People tell me I am a survivor, but I don’t feel like a survivor.
I was 11 years old the day he first started to take my innocence. It was the day before my 12th birthday when he said it was our secret and I was his special princess. Am I a survivor because he took my innocence that day he first touched me? I didn’t know it was wrong.
I have never felt as insignificant as I did on the day I plucked up the courage to tell my teacher and my mother what he was doing to me a year after he started. I was intimidated and discouraged when my mother said she did not believe me. Am I a survivor because I coped when my own mother betrayed me and I was sent back to that house? I had no choice but to go back.
I will never forget the day my innocence was taken completely. It hurt when, as a little girl, he made me a woman. The memory of that day will always be with me. The pain I felt, the bleeding I endured and having to take care of myself because I knew my mother would not believe me. Am I a survivor because I coped when my stepfather took my virginity when I was just 13 years old? What else would I have done?
I felt so alone and defeated the day I first took a knife to my wrist when I was 14 years old. My scars, old and new, will never fade completely and I will always be reminded of how broken I was and how broken I still am. Am I a survivor because I cut myself to cope with what he was doing to me and still cut now to stop myself burdening others with my thoughts? Self-Harm doesn’t make me a survivor does it?
I have a marriage, a house, a career. Am I a survivor because I have a life in spite of the abuse? I used this life to hide away from the effects of the abuse.
I see a private therapist every week to help me learn to live with what happened to me. Am I a survivor because I decided I had to face what he did to me? I am struggling to cope since starting therapy.
I live with Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. Am I a survivor because I battle my mental health to survive every single day? Some days I don’t even leave my house.
Does all this make me a survivor?
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I have been hurt and challenged. I have been beaten and discouraged. I have been scared of, intimidated and betrayed by those who were meant to protect me.
I do not know if any of this makes me a survivor because I struggle every single day with facing what they have all done to me. I blamed myself for years and have only just started to realise that I was, I am, a victim of abuse. I do not see myself as a survivor, not yet, because I am still struggling.
However I do know that I am not defeated just yet. I am still here. So far I suppose I have survived what they did to me. I don’t know how but I guess that maybe I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for, but I still struggle. I still have days when I just want to disappear.
Courage isn’t having strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have strength.
I am emotionally and physically exhausted but every day I get up and fight. Some days I win the fight and some days I lose. However I know that one day the scars on my wrists and in my heart will be proof of the battles I have overcome.
Trauma cannot be pushed down and forgotten. The bruises and scars may fade but the pain lasts forever. It will get easier to bear in time but it will always be there, an emotional scar. I have been hurt too much to forget.
I have been coping alone with the abuse for twenty years. I guess I must have had a sense of inner strength from somewhere, I just couldn’t see it. I realise now that you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
My journey so far hasn’t been easy. I fight a war every day. I feel like giving up at least once a day, but I keep going. It is just what I do.
I don’t really know if I am a survivor but I am still standing. That’s enough for now.
Thanks for reading.