Sometimes we cannot choose the path we walk. Sometimes our path is given to us by someone else. Sometimes it is not the path we thought we would end up on and sometimes we don’t like that path. However, it is how we handle this new path that defines us.
I sit with tears running down my cheeks in total shock. This is not what I expected when I walked into this work meeting with my bosses this morning.
After a year off from my job as a Store Manager, dealing with severe depression, PTSD and reporting my abuser, I have spent the past year back at work trying to prove myself.
Starting back as part time sales, and overcoming some stumbles along the way, I have eventually made it back to full time and lower management.
Dealing with not only the police case but also my mental health and a new therapist and the loss of my family, I have worked hard and pushed myself at work. I can honestly say I have been excelling, getting nothing but positive feedback. Which is why this meeting comes as a shock.
Instead of stepping back up to higher management as I expected, they have decided that they want me to stay as lower management, at least until the case is over. Lower position, lower wage.
I cannot help it, tears continue to flow. I am heartbroken.
Please understand, my employers have been nothing but amazing in supporting me through this journey so far and I will be forever grateful, but this is not what I expected.
When I went to the police and took a step back at work to deal with things, it was on the understanding that, when able, I could go back into my management role. That is what has kept me going. That is what I have worked towards.
You can understand then why this would come as a shock. There was no notice, no clue, that this would be their decision. And while I understand that they must do right by the business as well as myself, this truly sucks. I am devastated and I am angry.
Angry at them? Yes, a little. Though I understand their decision, I cannot help but feel hurt and angry. I don’t mean to.
Angry at my abuser? Yes. A whole lot. For he has already taken so much, and now this.
However mostly I am angry at myself, for I have failed. The one thing I swore that I would not let my abuser take from me is my job and yet here we are. I worked so damn hard for that job and now he has taken that too. I have failed.
My bosses tell me that they are proud of me for reporting him and for starting my journey towards justice and recovery. They tell me I have grown and matured and that I have not failed. But their words change nothing. In my own mind I have failed and I am my own worse enemy. I have failed and I am heartbroken.
Deep down I know that reporting him was the right decision. However, in this moment, I wish I had never bothered. I have lost and sacrificed so much already since doing so, that this is just too much.
Knowing I am devastated my bosses take me home and ask me not to do anything silly, for they know of my self-harm. However, coping the only way I know how, I pick up my blade.
With tears rolling down my cheeks and sobs leaving my lips , I slice the blade across my skin. I need to bleed. I need to punish myself. I have failed. I need to make this go away.
Eventually I am so exhausted from sobbing and cutting that I take my meds and go to bed, hopeful that I will be able to think a bit clearer tomorrow.
I feel like I have failed. I feel like I have been defeated. This is not the path that I had planned for myself. I am terrified.
I am afraid to travel a new path. Does it mean I am defeated? Does it mean my journey is over?
No. It doesn’t.
This is a stumble. Stumbling blocks can also be stepping stones to victory. This is a fall and what defines us the most is how well we rise after falling.
We must not be afraid to travel a new path, for it may be the way that we find what we have been looking for all along. Just because my path is now different, doesn’t mean I am lost.
This new path scares me. It gives me financial worries, for I have a mortgage and responsibilities. It gives me worries for the future, for I love my job and I am good at it.
However, it also gives me more time.
It gives me time to work on my art and my writing. It gives me time to focus on my blog. So that I can raise awareness and help others. It means I can finally spend more time on the book I have decided to write. The book I want to write so badly to help other victims and survivors feel less alone.
My new path gives me time to focus on my journey to justice and recovery. It means I can speak up and raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse. It means I can focus on my goal of becoming a voice. A voice for the children, the victims and the survivors who cannot speak for theirselves.
Just because my path has changed doesn’t mean my whole journey has to. I am passionate and I will be fearless in the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire. I will become a voice. The voice that no-one spoke for me.
My path is changing, but I have learnt that when a new path reveals itself I should follow it. So far my new path has been better than my old one.
My past has not defined me or destroyed me. It has not deterred me or defeated me. It has only strengthened me.
The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart and the one thing I know I definitely have is courage.
Sometimes the right path is not the easiest and sometimes new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
Maybe this new path is where my light begins to shine. Maybe it will lead me to a beautiful destination.
After all, so far, my path has been one of endless growth!
Thanks for reading
**Image courtesy of Google Images**