Monthly Archives: January 2011

Two years ago today

It’s the second anniversary of Voice Found.  My original intent with this blog was to provide my friends with some insight into my healing journey and my wild idea for a not for profit.  It felt so impossible to even begin and this blog was one step in making my dream real.

In my mind and on a wonderful page in a journal I keep, the vision of Voice Found has been sketched.  It is so very real to me.  I can picture myself in the house where the main office will be.  Every detail of that place is so clear…the way it smells, sounds, FEELS.  It is a vision so clear that I know for certain it will come to fruition.  It WILL happen.

There have been moments and sometimes months where I doubted I could do this.  At times it was fear of how I might appear to others if I did not have all the answers of the HOW.  Other times it was the reality of my personal and financial situation.  Unemployed, a marriage ending, struggling at times with my recovery.  What on earth made me think that I could make this GIGANTIC dream come true?  People like to remind you of negatives – charitable giving is down, funding and grants are nearly impossible to receive, you’re going through to much and can’t manage this too.  I’ll admit that a few times I let those negatives take over and for a while I seriously considered abandoning the whole thing.  Another ‘dream’ squashed.

Here I am two years into this and I have learned some really important things:

  • I do not need to know the HOW.
  • Steps backward and steps forward are all valuable. It may not be obvious at the time, but in time you look back and see that even the falls backward are to be embraced.
  • It’s okay to take a break and take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you will not reach the pinnacle.
  • Every single action and thought towards making this dream come true needs to be one of love.  It is only by intentionally loving it that I will create a loving place with loving and healing energy.  There is no room for negative energy in this place.
  • Keep an open mind and an open heart.  This can be difficult when people hurt you, and yes, some people DID hurt me badly in this venture.  I can not let that close me off from others.
  • I have amazing people in my life.  Friends and strangers alike who have supported me in so many ways.  Even when it appears nothing is happening, they still believe in me.  The best of friends who just ‘know’ when I need a reminder of how worthy I am and more importantly, how important this cause is.

So where is Voice Found at right now?  Well we have a founding board of directors, paperwork has been filed for us to be incorporated, charitable status papers filed, a couple of workshops delivered and some funds for materials has been raised.  This blog gets some hits.  Stories and comments that others have shared have inspired and fueled me at times when I thought my words were not reaching anyone.  We are helping people.  Facebook and Twitter efforts are raising awareness of the issue of childhood sexual abuse and the lasting impact it leaves on individuals and communities.   What’s next?  I think I’ll leave that as a surprise at the moment.  Board meets next week and we will decide together.  We are a team now:)  I don’t have to go it alone anymore.

Happy two year anniversary to Voice Found!

About Voice Found:

Voice Found is a community of people speaking out to PREVENT Childhood Sexual Abuse and help heal, support and empower adult survivors.

Mission:  To reduce the socio-economic impact of childhood sexual abuse on individuals and communities.
We will accomplish this through:
• Empowering individuals to recognize, react and respond appropriately to childhood sexual abuse through the award winning ‘Stewards of Children’ program..
• Identifying and providing resources to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
• Providing programs for survivors and those in their circle of care

You can ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook – page here: http://www.facebook.com/VoiceFound

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Anger

I am posting this because I think it is important for people to know that no matter how together someone may look, no matter how much therapy, support and wonderful people in a survivor’s life, there are still moments when ugly things come back.   There are still moments when self hate threatens to take over.  Moments when sadness is overwhelming.  Moments when fear creeps in.  Moments when it is simply not possible to feel light and free…to laugh and feel pleasure.   And for me…there are moments when anger is at the root of what I’ve tried to bury.

The past few days I have been feeling something and was unable to put my finger on it.  A sadness combined with feelings of restlessness.  Oh how I have wanted to escape from myself. Burying the feelings with food and work.  Rationalizing. Beating myself up for even having a ‘negative’ emotion. (for the record – F**K the concept of ‘negative’ emotions…whatever you feel is an emotion. period.  no label. no right or wrong.  it just is.) Finally I let myself go.  Finally I allowed myself to name what I am feeling.  Finally I allowed the emotion of anger.  Damn right I’m angry.  I have every reason to be angry.   For starters, that bastard took my childhood from me.  He set me up for a life of self abuse, self hate, self doubt.  If I knew where he was I would laugh in his face and stomp on his feet while telling him I WON over his pathetic attempts at stealing my life from me.    Anger.  I feel it, felt it and now am going to let it go.

Sobs bursting forth

Propelled by the force

Of my anger

My pain

My disbelief that such a thing

Such evil

can exist within

such beauty

A life of isolation

I’m really fortunate.  For whatever reason, I have had the fortitude to face the pain of my past abuse and do the really hard work necessary to create a new life.  I will not gloss it over.  I will not make light of it.  I will not ever fault anyone for not moving forward.  It is the hardest work I have ever done in my life.  I had some great support and the means to afford some of the required therapy.  Many do not.  I am so grateful to be well on my way to that place beyond survivor to that of thriver.

About 7 years ago the situation was very different.  For the majority of my life I lived a life of extremes.  My treatment of self so completely opposite my treatment of others.  Self was destroyed at every opportunity.  Self-hatred piled on high.  Self- mutilation in physical and psychological ways that leave me wondering how I am still alive.   To the world I was caring, warm,  self- confident, generous and a ‘delight’. (a word used often on my report cards)  The shame, the guilt, the burden of secrecy I carried almost killed me many times over.  I lived in fear of being ‘found out’.  Afraid that if anyone knew what I was really like that they would soon be gone.  I lived a life in full view of others but in complete isolation.

My heart breaks when I think of how many people have not been able to break out of this cycle.  Given that 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 6 boys under the age of 18 are sexually abused – that means a lot of half-lived lives.  We need to stop this from happening.  We need to help survivors.

Take 22 minutes and watch this video You will hear survivors of childhood sexual abuse tell their stories.  You will leave having ‘met’ some heros of mine.  You will leave wanting to do all you can to help support survivors and to prevent another child from being abused.

 

Reality can be better than the ‘what if’s’

When I allow myself to stop the conflicting noise and voices that tend to chatter away in my head, I get to a place where something stands out.  When I listen to that ‘something’ it is usually a valuable gift.  A lesson that I need to pay attention too.  Sometimes I wish the damn ‘somethings’ would hit me hard on the head over and over again till I ‘get it’ but then I guess that would defeat the whole purpose.  One must travel along the path.  Anyway,  that ‘something’ that’s been at me lately is seeing and accepting reality.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I would focus on the ‘if only’s and what if’s’.  It was a way for me to buffer the reality of what was happening to me at the time.  Through the years, this thinking was continued when my father moved far away basically abandoning me and as I endured abuse in all its forms from a number men in my life.  I had to create these alternate possibilities that were more appealing to me than the situation I was in at the time.   It was another way of coping.

Today I can no longer work with that.  I simply MUST accept things exactly as they are even when they are not what I want.  This does not mean that I have to give up on the occasional flight of fancy.  One should always have daydreams and hope.  It does not mean that there are some things that I can not change.  What it means is that I need to remember that reality is there.  Reality is a TRUE and meaningful experience.   And you can create a reality that is magnificent.

The serenity prayer comes to mind.  Say and repeat as required.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

I’ll win.

This blog post is a page from my personal journal.  Every so often I share these writings…my voice as a survivor.

Nov. 2008

Despite years of healing and therapy, friends and support, I still have some evil to exorcise.  There is still an ugliness and shame that is buried very deep inside and it tries hard to extinguish the joy and self-love that has been starting to shine so brightly in me.   At times it is as if every part of me is screaming to succumb to that dark place again.  How easy it would be to simply stay a victim and go through life in a semi-comatose state of disconnection. There is this struggle of good and evil.  Of light and dark.

I am angry that I lived too many years as a victim and that I have to work so hard to remove that ‘victim’ stance and way of thinking.  It angers and frustrates me to have to struggle at times to enjoy what is my right as a human being. Joy, abundance, love, peace of mind, feelings of security.  I want to have these things that have been so elusive in my life.  Half-lived or felt or completely missing.

What if I write the words again now with new eyes?  What if I write them from a place of power and strength?   Joy.   Abundance.  Love.  Peace of  Mind.  Feelings of Security. Maybe the  ONLY thing that keeps me from these things  is myself.    Daily, I need to remind myself that I am deserving of love.  That I am enough.  That I am worthy.  That I deserve to feel joy.  That what I need is there – it is mine for the taking.  Screw the voices that try to tell me otherwise.  Ha!  They are old, negative voices.  I’ll do battle with that evil and pain and I will win.

New Beginnings

A new year.  A new decade.  A clean slate.  A fresh new page.  However you want to look at it, this is the time of year when most stop and reflect on the past year and make lists of what they want in the new year. Ambitious resolutions are plentiful.  A month or two into the year, many people realize they just aren’t going to be able to DO all the things they said or thought they would.

Here’s what I suggest and what I will be doing.  Each day I will begin anew.  I may even break it into half days, hours and sometimes even moments.  What will I DO in that time?  I’ll do my best given the situation at that time.  I’ll live as a survivor and not a victim.  I’ll thrive.  I’ll love myself.  I’ll do my very best to leave the past in the past.  I will do this knowing that I am human and that I do not have to wait till the new year to start anew.  I can do it at any time I feel I need to wipe the slate clean. ANY TIME I want a new beginning, I can have it.

Be gentle with yourself.  Accept that there are going to be some rough patches but that’s ok.  If you ate an extra cookie because you were feeling lonely – well so be it.  Choose not to eat another in the next moment.  If you stayed in rather than going out with friends because you were feeling fearful – that’s ok.  You can try again another time.  Engaged in unhealthy behaviour because you were triggered?  It sucks…and you feel bad enough about it so rather than berating yourself – just let it go.  It’s done.  Choose not to do it the next day.

 

A new beginning.  Whenever YOU want it.  Not determined by a calendar.  Isn’t that freaking awesome!?