It’s been nine months since my last post and yet again, I’ve struggled to keep on top of my blogging. But I’m writing today because the past nine months has been a whirlwind of emotions.
In my last post, I wrote about my endless struggles about finding a job and how my first job interview in years had left me feeling defeated and doubtful about my capabilities. But I also wrote about my realisation that I am capable of so much more than I thought.
I have learnt this so well in the past two months.
After an extensive, tiresome, emotionally draining nine months, I finally secured a permanent full-time job. For the first time in my life, I am juggling life as a mother of three young children and a full-time job. And as exhausted as I am waking up early in the morning, driving almost 30km to work five days a week, rushing home to cook dinner for my family, then doing my best to make time for my family and for myself… I am incredibly happy.
I am happy because I am confronting all the fears and vulnerabilities I’ve had all my life.
You see, until three years ago, I lived with a deep, painful secret, an incredibly traumatic one, that I was forced to hide for almost 20 years. And the pain spread to all areas of my life. It made me doubt my worth as a person. It made me doubt how much others loved me. It made me doubt my ability to learn from my mistakes. Instead, I lived, I ‘functioned’, but I was holding back from being the ‘real’ me for fear that I wouldn’t be loved or liked for who I truly am.
Being in a full-time job for the first time in my life, has challenged me to face these fears head on. For me to listen to constructive feedback and not doubt myself the way I did when I was a child. For me to let people in, without worrying that one day they’ll hurt me just like he did.
At first, doing this job, was severely confronting. It led to anxiety attacks – the noise, the busyness, was just too much. And I thought I couldn’t do it.
But I was reassured that I could do it.
And I believed them.
Because, not only am I doing it, but I am continuing to be a living example that there is life beyond child sexual abuse. That you can be threatened with legal action. You can be threatened into silence for 20 years. You can be accused of being a liar, called crazy and ostracized from the people who should’ve protected you – but that doesn’t have to change who you are capable of becoming.
When my Grandma passed away earlier this year and the fact that she was dying was kept from me, I thought that was it. I thought I had reached my ability to take any more.
But I have learnt, in these few months, that giving up simply isn’t even an option any more.
I want to be happy. I want to be around people who love me. I want to continue helping people.
And I am around people who love me. And I have a job that does provide me with the opportunity to help people.
There is someone I haven’t spoken to for many months now, who used to be a very big part of my life. And at times, I wonder what this person is up to. But the strong, healed part of me, knows that you can miss somebody and still understand why they can’t be a part of your life.
I believe that my strength and courage to truly understand this is because I really am healing from the past 20 years.
I still have my down days. I still cry wondering why this had to happen to me. I still cry wondering why the first relative I told doesn’t believe me like I thought he would. I still cry thinking that as much as the abuse doesn’t define me, it still happened and I have to accept it in order to heal.
I’m writing this tonight, after a 7am start of work, for anyone who is struggling at the moment. For anyone who is going through a really hard time and needs reminding that they are strong enough to get through whatever they’re going through.
It does get easier. Please don’t give up. I know it’s hard, I really really know.
But please, also know, that 12 years ago, I was a 17 year old who attempted suicide multiple times in the hopes that the pain would stop. I would cry myself to sleep. I would tell myself that I was unlovable and nobody would ever want to marry me. That the world was better off without me in it.
But now, I am 29 years old, I have been happily married for almost 10 years. We have three wonderfully kind and empathetic children. I still struggle with self confidence and I am way too hard on myself.
But I am a book still being written and I have touched many lives because I held on. My story hasn’t finished and neither has yours.
Please reach out, as I did three years ago, and don’t be afraid to talk about whatever pain you are going through. After 20 years of silence, I have learnt that talking is the only way forward. You can’t heal, you can’t grow, you can’t truly live the life you are capable of living – until you make sense of the past, until you forgive yourself for whatever that has happened.
Please don’t give up. We are all in this together 🙂