the courage to ask

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this or not. However, I have always said, “this blog is about healing, and it’s about truth; It’s about my journey going forward”.

Every entry I post is one step closer to my true self. Everyday I try and remind myself that every truth spoken, is another foothold to the next. So with that being said –

I faced a difficult question that has been pressing me for a very very long time. A question that I have been utterly afraid to ask and talk about; and know the answer to.

Saturday night my sister and I had a long talk on the phone (like I mentioned in my last blog entry yesterday). She called me at 12:30am, and just wanted to talk. I don’t know if that was Gods work, or if it was meant to be or not, but for some reason it landed in place as being the right moment.

My walls are down, I am not protecting anymore, I have shed the shame, and I am more and more open for truth. I know and feel that things are so different for me in my healing.

Me knowing that and feeling like I am at a new level – I felt I was ready to ask my sister the question I have been wondering about for a long long time.

The question I asked her was – “Danielle, Were you ever sexually abused or physically abused like I was?, did they hurt you too?”

I sat there with my heart in my throat, my face was flushed, and my heart was pounding through my chest! She said “NO, I was never abused like you were, I was never sexually abused either”.

I had this big sigh of relief and a big breath and tears came to my eyes, but at the same time this anger came over me inside. I wasn’t angry with her, I was just angry and confused, and anger is not something I honor at all, so its confusing for me when I feel anger! So I will swallow it, no matter how I feel.

I have always said that my sister was never abused, and I always had this notion in the back of my mind that somewhere, somehow she was beaten like me; it couldn’t have just been me?! I think I tried to convince myself of that, but there was a part of me that had a feeling that she wasn’t. I just needed to hear the truth after all these years.

We talked more, and she started to open up about the things she saw happen to me. She witnessed a lot of the abuse done to me. The belts across the legs, the head being smashed into the counter 3 times, the nights where my father would drag me out of bed by my feet and getting the belt over and over and over. Danielle had seen a lot of things happen to me in that house, and I can’t imagine what that was like for her to hold.

I feel as if my sister and I broke the silence we had with each other about what happened in this family. I think the both of us were afraid to talk to each other about what we knew and what we were afraid to know. She was afraid to talk about what she saw, and I was afraid to ask her the question; I was afraid of the answer.

On my way to church Sunday morning, I was trying to keep in mind the text that my therapist sent me Sunday morning – “rest in the weakness”, “gathering strength to move forward”.

No matter how supported and connected I felt – out of nowhere I started SOBBING on my way to church. It hit me out of no where and the words that came out in the car  – “Why? Why was I the only one?” I dont understand why I was the only one!

I was crying so hard I couldn’t even see the road in front of me. My heart was broken, I was so sad that a little girl was beaten and sexually abused, but my sister was cared for.

You can imagine what was going through my head. I felt my heart was broken. I have never felt sadness like that before. It was a TRUE TRUE sadness of reality. 4 people in the house abused me, but my sister was unscathed?!!

During Mass I felt so horrible that I almost walked out. I couldn’t sit there and honor this – but I did, I sat with it and honred it and finished the mass, because if I had left, that would be like “them winning” all over again.

Everything that my sister and I talked about Saturday night was all hitting me at once. It was almost as if the Novocain wore off, and I was feeling everything! “The big question was finally asked”. “The truth is finally known”.

After church, I emailed my therapist and checked in like we do. I explained to him how I asked my sister that very hard question, and I was open about my feelings, told him how much it hurt!

I was told that this took a TON of courage to ask her. The fact that I asked her showed that I was ready to hear the answer. The fact that I asked the question showed that I am stronger, and that I was finally ready to hear the truth. I was ready to honor the feelings about that unknown truth. The best part? I stayed connected through this.

I sit here this morning and I realize it did take a lot of courage. It hurts like hell. But I know that it’s healing, and I know it’s growth, and I know that by asking her, I was opening up another wound to heal.

I don’t understand the question – why me?. I don’t understand why my sister was unscathed, and I was tormented and abused. I don’t understand why I have 42 scars on my body, and she has none. I don’t have the answers, but the only answer that I do have is – IT WAS NOT MY FAULT! The power that I do have is knowing that it was 4 people against one, and it was never my fault.

I love my sister so much, I love her so so much! I am so glad that she never had to endure what I did. I am so glad that she doesn’t suffer today in healing like I have to. I am so happy inside that her answer was “no”.

I cried a lot yesterday. I had tears through the day. I have tears right now writing this – and I will probably have tears about it until the sting goes away, but I am glad after all these years that I was finally ready to hear the truth.

I am ready to face the feelings I have inside about this; so this too can be another wound healed.

I may have been the only one in the house who was abused then, but today, I am the only one in the house who is healing and who is healthy!

(THE PHOTO ABOVE ON THE LEFT IS A PHOTO OF ME AND MY SISTER DANIELLE)

I was 9 and she was 4

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resting in weakness . . .

Today was a day of awe-ness; a day where the hard work of 2 people, sat together and affirmed goodness, to the point of small tears.

Today, in session, I read to my therapist the blog page I wrote last night  – “My Story . My Journey”.

He was one of the many people who liked the idea of me writing a small story about who I am for my blog audience to read. To read about the person behind the healing.

I read it to him, and I didn’t expect to be choked up and tearful as I was reading this. It wasn’t about a particular experience, or a certain part of the abuse, but it was  about “my story”. I was taken back reading it from the outside, not the inside.

Reading it outloud in the room was emotional, and I had a hard time getting through some of it. I was actually surprised – because I always try to be strong when I know it’s a part of the work. But lately the tears have been harder to hold back.

I was also very tearful when I got to the part about being thankful for him, and his reaction was the same. It was about 2 people in the hard work that we do – to affirm my story, and his role in helping me find my path towards me.

I will be straight out and honest – I am the type of person that has to give gratitude to where it belongs. It brings me joy to tell someone how much I appreciate them. It brings me JOY to help the church out because they did so much for me. it brings me JOY to tell my dear Friend Tracy how much I love her support, it brings me JOY to tell my family how much I appreciate them.

I am all about gratitude, and I have always said “gratitude for me is healing“.

Given the life that I have had, I didn’t have many things to be grateful for, and today I choose not to be silenced in my gratitude.

Being with that today, it gave me another foothold. It helped me to be open about how HARD it was this week opening that wound up about my dad Tuesday in the timeline, and then closing it back up.

I am a fighter! I had to be a fighter! I HAD NO CHOICE! I am always working hard in this healing process. When I stepped towards it 5 years ago, I was not going to fool around and sit in it! I was going to stand and HEAL and find a way to get through it.

I am constantly finding ways to make that one step even better towards me. I am always writing, connecting, having ideas on how to move from one thing to another.

I work also outside therapy, by writing emails and reflecting my work. I am always trying to be strong – to move through the process – not giving myself enough room to be weak in the moments where weakness is needed.

Today I admitted that I am “not feeling strong”. I admitted that sometimes I am tired of being strong. I am afraid to not be strong and break down, because I am afraid it will set me back – so I keep going and going – I am afraid to stop sometimes.

In this moment of gratitude today, I was reminded “You don’t always have to be strong“.  I was also told that I should write about the parts that are hard in my blog, or that I should write about the part where I was up all night last night and craved a pain pill because talking about my father when opening that wound Tuesday hurt me”.

He reminded me “it’s OK to tell me your hurting, and that you don’t feel so strong today“. and said “it’s OK to crave something that made you feel good once, because you need a break from being strong”.

Right there, in those VERY words being spoken, is the reasons I am blessed and thankful for Andy’s wisdom and support.

I realized today that I don’t have to be strong all the time. I don’t have to be doing it right all the time. I can be weak, and strong at the same time – “both, and“.

So this weekend, I rest in weakness. I rest knowing that it’s OK that I am hurting and I am feeling a little down. Opening that wound about my father in the timeline Tuesday was painful, and I realize that just because it’s painful and hurts, doesn’t mean I didn’t close the wound. It means I am allowing myself to feel weak, and hurt, and I need extra support.

So with that being said, I am having a little bit of a tough time this week. My sleep has been horrible because I keep waking up crying in my sleep from that memory  – and it’s OK. I will have tough days, and I will have good strong days, but right now, I am resting in weakness knowing that it’s OK  and I am supported and loved by everyone around me.

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