My Journey to Discovering My True Self

I was recently approached about writing a story for a book of stories about perseverance. I am honored and submitting a story for this book. This will be the first time my writing is being published and has inspired me to being writing my own book as well. I want to share my story that will be published with you all. I have missed connecting with you all on my blog, but don't worry I am back and feeling inspired to write.

My Story:

     Do you ever find yourself hurting so much that you don't know what to do with yourself?  I have felt this way one too many times through out my life.  This pain gave me a longing and a craving for change.  It started for me when I was twelve years old; my very first boyfriend hit me and left bruises on me.  He was angry all of the time and I was his punching bag.  I began to starve myself to change the way I looked, and in turn gave me a false confidence.  This drastic weight loss and attitude adjustment gave me a euphoric sense of newness that I forgot about the pain.  I covered up the bruises and mustered up the courage to walk away from this angry, but very broken boy. 
     I continued my search for change to fill my empty void in my heart.  At the age of 16 I was raped twice within 5 months.  The first time it was on a Valentine's  Day lunch date.  After this I began to drink alcohol to numb and escape my emotional and physical pain.  The second time I was raped by my boyfriend and one of his friends.  I passed out at a party and they took turns having sex with me.  I was pretty broken and devastated, so I  decided to change the way I looked.  I changed my hair color, I cut my hair short, and I even changed the way I dressed.  I changed my group of friends so I didn't get too close to anyone.  I needed to change because I thought I could hide my pain, hide who I had become.  Being a victim of rape changed me and I didn't want anyone to see that broken side of me, so I molded myself into this new version of myself.  This was the only way I could feel normal or my version of what normal looked like.  I also wanted to feel safe, so I started dating mean guys who loved to party, do drugs and fight.  I thought that these guys would keep me safe, but all I did was put myself  in the company of the most unsafe people.  I endured verbal and physical abuse and so I would just drink more alcohol to get numb and to escape this black hole of insanity and chaos. 
     Even though I was broken, abused and lost I had this small glimmer of hope that my life would get better.  I knew that one day I would find someone to love me more than I loved myself.  I didn't know it then but that small voice of hope I was desperately holding onto was God.  That hope gave me the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and a promise of a brighter and better tomorrow.  At the age of 19 I thought that I found my answer, my family and I moved 3000 miles across the country to California.  This big move and much needed  change of scenery super charged me.  My opportunity for a new life and better tomorrow was finally here.  I got to flee from my past, escape the constant memory of the hurt and pain I had endured.  I put away that version of myself that I couldn't seem to drink away.  I got to be a new "me", I was the new girl that nobody knew.  I played the part of a fun-loving girl from the south who was fearless and loved life. 
     Unfortunately the move was not a cure for my broken heart and empty soul.  I did what I knew best; I drowned my pain with lots of alcohol and blinded everyone with my False Evidence that Appeared Real. They didn't know that I was a fake and that my struggle to find happiness was consuming me.  I changed who I was for every guy that I dated so the I would appear to be their "perfect" ideal girlfriend.  I thought that if I was "perfect" that I wouldn't get hurt or abused ever again.  I changed so much that I forgot who I was.  I ignored those tiny whispers of hope in my heart and drowned it out with more alcohol. 
     With a lot of partying comes clouded judgment and bad choices.  When I was 25 I was raped again on a first date.  This time I stared evil in the eyes and I will never forget the chill that ran down my spine.  This rape changed me in a different way, it left me desperate and hurt.  My lifestyle of chaos and carelessness had left me vulnerable and unsafe. This rape broke me but it led me to turn to that tiny glimmer of hope that I had been ignoring.  I held on to that hope with all of my heart and soul, this hope was a lifeline to a different kind of change. 
     I began searching for my true self, my true identity that was buried deep beneath all of the pain, isolation and chaos.  God stepped into my life and reintroduced himself to me in my late twenties.  In the midst of my hazy wandering, God brought me an angel.  This angel was in the form of a handsome man with piercing green eyes and a voice that could melt your heart with just a simple, "Hello".  God used him to show me a new way of living life, a life filled with true love.  I am not just referring to meeting the love of my life but the true unconditional love of my heavenly Father.  Steve and God began leading me hand and hand on a healing journey to find my true self.
     First I had to tell my family what had happened to me when I was a teenager.  They never knew I kept all of the abuse a secret from them.  To my surprise they didn't judge me but embraced and loved me.  After I finally told them I felt a little lighter, my secret lost it's power over me.  My next step was to trust in God that He had me in the palm of his hand.  God promised to catch me when I would fall, He would pick me back up and help me along this journey.  I was blessed that God gave me a loving man to stand by my side to encourage me, and to love me when I couldn't love myself.  The next step to discovering my true self was to "Let Go".  I had to let go of control, let go of this image of who I thought I was.  I had to break down the wall I kept myself surrounded by and let God in.  I had to strip off lies clothing and see the raw, naked truth.  There it was on the floor; my hat of shame, my boots of regret, my pants of self loathing, and that shirt that carried the big, bright, bold letters "HOPELESS VICTIM".   With letting go of all of that came true surrender, I stared back at the truth and begin to let it in.  God's truth of who I am is a strong, confident, courageous woman who is worthy of love, and I AM A SURVIVOR.   When I finally surrendered all of pain, brokenness and despair the healing began.  During my healing journey my relationship with Steve grew stronger, we got married and had a beautiful wedding. 
     My healing journey hasn't ended, and there are obstacles still to overcome but everyday God reveals more of my true identity to me.  If you were to ask me today, "Who are you?"  I would tell you that I am a survivor, a confident woman who knows God, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend.  I am a person who craves growth instead of craving change.  I am a daughter of a heavenly Father who offered me a new life, a life filled with unconditional love, healing, and hope for a beautiful future.

Comments

  1. I'm so sorry this happened to you. Your story is so raw, and so powerful. Choosing to speak from such a vulnerable place is a trait carried only by the strong.

    My favorite part of this is the voice from which you write; as a wife, daughter, sister and a friend. A woman, and not just a person who has been through trauma.

    Thank you for sharing, it is amazing to use your experiences as a platform to help others.

    -Meighan

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