The year after the abuse was told to my family, was probably one of the most difficult times of my life. Even worse than the abuse itself, was surviving the family hatred and being blamed for another person’s behavior.
I was 16 and just turning 17. Going into my last year of high school and my parents were moving away to avoid the family drama. My mom told me that she had to move because she couldn’t handle dealing with “my problems”.
My parents did move to Tennessee. Leaving me to live with my older brother and sister in law. They were both doing lots of drug and alcohol and really didn’t care if I ever came home at night. Also, financially, I was struggling to stay afloat. I became a self-supporting adult overnight. Although I had a roof over my head, I didn’t have money for my basic needs.
What I did next, was a desperate attempt at survival. I made many male friends and none of them were my age. I could always find a man who was willing to help me financially meet my needs, but there was always a pay-off.
I have always carried this guilt. I have always questioned, why after being abused did I even want to be with another man? Why did I continue to allow people to mistreat me? How can God forgive me after a life of shame?
Shame is a common theme in my life. Starting at the age of 5. I think most children at 5 do not know what it means to be ashamed. At the age of 5, most children are trying to learn how to share toys and obey their moms and dads, etc.
When you have shame, you can’t look in the mirror. You can’t like your own pictures. You can’t love who you are. You can’t let others love you.
Even today, I struggle with the mirror. I typically look past myself and just look at my hair, etc. Ms. A had me write a list of positive labels for myself and put them on my mirror. My goal was to say them out loud while looking at myself in the mirror. That has not happened. I look at the paper and whisper them to myself. But even saying them out loud is a challenge. As soon as I look up and look at myself in the mirror, I am done. I have to walk away.
Shame is a powerful thing. Shame has caused me to never believe in myself. Shame has caused me to hold back progress. Shame has caused me to have difficulty believing that I am loved. Shame has caused me to deny promotions in my career. Shame has caused me to never want to be in a group picture. Much less pictures of only myself. Shame has enveloped my life.
I am now working on believing in myself. Believing my own thoughts. Believing in my abilities. Believing in my heart. And most of all believing that God had a plan in all of this shame.
I am a long way from loving myself and shame plays a huge role in my life. I have to start believing that I am forgiven and that I did the best I could during those days.
Shame on me for allowing shame to control me. It’s time to stop.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.