After experiencing so much liberation in such a short time, I must admit I was a little winded. I had put so much energy into getting to the point of healing, I didn’t quite know how to react. I still stop and think about all this and wonder is this real? Did I do all those things? Am I still really doing and saying all these things? Then I look around and realize that I am doing them and saying them.
There are so many songs, poems, books, people, and experiences that inspire me to keep going. Even when I seem to be stagnant on the outside, I find myself doing things to support other survivors and cheer them on. I have come to realize that there isn’t a prize at the end of this game called life that we get for doing it by ourselves. Sometimes I need people to lean on and that is perfectly normal. Although getting to that place of trust is sometimes very difficult. I used to trust freely and openly. Then I was abused and taken advantage of by so many people who should have helped me out. That made trusting super hard.
One survivor who has always been with me is Maya Angelou. I don’t even remember when I read her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” (This link takes you to the poem.) I don’t think I knew she was a survivor when I read the book, but she was raped when she was young and she didn’t speak for years. Not just about the abuse. She didn’t speak at all. Then she lived her life and got to a place of strength where she wrote books and poems and was able to speak again.
I never stopped speaking in general, but the abuse was so painful that I couldn’t speak freely about it at all. I kept trying, in small, pain-constricted ways. It seemed no one wanted to hear about it anyway. It felt like people were saying, “Aren’t you over that yet? I’m so tired of hearing about it. Can’t you just get through it?” I couldn’t though. Even today, twenty some years after the abuse is over, there are still a few tender spots that are healing. It isn’t something that will ever just go away.
Another one of Maya Angelou‘s poems that has always resonated with me is “Still I Rise.” It lifts me up, even when I’m not feeling like being lifted. The sensuality of it used to make me squirm a little, but I’ve gotten to the point of understanding that it is just another part of life. If I can’t be a little sensual and a little open about a real part of me, what is the point of healing and going through all this?
Please do not misunderstand. There is no real point in being abused. It isn’t about what I’ve learned and the person I’ve become because of it. It was a horrible thing that happened to me and I had to learn to deal with it. I do not believe that God had some dealing in this happening to teach me a lesson. In my opinion, that would be a pretty horrible thing for God to allow to happen just to learn a lesson.
Healing has allowed me to become more in touch with my whole self. I still make decisions that may not be the best, but they are the best I can make at the time. I’m making much healthier decisions because I am healing. I’ve decided not to be held down by pain.
Pain is like water. The weight of it can hold a person down. It can actually suck them down. But water also chips away at mountains. It cuts deep through stone, causing rock to change from a solid surface into a stream filled with new life. The Rio Grande is a perfect example. Thousands of years of water wearing away at solid rock created a beautiful river teeming with life.
As a survivor, I’m the same way. Pain held me down. I couldn’t rise. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t function. But it penetrated the depths of my soul and taught me a new way to rise. None of it was a good experience, but it happened. Now I have taken the pain that held me down and learned to float. I’ve learned that still I can rise.