My own narrative

Trigger warning

A few days ago a friend of my husband mentioned an author that talked about vulnerability and courage and shame. She has a show on netflix now called The Call to Courage. It stirred up so many thoughts in me that have not stopped for days.

When my husband’s friend mentioned the word shame I was very quick to say that I had never felt it. Upon great reflection I think during Yom Kippur I have realized that I felt shame on many levels. Mostly I felt shame as a young girl which is why the truth could not escape from my lips for a very long time. Equally important was the shame that I felt others felt about me. Since no one wanted me to speak the truth, or speak the truth themselves I believe it left me in a constant cycle of shame. Maybe I was not good enough for them to accept or validate. Maybe a LOT of things but shame was a big one.

I cannot write the narrative that they tell others about me or that they even believe themselves. I have to some how pull myself out of even the concern of what their narrative of my life even is. I can tell you it is not my truth. It is only the truth they perceived and/or wanted to believe OR maybe it is just all steeped in denial and their own shame. I cannot speak for them I can only speak for how it has all made me feel. I KNOW how much I need to escape from the grips of their stories now more than ever.

I have never felt pretty enough, good enough, worthy enough. I like the person that I am more than I like most people because I know my own heart and it’s ability to care. I like me yet I don’t feel worthy. Worthy of what? I don’t know. Just worthy.

Even when I was doing admirable things like helping animals in wildlife rehab or helping the elderly in hospice, I still did not feel…good enough. Good enough for what? I don’t know.

For one I am not worthy of my own parents. They didn’t feel so as they so easily left.

It’s interesting because I have taken part in a genetic study where a brilliant geneticist has made it his mission to find the mutation causing my muscle disease. To do that I had to revisit the idea of my father’s mere existence on this planet. It’s easier to pretend they don’t exist than to accept that they do but don’t choose me. He was asked to donate a DNA sample for me, the daughter that does not exist. He agreed. He wants to help me he said. He hates to see me deteriorating he said. But he has not seen me in three years. I am worthy of spitting in a cup for DNA but I am worthy of nothing else. It hurts me. (This came to me second hand as I have not spoken to him)

In this week of reflecting on shame in its many forms, I keep flashing back to this photograph that was given to me when I was 15 years old by my boyfriend. It was right before my 16th birthday and he had written on the back of it but I never read it. My mother looked at the photo and turned it over. It was a photo of him standing next to his BMW. On the back he had written, “ From the two things that love to ride you most,” meaning he and his BMW. My mother was unaware I had been having sex at 15 years old and was mortified and I was sent almost immediately to a GYN to get on birthcontrol. I was so ashamed. I was ashamed she knew. I was ashamed that he had had sex with me at all. How ironic that I had not felt shame before. His is my fist recollection of feeling shame. Not when I had been molested by men for the 5 years prior.

I had met my boyfriend on a blind date when I was 15 to go to his homecoming dance an hour and a half away. I always wondered why my mom let me go on this blind date so young. But I also wondered why she let me go to the mans house who molested me all those years before. These things I will never understand because I don’t believe on my mother’s part they were intentional but in my own heart I just wanted to feel safe again. I had hoped it would come from her or my father. It came from fleeting moments of abusers who were mascaraing as people who loved me. Well back to my story…The night my boyfriend had sex with me I think was the first time I truly felt the dissociation that is PTSD. This was no romantic story. This was not a gentle loving experience. But he was my first love. I had no idea what he was doing was not only without my consent but that it would lead me down a path of shame that I would feel for years. It was in some back room. Ramming and ramming and ramming and blood everywhere and him leaving and me trying to hide EVERYTHING. From 11 until many years after I knew love as pain and sex and dominance over me. I find it sad now that I was so in love with…well…a rapist. I was in love with many men who turned out to be rapists. Once a child has been through sexual trauma at an early age their is a veil over what love even is. I did not know love until my husband when I was 24 years old.

So when my mother read the back of that photo she felt ashamed of me but had no idea the shame I felt for myself. She had no idea how horribly the GYN would treat me after finding out I had sexually transmitted disease because NO ONE at the time knew I had been being sexually abused for years and years prior. For some reason I felt that since my hymen was never fully broken that what the men had done to me was not really rape. It was. I guess I just had a super strong hymen! Well that hymen misled me greatly. They were actually more gentle with me than the boy I had fallen in love with at 15 years. Gentle rapists and child molesters. That’s what I thought. But there was nothing really gentle about them. They had just groomed me for so long and I was so confused that I did not know what was good, bad, right, or wrong. I knew that it all felt terrifying. I knew that it all made me feel sick. But I had no safety net or safe space to speak my truth and I had no way of knowing how to get away from ALL of these men who were around every corner of the waterskiing world and after. Everywhere! Men just waiting! Like they somehow knew ” oh yep, she’s been raped before, yep, lets take her!” That is what it felt like. Hmm. I guess that is why sleeping in my car at my Sea world job felt so safe. There were NO MEN.

I was thought of as an introvert, shy, soft spoken. That made me “sweet.” I stayed traumatized and quiet most of my life and those child molesters and rapists upped their game as I got older knowing there were no limits on what they could do. I got passed around from person to person and my value and self worth lowered and lowered and lowered.

By the time I decided to speak my truth I spoke it loudly. And I became not “sweet” anymore. I became angry. Apparently having a voice gave me a new label and changed my personality completely. That is not true. I just…became. Since I started telling my story I left all of the shame behind. In my growth and age I learned that these things done to me were not my shame. I had a blog called: Not my shame…no my secret. I stopped writing that blog a year ago after 3 years of bearing (no clue how to properly spell this word so be easy on me!) my soul to the world. I needed more time to reflect. I needed quiet time to grow more about myself. It is hard to know one’s true self when that self has been layered with lies by others and at the hands of others.

During Yom Kippur I realized that I had every right to be angry but that stooping to the level of those who have hurt me IN that anger was wrong. I have said some unnecessary things that came from emotions and even though they were factual they were also hurtful and mean. That is not me. I allowed that to come from me out of pure fury towards my family who has denied me and shamed me. So as I continue to tell my story, my truth, and facts about my life, I will be aware to not be malicious in intent. I cannot make myself the person they believe me to be.

While watching Brene Brown on Netflix she spoke about who will step into the arena with you. Who will be courageous and vulnerable and speak the truth. Those who cannot will throw criticism at you and I have felt that criticism. I am brave. I am truthful. I have allowed myself to be vulnerable as I have spoken about the abuse I endured in great detail. That detail, those details, made my family ashamed of me. I was even told that no one wanted to hear the details. That would not be true for the 40,000 women and men who contacted me over the 3 year period of writing my original blog. YET a few family members seem to have more power over my own self worth than those 40,000 people. How astounding!

I was molested and raped more times than I can say between the ages of 11 and 24. That was just my life. I had succumbed to it. So many men. So many times. There has not been justice for me. There has been rejection, abandonment and loss. There have been nightmares, triggers, PTSD moments, suicidal moments and ongoing therapy. I cannot change certain things. I cannot change what happened. I cannot change how anyone reacted to it. I cannot change my family. I’ve spent too much time hoping I could and not enough time accepting I cannot.

My father spoke with the geneticist of me fondly. Fondly. That’s his narrative of me. He remembers me fondly as a girl who was sick as a child and as an adult who is suffering with a debilitating muscle disease that he can now help with by spitting in a cup.

I rarely share how much pain I am in with my own husband and I have never shared the pain I am in with my father. My father has no idea how much I suffer. He does not know me. He has created little parts of his nostalgic feelings of me into a relationship that does not exist and where his love is actually real. What he has been in my life is not love. He lives in a narrative : Where he never shook the hand of the man who molested me. Where he never made me second to everything else in his life. Where he spent no time with me and never knew anything about me or what I was going through. His narrative is not true but it is one he created. I am sure my mother and the rest of the people that have left have created there’s too. They think they know how I feel, what I’ve been through and what I am going through. If nothing else I know they view me as weak and someone to be ashamed of. That is not what I THINK their story is of me that is what I know to be true. Because if they were proud of the mother, wife, daughter, woman that I am…they would be here. They are not. I roared. They ran. I am still as equally as sweet as I ever was. I am just no longer silent. But see how much I have gone on about them. Well it is hard not to when someone or a group of people affects you so profoundly in a negative way.

Their narrative should not matter. For some reason it does. So when I told my husband’s friend that I felt no shame, that was not true. I FEEL the shame others are putting on me. My body REMEMBERS the shame of learning I had sexually transmitted diseases because of molestation and rape. My body remembers my mother’s face looking at that photo and her shock at her daughter having sex yet having no idea the same daughter had been molested for countless years prior. My mind remembers the smells, the hands, the pain, the suffering, the desperation, the loneliness. PTSD will not allow me to forget. It seems to have tightened its grip on me firmly. I do not feel shame about what was done TO me by the abusers. The shame is not about them.

So while I capture beautiful moments in nature as a coping skill, it is to practice my mindfulness and to balance out the trauma with something wonderful. It does not mean the trauma is not there. But there are only so many things I can control. Behind the lens of a camera I feel no shame in anything. There is no past or future and just that one beautiful moment.

Learning how to not care about the narratives others have created about me is another story. I have to overcome this. I have to eventually not care because I know none of it is true. I can’t make others proud of me or make me feel worthy. I can’t make my family anything other than what they are and what they were. As I focus on me and my own healing I would say the hardest part is facing, accepting, moving forward, from my family and how they have made me feel.

I am living the truth. It’s all I can do. I wish I had the luxury of living in a lie or denial. I don’t. If nothing else at LEAST I can say I am authentically me. May other authentic people step into the arena with me. It has become quite lonely in here…

I had no idea Invisalign would trigger PTSD

I’ve had a very unpleasant week to put it lightly. I went to the dentist last week due to pain in my jaw to find out it was due to muscle spasms with my muscle disease. Also there was atrophy in my face causing my cheeks to get torn up. So, we proceeded with invisalign. This would straighten my teeth, make sure they don’t get damaged with seizures, and make room for the atrophy. All sounding perfect.

Then the orthodontist put these anchor type things on each tooth ( if you have MCS DON”T DO IT!). After that we put the trays in top and bottom. After leaving the office I realized a LOT too late. Normally, I got home take a shower, wash all smells off. Wash off the triggers of the day. Well guess what you can’t take off, invisalign trays!!!! Or the anchors on your teeth! They are there for the long haul. So my logical mind tell me that this is something I must do to protect my teeth and cheeks from the atrophy and the seizures. PTSD has no room for logic.

I came home and showered and had one of my biggest triggering days ever. There was unexpected things with the orthodontist and the invisalign I was not prepared for. The chemical smells from putting the anchors on and more. I have been on overload.

On Tuesday I had an all out panic attack because I could not get the trays out of my mouth and my jaw was locked shut. I worked as hard as I could to get them out but I don’t have the strength in my fingers and when you first get these they are very tight until your teeth shift.

My sweet daughter finally wakes up and I toss her a pair of gloves to put on and say GET THIS OUT OF MY MOUTH. God love this child who put the gloves on and took these bastards out of my mouth after I massaged my jaw enough to even open it. I completely flipped. She calmly told me that even if I did not have PTSD that I would feel trapped by these trays being in my mouth and that many people feel this way. All of this was very calming and kind. But I knew I had to put them back in.

They hurt like a bitch. Mean truly. My lips and cheeks are full of sores and my teeth feel like they are being yanked and smashed.

NOT GOOD FOR PTSD. Just not good!!

Today I had to go back to be reassured by the orthodontist that everything is as it should be and she assured me that it was. She gave me some options for dragging this out in a doable way like wearing them only at night for a few weeks. I cannot prolong this though.

The orthodontist asked me if I’d had braces before. And the words just flowed right out. “I had them at a time I was sexually assaulted and I’ve blocked out a lot of those years out so I don’t remember having them.” I can’t stand up for myself, freeze, can’t speak when triggered, but if I go in prepared then I can just speak my truth right in the moment and I love that I can do that.

I have no recollection of braces but I am told I did have them.

This week has been difficult. I’ve barely eaten or had anything to drink. My husband bought me a lot of mush food, because he is thoughtful and loving, but just taking these trays out has been too much, knowing I had to put them back in. So I have boycotted eating. Which you’d think with a past history of anorexia, I’d be thinking ok great, lets fall back into old ways. But I don’t WANT to fall back into old ways and I’m increasingly distressed over the muscle atrophy and weight loss. I’ve been feeling frail and HUNGRY. So great. I’m hungry, wanting to eat, and yet cannot.

I’m sharing my week with invisalign and PTSD because this is all a learning process for me. I want to share my learning with others. I’m not sure if someone else with trauma would feel the same as I did with the feeling trapped and confined and in pain with these trays being triggering. But I want someone with PTSD to be able to make an informed decision on putting something on their body that will be stuck on them.

I’m just praying I can overcome. It’s day 5 now and I still want to cry and scream. I feel violated by TRAYS!! I mean seriously. Who would have thought! But I do.

Hence my red flag days this week.

I went to an appointment with my daughter that was a four hour appointment and the entire time I kept thinking, “ I can go home and shower and get in bed and rest my muscle pain but I still have to have these stupid trays in my mouth.” I kept trying to turn it around to positive self talk but the triggers are too strong and the pain is overcoming my ability. Had we not paid the 5500 dollars (which I kept reminding myself of) day two I would have taken a hammer to them. Knowing that I need to fix my bite to protect my teeth from seizure and atrophy damaging is my only positive keeping me from bashing these things.

In the mean time I tore off all of my cuticles down my fingers. My husband asked me if it was like cutting and before even thinking of the answer I said yes. So I guess yes is the answer. Yes. Yes is the answer. I tore off all of my nails and my cuticles and my hands are a stabbed bloody mess. So as not to continue this I have decided to write on my blog. It’s prime self harm time at midnight. I’m not going there though. Meds are not helping, distraction not helping, so I am tossing this out to my blogging tribe in hopes of some love and understanding.

#metoo Protecting one woman at a time from a predator.

Yesterday, as I went past my neighbor’s house in my wheelchair I thought, “If he asked me to go in his backyard to see his new blooming flower, alone, would I go?” Yes. I would have. Had I made the decision spontaneously. Had I not had established boundaries and been mindful and PAUSED before making ANY decisions involving being alone with a man, I would have said, “Yes,” enthusiastically! IF he would have asked. IF, I would have gone. Then I would have put myself into a completely avoidable situation that could have POTENTIALLY been unsafe for me. Do I want to be afraid of all men? No. Do I want to avoid being raped again? YES! I am more concerned with NOT being violated than I am with being anything but cautious for the rest of my life. I become comfortable. I let my guard down. Repeatedly, I have made these mistakes. Just yesterday I ran into a man that came up to speak to me alone but in a roadway. I completely and 100 percent trusted this man. I have actually been in situations alone with him many times. I have known him for over 10 years. He proceeded to tell me about his erectile dysfunction. I was caught completely off guard. The conversation went down hill with his oversharing of his penile function and his manly needs. Ten minutes before these words were spoken I would have easily gone right onto his back porch with him alone. I considered this a huge wake up call. Why risk it? If am alone with a man then the opportunity is there. If I am never alone with a man, I’ve just cut my chances in being assaulted again. Assaulted is using the word lightly. Over 10 years ago, my best friend’s husband sexually violated me and left me in fear for my life while being held against my will in his locked garage. I was looking for my best friend. She wasn’t there. He asked me to sit down while he looked for her, then he locked the garage door. I never ever could have known or seen signs that he was capable of this. I had no warning. Choosing to be alone with a man does not place the blame on me for anything that ever happened to me. I am taking being alone with a man off the table now, though, for the remainder of my life. He got me though. He got me alone. Do you know how he got me?
There are some common denominators for how predators choose their victims. Now, as a child I would not have noticed, been aware, or even known these signs. Had my parents not allowed their 11 year old clean an old man’s house for him (left alone with a man) then I would not have been molested. Being molested and later raped was not my fault. Not seeing the signs were not my fault. Child molesters/rapists/ predators carry the full responsibility of their crimes. As I have gotten older though I have become acutely aware of the ways that some pick their victims. If anything, through my experiences, I can share what I think will help to protect an innocent person from being a victim. I would like to share these revelations. 

I would like to use the remainder of this blog to discuss some red flags that predators will give. The only thing you need to do when you see these red flags is RUN! Online predators will behave similarly. They hunt. They are hunters. They escalate. Each ploy/game/attempt failed will just give them more insight to what does work. My blog for example makes me a prime candidate for a predator. I have had a blog written about me recently and hash tagged “child porn” so that everyone who read it looking for child porn would then be rerouted to my blog. If this is not a perfect example of a predator AKA an individual whose intention is abuse is then I don’t know what is. This man assumed I wrote a warning for women about him. I am given lesson after lesson about men and their predator ways. I cannot ignore these lessons. I must share them. 

Some common red flags: 

Is this man helping you, being there for you, listening to you, supporting you, out of the blue? At a time of vulnerability? Is he all of a sudden present in your life when you are at your lowest? 

Are you currently ill, or helpless, when this man comes of the woodwork to be there for you?

Have you just had a falling out with a family member, been sexually abused, broken up with your boyfriend, lost your job, had a death in the family, and all of a sudden this man swoops in to make it all better?

Is this man over connecting? Are they making their life examples so similar to yours that you feel a connection where there is none? Example A. “I’ve had a dog die too. I know how hard that can be.” B. “I know how it feels to have health problems and be isolated, I have health problems too.” C. “ My family no longer speaks to me either. Maybe we can make our own family. I will be like a big brother.” D. “ I am lonely too. I know what being alone” feels like. I will be here if you need a friend to listen to you.” E. “ I’ve been through what you’ve been through.” F. “ I had a sister who had that happen and I am devastated for you.” 

Is this man acting like he is willing to fight for you? Have your back? Is he using your need for safety against you by promising to be your savior when you didn’t ask for one? Example: A. “ I will kill him if I ever see him.” B. “ If anyone is mean to you or hurts you from now on they will have to deal with me.” C. “Just send them my way and I will take care of them for you. No one messes with you from now on!”

Is this man making you a “we” team now? Example: A. “We can take care of this together.” B. “We can fight this battle together. You are not alone in this.” WE. You are a team now.

Is this man trying to make you feel like you are special? Is he trying to make you feel like you are different and worthy of his time because you are just so important? Example: A. “ I hate most people but you are different.” B.” There is just something about you that stands out to me and makes me drawn to you.” C. “ I think we were meant to find each other because I don’t even like women your age but you are just special.” D. “ I feel like we are soul mates.” E. “ If you were my sister/wife/ mother/ child, I would feel like the luckiest man on earth.” 

Is he using techniques such as being overly angry for you, pitting you and him against the world? Giving too much personal information so you feel you aren’t the only one who is sharing? Is he repeatedly asking you personal questions? 

Is he trying to overly convince you that he is a nice guy? 

Is he telling you how wonderful he is? Is he claiming to work with the elderly, work with abused animals, abused women, abused children, a wounded veteran? Is he being fake noble? A man with such integrity and values that you could not possibly turn him away or YOU would be the bad person? Is he such a “nice guy” that he is saying you would be crazy to not have him in your life?

Is he asking you to be alone with him? Is he putting you in a position that you would need to be alone with him unnecessarily? Is he in a position of power that is intimidating? Does he make you feel like even if you don’t say no that you are consenting? 

Have you had a “bad feeling” when you are around him that you are ignoring or shrugging off or minimizing because he has overcompensated for how willing he is to help you “through this hard time”?

 
Predators look for young, old, weak, broken, formerly abused, vulnerable, sad, helpless. I can say that I am a survivor all day long but on my blog I also write about my vulnerability, my challenges, my losses, and details of abuse. I am the perfect fish for a shark to circle around me long enough to find a little moment to enter into my life especially on social media IF I am not paying attention. I have written previous blogs warning women of predators. Some of the male responses were “ Are so you saying I am a predator because I care?” And, “ So all men are predators?” I talked to my husband at length about this. My husband would have never commented on a blog that has the pure intention of protecting other women. Any man who is offended or has a problem with me warning women and protecting women against predators, should search their own souls.They should take a look in the mirror and find out where this guilty conscience is coming from. A real man would applaud my efforts to protect women and children from predators. And there are predators EVERYWHERE. Every single woman I have ever met has been abused by a man in one way or another in her life time. Every woman. She may have only told me. But her inability to report her abuse does not take away the reality of it. Now I write a blog on abuse. Women have told me their stories. Previously I was a volunteer chaplain in nursing homes and hospice. I heard hundreds of “death bed confessions” of rape and abuse. There are thousands of women just like me who have not been victims, not just once but countless times. 

Predators look at my blog. Lots of predators looking at my blog. I drew them out and because they were offended, but too stupid to realize that by commenting they are giving themselves away as predators themselves. “I’m a good guy though.” Are you? Because my husband is the best man I have ever known but he has never had to convince me he is a good man. Ever. He proves it. He would only ever support a blog that is written to connect to and protect other women from predators. Only a guilty man would have something negative to say. So check your comments at the door, they will not be approved. This blog is for women. 
If you have had a life change whether it is ill health, loss, mental health challenges, recovering from abuse, at this point in your life, a man is not the person who needs to be your savior. A man that you do not know, a male neighbor, etc. I don’t need to lower my defenses so a man can make me feel safe. I have a husband. If I did not, I would lean on and seek out women to help me through my recovery and challenges. A man is not the person to be the one to be on your team, fix you, be angry for you. Especially a man who seeks you out whether it is on social media or just out of the blue in your life. If you are already vulnerable then allowing a man in is very dangerous. Unfortunately, there are predators looking for women just like you and me. They are looking for this pool of women that are damaged and trying so hard to recover. They will use every technique that they know works because it has worked for them in the past. 
The man who got me in his garage gave me no red flags. I was simply crying. Sobbing. My dog had just been attacked. I was vulnerable. He knew of my recent health decline. He was a predator. There were some common denominators, in me, in that moment, that made him swoop in for the attack. He was laying in wait for that perfect opportunity to pounce on me and that he did. In the past, I could not have prevented that from happening. I was not to blame for the trauma he caused me. 

Today, I would not enter the garage alone. Today I won’t go into my neighbor’s back yard with him alone. Today, if my neighbor gives TMI (too much information) about his erectile dysfunction, I will walk away, and he will forever be in the red zone of threat. I will NEVER trust him again. 

A few days ago I read through all of the comments on my blog. It took a man that I did not know, 20 times of asking my daughter’s name and age for me to answer the question. He was, again, a man. I taught him that it takes 21 times to get exactly what he wants. I looked at exactly when he entered my blog. It was when my dog had died. That is when I got the first comment. Unfortunately, online a woman giving me support for the death of my dog could just be a man pretending to be a woman. We just don’t know. My point is, be careful who you let into your personal space on social media. It won’t take long or much probing if you are in a weakness state to get your address and the next thing you know they will be offering to buy you a ticket to visit them and the will make everything better. It happened. It happens. 

Be aware. 

Look for red flags. 

Keep your eyes open. 

Notice how you are when this “perfect” man has appeared who coincidently has a similar life to yours, conveniently, to fit right in. 
We were born with an instinct. Many of us through continued abuse whether it is sexual, domestic, verbal, or emotional, have lost some of that instinct. Denial, minimizing what we have gone through and outright ignoring the abuse leads to further numbing of instinct. We are left with hypervigilance, PTSD, and yet no instinct to tell us what we are to really be afraid of. 

I have found this book to be very helpful: https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Becker-ebook/dp/B0036Z9U2A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508217906&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gift+of+fear+by+gavin+de+becker

The Gift of Fear. It speaks of some of the topics I have spoken of and how a rapist will use some of these techniques to attack. 
Whether this man is your best friend’s husband, a deacon at your church, your friend’s father, your pastor, your boss, your neighbor, there have to be boundaries. We have to be able to strip their titles, our comfort levels, and reinstate boundaries and rekindle our instinct. We have to teach our children. We have to teach our girlfriends. We have to teach women everywhere. 

I know there are some instances where there is absolutely nothing a woman could have done to prevent being raped. I will say this over and over again. I know this because I have experienced it first hand many times. There were others who could have protected me though, seen the signs, spoken up, protected me. If only we could see the signs of abuse in other women and children and see the red flags in the predators going after them. We can. We just have to look. 

I feel like, had someone sat me down and had this conversation that I have written, it would have opened my eyes to red flags and common factors and techniques used by predators, years ago. I discussed all of this with my daughter. This blog post has been part of conversation between my husband and me and my daughter and me all week. There will be a ripple affect. She will discuss this with her friends. I will discuss it with my girlfriends. One person at a time. 
My intention is to protect women. That is my only intention. I am well aware there are men who are raped, and abused. I know many of them. This is from a woman’s perspective as rape survivor and survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I wish I could speak for men who have been abused in this blog but I am speaking from my own experience as a woman who has been abused repeatedly by men. This blog is written by a woman for women and their daughters and their friends and their grandmothers and their mothers. This blog is is written in hopes of protecting women by sharing real life comments and experiences. What I have written in quotes are all things that have been said to me or written on my social media by men I know and men I do not. 
I have seen on social media this #metoo to spread awareness of the amount of women who have been sexually abused. I would like to take that further. Way further. Coming forward, speaking your truth takes real bravery. I commend any woman who can do that. Now lets go to the next step NOW and start implementing some protective boundaries, looking for the red flags, and for the love of everything good…tell your daughter to stay in a group and never be out alone at a party, alone in an alley, alone walking to her car, alone with a guy she does not know, alone with her best friend’s brother, alone with her best friend’s father. Teach them how to NOT be alone and don’t put them in situations where they are alone with men. It is our job to protect them to the best of our ability. My parents did not protect me. They sent me to a ski school where I was alone with a man who molested me. They took me out of the country and left me alone with a man who molested me. They sent me to my first job out of state where the man who picked me up from the airport committed statutory rape against me. The let me clean a man’s house alone as a child. These are 4 separate incidents that were completely preventable had my parents chosen not to leave me alone, as a child, with a man they did not know. Our children, all children, women, girls, matter and deserve protection from predators. They need to hear it all of this. We MUST protect women. One woman at a time. 

Please share this and comment your own suggestions and experiences for boundaries and protection. 
My friend over at A Thomas Point of View has written of her experiences and survival. I honor her with this post as well as every woman who has persevered after the devastating affects of abuse and rape. 
I Know Not – A Thomas Point of View

I Know Not

     

Perspective.

Last week was a hard week. My husband was hit head on in a car accident. His car was totalled. My daughter and I had just gotten out of bed. I was actually in the bathroom when she barreled in and said, Dad’s been in an accident and he is calling from the ambulance. A thousand things ran through my mind. What if he has broken something, then he told me he thought he had. What if he needs surgery. I can’t drive to the hospital. How will I get there. Who will make sure he is okay. What if he is admitted. Who will take care of US? My daughter is ill, I have serious medical issues, what are we going to do. So I thought Okay, I need to get people to pray for him. I better start asking. I sent out prayer requests. Then I called a few of his friends who promised to go and put eyes on him and give me a full update. I sat down on my bed 2 hours later, forgetting I had not eaten breakfast, pacing the hallway with legs that are nolonger able to pace, and I realized I had not prayed. So I did. I prayed that all of my whatifs did not come true. 

And they didn’t. He did not break anything. He did not need surgery. He was able to come home that night. Everything was okay. I had immediately panicked when I should have just immediately prayed. But I am human. And I am pretty darn helpless and vulnerable when it comes to my health issues. I rely on my husband for everything. He is my everything. He takes us to appointments, grocery shops, shops for everything our family may need, works full time, and more. He rubs my legs when they are unbearably painful. He comforts me when I am having a PTSD moment. He holds me when I have a nightmare or when a memory has come back. His car accident scared me. It brought out tons of fear and when that happens for me, PTSD comes into play full force. It was a challenging week. But I kept saying, he is alive. He is alive. He is okay. Everything is ok. He survived. Now was not the time to think about everything he does for us as a family. We spent 6 days with him at home feeling grateful that he was okay. 

So when I woke up and my hair had all broken off I didn’t lose my mind! I didn’t have a panick. I didn’t start to cry. I knew my hair was headed down a pretty bad path. But in any other time I would say I would have completely lost it over my hair situation. I mean….Let me show you….Really….Pictures do speak!!!


My daughter kept wondering why I was not more upset about it. And in all honesty, I did grab a pair of scissors and plan to hack it all to a nub. But words from my therapist came into my mind. I had no control over my hair any more than I could have controlled my husband’s car accident. I could only control how I reacted to it. So I made a hair appointment today and I’d say…given what she had to work with….she did some miraculous things. The bottom one was after I had come home and the stylist had styled it for me after cutting it. The nice little filter one is after I tried to work with it myself and my daughter put some flowers on my head. Either way, the entire hair experience was not anything like I thought it could be. Things were in perspective.


The whole point is….my husband is alive. So my hair all broke off. My husband is alive. I may have PTSD and I may not be able to control some things that come but I am not going to let my hair dictate my happiness. At least not today!!!!! Things seem in a pretty good perspective. Because my husband is alive. Thank God. He is OK!

I wish I could make this perspective work on absolutely everything. I tried. But with PTSD and anxiety and smell triggers, I can’t talk myself down from those. But we must celebrate the things in life we can talk ourselves down from. They may be few but they are something to recognize, validate, and celebrate! Today, I celebrated my calm approach to having a professional cut my hair instead of many alternatives. Today, I just felt grateful. I’m holding on to that as long as I can.