Saying the words out loud terrified me.
I thought that is all I would be known as. That it would take over my existence and make the rest of me disappear.
That may seem silly but it felt like that is all I was for a long time. That is who I made myself be for a long time.
A sexual assault survivor.
I didn’t want to be seen like that so saying out loud that I am a sexual assault survivor terrified me. BUT I didn’t know how to live without that identity.
I didn’t want to be known as a victim.
I didn’t want to lose myself even though I had already done so.
I didn’t want to have people to feel sorry for me.
I didn’t want people to question what happened.
I didn’t want those keyboard warriors telling me that I was wrong in my own story.
It took intentional choices every single day and it still does.
WHERE TO BEGIN WHEN YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH
If I had a piece of advice for someone who is currently in the darkness it would be…
Feel it. Get to know it. Start to understand this darkness that you are in because when you begin to do that, you can begin to work your way out.
I remember the days of sitting in my bed, unable to leave my apartment because I just didn’t have it in me. I didn’t want to put on a fake smile and pretend that my life was okay. My apartment was safe. No one could come in there and take away my little piece of safety.
I didn’t think I would make it out of that apartment. There were days that I didn’t want to make it out of that apartment. I also knew that I didn’t want my parents to find me and so I would lay in my bed, hoping that the pain would end without me having to do anything about it.
Instead, the darkness grew inside until I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. There was nothing left for me to fight for. I lost that apartment. I stopped paying my rent. I stopped showing up to work. I was frozen. Unable to move forward.
Those who loved me thought I was just rebelling. They knew something was wrong but I wasn’t willing to tell them and so they had to think that it was just 19 year old Samantha fighting back. I wish I would have had the guts to tell them what had happened back then.
I didn’t want them to feel the anger and the hatred that I felt.
I didn’t want them to look at me with sadness and despair.
I didn’t want them to see me as a victim.
I would rather them see me as a rebel than as broken.
There are days when I wish I would have written during this period of my life. To truly remember what was going on in my head, my heart, and my life. To remember the pain and be able to see it in words. To be able to look back at it and see how far I have come.
I gave up writing though. That was a piece of the old me and I couldn’t let her back in. I had to hide her and her pieces.
So where can you begin when you just don’t have the strength?
You take your life moment by moment.
You lay in that bed and cry until you can’t anymore.
You grab paper and write out everything that is going through your head.
You lock yourself in your house and stare out the window.
Moment by moment is the only way you can live when you are in the midst of darkness. Please, if you need to reach out to someone, reach out to me. I will be here to listen. I will always be that person for ANYONE because I didn’t have the strength or courage to do that myself. If you are thinking about suicide, please reach out to one of these numbers (Canada and the United States) The world needs you even if it doesn’t feel like it.
SHARING, HEALING, AND THE STEPS TO BEGIN
There is nothing more powerful than looking your trauma in the eye and embracing it.
There is nothing scarier than looking your trauma in the eye and embracing it.
I allowed him to take 11 more years of my life.
By not sharing what had happened, I gave h