To my brothers and sisters in pain:
I cannot say how each of you hurts individually.
Here’s what I can say: you will be okay. I don’t know when; I don’t know how, but it will happen. There will be a day when this will no longer be on the forefront of your mind.
Here are some other lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. The people you love and trust will massively disappoint you.
While this hurts in profound ways, it does not mean that all people you will love and trust in the future will disappoint you.
2. It’s important—at some point when you are ready and no sooner—to not necessarily forgive but at least understand the following.
These disappointing people in your life probably felt helpless or triggered, or didn’t want to admit that they were sometimes put into unsafe situations by other people. Trust me, once you understand that it’s not personal, it’s not your fault and they’re just humans trying the best they can, you can start moving on.
3. You need resources and you need them fast.
There are many online communities full of message boards where you can read the words of others who are going through what you’re going through that can support you while maintaining your anonymity. You are not alone. There are so many people who have been there and who can help guide you through this muddy mess.
Read articles, find a message board for you community, do a little research. Find a way to connect to others as quickly as you can.
4. Talk to a counselor.
This was a huge life saver for me. Having a non judgmental person who was paid to talk it through helped me. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life who is there for you, it might be nice to have an outside source be able to listen freely, endlessly.
5. There will be tests upon tests that will trigger you over and over again.
Learning how to deal with triggers will make each one less painful. The best thing I learned is that after each one, it took just a teeny bit less time to recover. The turnaround time got shorter and shorter. It’s still a work in progress depending on how close to the source the trigger is but I’ve heard from others that there is a day when it will just roll off your back.
6. Find an outlet.
Mine was yoga, and the teachings really helped me understand myself and those who hurt me. Find something to belong to that you can blow off steam, whether it’s a physical activity, art, music or writing.
7. Give it time.
I hate this one. That’s what it takes. One day you will wake up and realize you went a whole day without thinking about it. You’ll realize you didn’t lock your bedroom door the night before. You’ll realize you dropped your guard around a new friend and it didn’t terrify you.
You will be okay. Actually, not only will you be okay. You will shine. You will shine so bright you’ll look back and be befuddled that you thought this was going to take over you life.
8. You are beautiful spirit and no one can ever take that away from you.
Lastly, although quoting Katy Perry may be unbelievable silly, please repeat the following: “This is the part of me that you never gonna ever take away from me. Throw your sticks and stones your bombs and your blows but you’re not gonna to break my soul.”
Now, it doesn’t have to be Katy Perry—it can be any musical artist you like, I hope you find a song that reminds you how free and proud you are of your body, your soul and your life. When I heard this song, it was a reminder of how far I’ve come and unbeatable I am.
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Assistant Ed: Michelle Margaret/Ed: Bryonie Wise