while gallivanting around on my facebook page, i found a shared alert of a sex offender moving into a local city. i see many alerts passed around on facebook about sex offenders- all trying to do their best to locate, capture, and protect other individuals from the perpetrators dangerous behavior. like always, i clicked onto the comments section to see what others were saying about this individual. it’s not like i was expecting really awesome and polite comments of people praying for this individual to be healed from his devious ways, but i wasn’t expecting to feel the way i did.
a close family member of the person who participated in my sexual abuse as a little girl made a comment, reflecting their “fear” of this individual moving into a local neighborhood. immediately the anger set in. i could feel it pulsating throughout my entire body. i began to remember the denial all over again. the refusal to believe that what i said happened, really did happen. i remembered the look in their face as i told the story, as i talked about the affects that experience has had on my life up until that point.
i remember the look of pity that this individual gave me. it wasn’t the type of pity that told me they believed my experience, but rather the type of pity you give someone who is over reacting to a situation. the type of pity you give to someone who truly believes something terrible has happened yet in realty, nothing terrible has.
this individual made me feel like a liar, like my reality wasn’t true, and i have spent the last 25 years carrying around the weight of those who never believed me. the doubt i received as a child has permeated my story to this day. still vocalizing my experience is one of the hardest things, as words of doubt string together to choke me from talking.
really? did that really happen just the way you say it did? are you sure it was this person, and not this other person? how do you know? tell me again what happened? oh, you don’t have a clear picture in your mind? so is it possible you just imagining something like this happened to you?
as i write out those questions, i see all the faces from my past who have asked me those questions. i see every person that has helped create the feeling of worthless i felt as a young child, and still battle with today, and it infuriates me.
as i sat and stewed over the comment of this individual, i began to feel small, and unheard. i began to feel as if i wasn’t a “worthy” victim. that perhaps if i had been more convincing they would have believed me, enough to take me in their arms and tell me, “it’s okay. that shouldn’t have happened to you. you’re okay.” i told my husband how hypocritical i felt this person was being, that while i was glad they were finally standing up for a victim in place of a perpetrator, but man, that took a long time.
i battled the fleshy desire to post a nasty comment or send this person a message. i sat and wondered if there even was an appropriate way to handle my emotions in that moment. what was the mature thing to do? what was the godly thing to do?
later that night i called my mother, who annoyingly told me that i needed to let it go. i needed to not let it get to me, because every time i let something that family did get to me, i was letting him win. i hated what she was saying, i knew there was truth to what she was saying, but i couldn’t help feeling shut out and silenced. as if feeling any emotion was a failure on my part.
i remembered the revelation of compassion that God calls me to have on all people, but i wondered, where is the compassion for me, Lord?
during my deliverance sessions, i’ve learned the enemy (devil) attacks us in 3 specific ways. he attacks our value (worth), our identity, and our purpose. it’s clear to me that he has attacked my worth since i was born…
for me, i never felt validated, i never felt that my words had any value to the people i was talking to. i struggle to this day to feel heard and to be validated. i struggle because i hear the words from past people in my life who called my feelings dramatic, overblown, ridiculous, immature, and pathetic. i quickly learned that expressing any hurt, with certain people in my life, would only lead to more hurt as they denied my right to feel that way. i walked away with the belief that if only i were stronger, i wouldn’t be bothered by their apparent lack of respect and social skills for another human.
i learned with some people that there was no happy medium. there was no opportunity for growth and acceptance, but rather a consistent expectation that no matter what i said, i was wrong and over blowing the situation. they would always tie it back to my past. to the times i did over react. i became trapped in other peoples ideas of who i was. i felt powerless. i felt like a victim.
i hate the word survivor when it is used in relation to sexual violence. i know many people love this word. many people feel empowered by it, but i don’t. something about the use of this word upsets me. it creates an image in my mind that i just can’t sit with. an image that just doesn’t compute the actual experience i went through.
you see, for me, i don’t believe i survived. i believe that little girl died when the abuse happened. i believe she disappeared. i believe the innocence was taken. and while i believe that God has the ability to give me back innocence, i don’t think that makes me a survivor. i believe that makes me redeemed. i believe that makes me victorious.
for some, you may think i am just being picky with my words, but i believe our words have power. i believe the word survivor fits with people who have survived car crashes, cancer, and other haphazard accidents. i think people who have to overcome cancer or the above experiences have to truly fight to survive. it takes a physical strength, an emotional or spiritual willpower to tell your body to live when you’re body is trying to kill you.
i just believe that i can’t get that little girl back. she had to grow up. i lost a huge part of my childhood and so for me, i don’t believe i have survived, because i am not that little girl.
here’s the difficult part.
i believe that because she died, i need to honor her. part of honoring her is letting her go. part of honoring her is choosing to live a life that she would have been happy to live. a life of choosing laughter over tears whenever possible. choosing to honor her by finding those moments in life to be a silly, little girl. i have to honor her by enjoying my marriage to its fullest possibilities and creating a life she would have loved to have.
i honor and validate her by taking care of myself, which has never been easy for me.
if i start treating my body nice, then i am saying i have worth. if i choose to take the vitamins i need to function normally, if i eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, if i drink 8 glasses of water daily, if i exercise 20 minutes a day, if i laugh, if i have sex (which according to doctor oz having sex once a day increases your life expectancy), then i am showing the world and all those who made me feel worthless that i am actually worthwhile!
if i do all that, then i am denying the destiny the enemy wants for me (which is destruction) and accepting the destiny the Lord has for me.
His destiny begins with me living a life where i constantly recognize my worth. a life where i recognize that my worth isn’t based on my family, on my job, on how much money i make, but of what He is willing to do for me. His destiny begins with me living outside of the victim mentality and choosing to see myself as the daughter of a king who has already defeated my enemy.
so while the anger towards that person settles and the desire inside me to honor that little girl grows, i know i have to let it go. because if i keep holding on to anger, the enemy will always have his hands around my destiny. i don’t need to be enraged to be validated. i don’t need to fight to be seen. i don’t need to scream to be heard.
i am heard. i am validated. i am seen. i am destined.
i. am. worthy.