon and I still had to work six more hours before I could go home and cry.

One of the worst feelings a sexual assault victim can feel is degraded and unheard. My mind screams internally and my body feels numb. Those same describing words could be used to describe several of the sexual assaults I have survived. I’m fighting this deadly feeling and I can’t say a word.

Why don’t I say something? Well, times like these happen more often than I care to admit and if I said something every time, I would surely turn into the boy who cried wolf. That is why I stay silent. I keep quiet until I get to a time that my body produces a physical reaction: sobbing, yelling, convulsions, hair pulling, etc. I wait until this happens because I know people will see something is actually wrong. They will be able to hear me. They will be able to understand. It’s like my mind is screaming “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!?”

I hate living life like this. I’m in constant fear. I wonder if anyone can relate. My therapist suggested I get a doctors note so if I feel unheard, people will believe me. My everyday life consists of trying to stay calm and trying to remain normal. I practice many coping skills throughout the day just to function.

Sometimes it’s even worse after I go to therapy because it brings things up that I would rather ignore. I have been hurt too much and I’m mad that it’s able to control me. I’m mad it can hold me hostage. I’m mad it can take me away from my work. I’m mad that it effects my intimacy with my husband. My mind is mad and now it’s screaming at all the men who hurt me “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

That is why I wanted to make this public. I want people that know me, to hear me. I want them hear the silent screams for help. I want others who read it to relate or to hear others. Think of the four closest women to you. Now pick one. Statistically one in every four women are sexually assaulted in their lives. Let our voices be heard. Because sexual assault isn’t just a “me too” Facebook post and then let’s all forget. Sexual assault is a monster that devours its victims daily.

So this goes out to those who feel like they can’t be heard. And I ask those around me, can you hear me now?

How Porn Helped Destroy my Life

This is a huge thing to talk about, shameful even.  Last night I read an article about porn destroying relationships.  I have read I lot of articles similar to that.  The Fight the New Drug campaign is raising awareness about how harmful Porn is.  I have a story that I think should be told, regardless of how ashamed I am of it.

I grew up pretty innocent to the world.  I knew a little about sex from some videos we watched, but I hated ever trying to talk about my curiosity with my parents out of embarrassment.  So when I was twelve or thirteen, with the internet now at my disposal, I wandered into a world that changed my life forever.

At first, it was pure curiosity.  I have to admit that figuring things out is probably fairly normal.  Things went wrong when reading story’s and seeing pictures turned to video. Knowing very little about what sex was, these videos were truth.  They showed me not only sex, but what a relationship between a man and a woman was like in private.  This is why several years down the road, when I was in an abusive relationship, I perceived it as normal.

I became obsessed with this idea that my worth came from what men thought of me.  It started out with just wanting to be liked.  When I perceived a man liked me, I became open to him.  Then if he ever did something that I now realize no man should do to a woman, I would accept it and move on.

The result of this was abuse and eventually the first time I was raped. You would imagine the after all that, I would see reality, but unfortunately, as Porn still continued to be I my life; I would constantly see unhealthy relationships.  I would crave the attention of a man, but I was unaware of how to actually obtain it.

Fast Forward a few years.  Now I am in the pit of an aweful bout with depression.  My faith in God (the only thing I held onto during my college years) was failing.  My life was deprived of its meaning.  I needed a way to feel better. I was completely and utterly desperate.

That is when I turned to men.  When I talk about my years of fighting mental illness, many are surprised when I say that my ‘rock bottom’ wasn’t even when I attempted suicide. That is because, it was in this period of my life that I actually felt dead.  Death would have been a lesser evil than the things I experienced.

So rock bottom started with this. Turning to the online dating app Tinder, I searched for love.  Instead of love, I found desperate men.  Some were straight about wanting a one night stand.  Others were more subtle. Like the first guy I invited over while I was home alone. (I’ll mention that at this point I was living with my parents as a way to control my environment to keep me from suicide.) All he said he wanted was to dance, I guess I was to blind to realize he insinuated so much more from those words.  He started kissing me, pulling on the bed.  This progressed quickly and before I even had a chance to understand it all, he finished pulling off the condom and drove away.  I was so unsure in that moment how I felt. We had sex, that meant he liked me.  I was on top of the world.  That is until, I tried to message him on tinder later that day and I realized he had blocked me.

After that, I quickly turned back to the thing that made me happy to try again.  The next couple weeks are an unforgettable haunting blur of hooking up with someone, being happy, then getting crushed to a new low when he left.  I started giving my body in exchange for attention.  I was a prostitute.  One after another, different men drained me of any true happiness and destroyed me.  Nobody even knew the trouble I was in because on the outside I was happy.

It wasn’t until a vey scary night in a sketchy motel room that I realized I needed help.  I arrived and he looked nothing like his picture.  He had a thick accent to which I still can’t place.  He reaked of whisky.  The moment I walked in he locked the door.  He started undressing me without even a hello.  That’s when I realized what was happening.  He grabbed my arm so tightly I was bruised.  He held me so I couldn’t move. He spat on me and degraded me.  I was fearing my life.  After two rounds with me I was able to escape when someone knocked on his door.  I cried the whole way home.

I told my friends who were very concerned and I got help.  My parents had to find out at the hospital, I could hardly face them.  I was angry they knew. I was angry at myself. I was angry with God.

Once I got out of the hospital a week later, I knew two things: I was lucky I didn’t get pregnant or have any STDs and more importantly, I was lucky to be alive.

Now, a few years later and I still know I’m lucky to be alive. I think back to how I thought sex meant love and how that ultimately drove me to do extremely stupid things.  Now after lots of healing from Jesus, therapy, and friends.  I can now tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship.  I’m able to look at my boyfriend and not fear him because I know the root of his love is not surface level.  I’m able to praise God for freeing me from what could have been my death.

So there is my story.  I dislike Porn for many reasons, but the way it destroys lives is why I believe we as a society need to fight it.  My story as horrible as it is, could be considered tame in comparison to many others. I don’t want my future children  to live in a world where a ten year old can access it.  That’s why we need to fight it.

A work in progress…

It all started with a simple snap of the mind. One single phrase brought to my mind terrible visions and pictures of things I wish I could have long forgotten.  

That is how it started. This week has been a first.  It has been the first time since I have been stable that I truly have started to feel the weight of all that happened during the last 4 years.  It has hit hard by bringing me feelings, memories, visions, and pictures.  It has brought my mood into a place of depression.  It has me fear mania when I feel myself rise again, so I try not to let myself rise. 

I think a lot of it is medical and thankfully I will be seeing my doctor soon, but as it stands, I have to admit that I hate this.  The thing about depression or bipolar disorder is you constantly feel like you are under attack.  Literally, your mind wants you dead. Mine does anyway.

Part of it is that I don’t think I have even began properly dealing with any of the trauma, because we have been so fearful just for my everyday life until this point.  So now that I’m doing better, the harder stuff is starting to surface.  As much as I wish I could never think about the abuse, the rapes, the addiction, I know I have to in order to heal. I know I have to to move forward.

Honestly,  the hardest thing for me to face is the part a rarely speak of.  I have called myself a harlot or a prostitute in the past but nothing seems to fit what happend.  I was messed up.  I was numb to everything in the world.  This is what I always refer to as my rock bottom because in my life, I don’t think I could have groveled any lower than I did.  I’ve been told I was victim.  I have also been told I’m not what I did, but no matter, it is still something that makes me sick every time I think about it.  I’ve wished the word whore be tattooed on me so people know exactly who I am.

But is that really who I am? During my darkest days, I did some awful things that should define me… but they don’t.  Strangers would never guess that is what once was.  I’m free from it outwardly. I also know in Christ I have a new Identity. One that is in him.  

Freedom from the memories is what’s still holding me.  And it’s not that I want to forget because it’s all a part of my testimony. It drives me to be the best me I can be.  I just don’t want it to haunt me. I don’t want to fear.  

So, I guess I’m still human and still dealing with my demons. We all are. We all have to. 

Not sure what else to say.

Shalom