Last week, I spent a little time transferring posts from the old site to this one. It will be easier just to have them all in one place and make it easier for people to find. The task isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming.
The fourth post was entitled, “The Article Is Going To Be In What Magazine?” When I did the interview for the article, I had no idea what magazine was planning to publish it. When I received the voice mail that it was going to be printed, and in O Magazine nonetheless. I was astounded. The magnitude of the actual posting struck me several months later in the airport in Hawaii. I was looking at the news rack in the airport on the way to my friend’s wedding. There was a copy of O Magazine. It wasn’t the same issue, but I was overcome by the fact that my picture had been tucked inside that magazine on that very rack. Seeing it allowed my mind to contemplate all the other places it had been.
Shortly after the article came out, Jill Culbertson Siegel and I re-connected on Facebook. She sent me a personal message and said, “I also want to tell you that I saw the article you were featured in in Oprah’s magazine (I am a subscriber). I am so sorry that you had to go through that abuse as a child. I think you are AMAZING to tell your story. I can only imagine that through your ministry and your openness, you are a huge help and a wonderful role model for other men/women who had similar experiences.” It was NEVER my intention to become a role model. It was my intention only to survive. And for me, in the surviving, it became impossible and unrealistic not to speak out. Thank you Jill. I cannot say for certain that I am a role model, but I can say that I will never be quiet about abuse.
One of the comments on the original post was from Lynn Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story. She asked me if I had a copy of the article and I said I’d send her one. Reviewing the article last week, I had no memory of whether or not I had actually sent it to her. She posted the link, and that made me think a reflection on it from me might be in order.
When I think about it, the me of 2006 is almost unrecognizable to the me of today. She is still a part of me and has helped me grow and keep on going. Everywhere she looked was pain. Every book she read was read through a veil of brokenness. Every breath she took was drawn through the brokenness and she had a wail that, at least in her own head, sounded like a banshee.
But she was shedding the tears she needed to move on. She was sharing her story with people who were willing to hear it. She was finding her voice and stretching her wings.
It has been almost seven years since that life-changing time. I have not told my story in public for a while, but it is my guess tears will still come to my eyes. And that is ok. It doesn’t hurt as much anymore to tell, but it is still an overwhelming wound and the scar is still tender. But my heart is no longer broken.
When I did the interview for the article, I doubted whether my story fit what the author was trying to find. In many ways, it felt like I was stepping out on a ledge and it was unknown to me at the time whether I had enough support to stand. But I had nothing to lose. And could not back down. That would have been the ultimate betrayal. The other times, it was other people who had betrayed me. That time, it would have been me.
I do not remember the exact words I used in the article. I could re-read it, but I don’t feel an overwhelming need to do that. What I said was enough. It was enough to lose my tongue and my wings.