This week, my mind has been focused a lot on forgiving myself. I know that most people say, you have nothing to be sorry for. You did not know any better. You did what you had to do to survive.
And while those things may be true, I’ve always been angry at myself for not fighting back. Or not telling the right person, etc.
It’s hard for me to remember that fighting back may not have been an option at the time. I was small and they were big people. I was young and they were older. I was intimidated and they were perpetrators.
Even as a twelve year old, I thought abuse was something every child went thru. I thought every child suffered some type of sexual abuse by somebody. I thought it was part of meeting an adult’s demands.
Most of the time that the abuse was happening, I was in a frozen state. Be still, be quiet, don’t think, don’t speak, don’t look and don’t tell. I always remembered what I wasn’t supposed to do. Those things had big consequences. So I knew not to do them.
During my teenage years, I did tell different teachers or friends, but no one knew what to do with the information. I think partially because I minimized it to those people. I told it as if it was happening, but not a big deal. And in those days, it was not mandatory to report abuse. And after telling the few people I told and no one did anything, I was more than sure I was making a big deal of nothing.
And then there is the whole being born thing. I thought for sure my birth was a mistake. I thought for sure that God had placed me with the wrong family. I thought for sure the world did not need to have this person here. Even this past year, as I was thinking of suicide, I wondered why I hadn’t done this or that differently.
I guess part of forgiving myself is going to be accepting that I was limited in my options. I have to accept that I did the best I could.
Why is it so easy for me to forgive others, but I can never forgive myself? Even God has forgiven me. But I still keep picking back up the blame and carrying it around with me.
The abuse is like a heavy suitcase. I keep dragging it around with me. I keep hoping to open it up and get the memories out of it, but I just keep moving. I keep traveling around my life with this baggage that is so exhausting.
I’m ready to unpack, but it’s hard to even open the lock. I want to get the memories out and throw the suitcase in the big sea of forgetfulness.
I have peeked in the bag a few times over the past few weeks, and it seems almost easier to keep dragging it. The memories are large and scary. The memories are alive and vivid. The memories seem to jump out at me when I least expect it.
So for now I just keep dragging my suitcase along. Maybe, with help, I can unpack and finally be at home.
MJ, please tell her it wasn’t her fault. Please tell her she did the best she could do. Please tell her that it’s time to unpack and start to live.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.