I am learning to be present in the present

Some people survive and talk about it. Some people survive and go silent. Some people survive and create. Everyone deals with unimaginable pain in their own way, and everyone is entitled to that, without judgement. They say ignorance is bliss and there was a time when I subscribed to that notion. The trauma of sexual abuse, whether remembered or not, has an uncanny nature of infiltrating every fiber of your being whether you remember or not. I am a survivor and started getting memories three years ago when the perpetrator, who is a family member, decided to clear his conscience and confess to me. The moment the words left his mouth and the truth of it hit me, my life was forever changed. I was devastated. I was shattered. I was broken. I went numb for months and refused to deal with it because just the mere thought of the memories was too much for me to bear.

There were nights where I would weep until I had no more tears to shed. Days when I went through life without feeling anything because I was afraid that by letting in anything at all, the dam would open, and I would sink. So, fight it I did, very hard, until I got to the point where I had to make the decision whether to continue to ignore what was happening or face it head-on. I finally got help and it was the best decision I have ever made. I was fortunate to find a therapist that helped through the first round of memories until I moved to a new city. I thought I was fine until I was triggered by another rape and I have been doing deep work since. I work every day to become better, sometimes in absolute refusal of letting this dictate the rest of my story, but mostly because I am worth it.

I have learned that sometimes the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything; perhaps it is about unbecoming everything that isn’t really me, so I can be who I was meant to be in the first place. I have felt unspeakable moments of intense joy that have opened my heart to love – moments that have left me completely speechless. I have experienced so many wonderful things that people only dream of, and some that I would not wish on an enemy.

Sometimes I am still confused – it was where I begin to learn new things. Sometimes I still feel broken with every new memory remembered – it was where I begin to heal. Sometimes I am still frustrated – it is where I pause to make more authentic decisions. Sometimes I am sad for what I have lost but when I am brave enough, I can hear my heart’s wisdom through it.

As I look back, I do so forgivingly. As I look forward, I do so prayerfully and hopeful. But the wisest thing I am learning to do is to be present in the present, gratefully, because a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.

-Joseline, Survivor