I Spent Many Years Being Numb to Life

The grass is not always greener on the other side. I was 11 when I left my small Island for the promise in another country to live with the stranger who had fathered me. The excitement I felt could not be contained and I was determined to make my family proud of me. Not long after, my abuse began at the hands of my dad (sexual & physical). For the next five or so years I wore a smile to cover the inside hurt and learned how to take my mind to wherever I wanted it to go; this helped me numb the pain and live in spite of what was happening on the outside.

As people we always want to believe the good of those we love, hence why close family did not believe me. If I was not in the situation, I would probably not believe it either. I can now see this though at the time I was filled with anger. All I knew was what the adults around me were teaching me by their actions; the more you speak, the more trouble that comes your way. Unintentionally we teach children what to expect based on our actions not our words. I recall testing people to see what they would say by throwing out scenarios at them about various things. The human mind is more powerful than we give it credit–plainly demonstrated when we are in traumatic situations. I got my escape accidentally through a friend and school counselor in whom I am eternally grateful. We seldom know the purpose of someone in our lives before it is fulfilled.

When I started having kids my eyes began to open as to how stuck I was. There were things I wanted to give them emotionally that I couldn’t, and I couldn’t explain it. I spent many years being numb to life and just going through the motions but when I decided to fully let go of all the hurt and pain and to forgive, I found myself. It wasn’t easy and I had many setbacks. I just had to keep pushing and believing. I also found hope in my faith which was the one ingredient all the counselling was missing and what was keeping me from fully releasing the hurt.

You can smile again, and it can be authentic. You can live freely again. You can overcome the pain, sadness, anger etc. One story at a time, one word at a time. Your voice matters and you are not alone. The more I knew I wasn’t alone, the stronger I got, the bolder I got. No apologies, as you did nothing wrong. You are enough, you are heard, and you are believed. The power is in your voice: SPEAK. It’s never too late. Your healing was for me and my healing is for you.

-Karen, Survivor