As a two-year-old you can see what I get excited about after waking from a nap. At that age life should be about having fun and having nothing to worry about. My father always tells me you have your entire childhood on camera. He is right my mother had that camera going all the time and I am glad she did because it is a great reminder of the happy times from my childhood. The moments she didn’t capture on camera are stored in that memory of mine both wonderful and terrible.
Everyone loves to reflect back on the good times but the terrible times are often an area people would like to avoid looking at. Often with those who have survived abuse addressing those times of abuse come as a great challenge. As I always say the first step is breaking your silence and in on your own time talking about it in order to continue to heal in your life.
Last night I happened to turn on the television while eating dinner and had Oprah Winfrey Network on and Dr. Phil was on. I never watch Dr. Phil because I have never been a fan of his show. However the topic of the show grab my attention “Child Abductions” so I got sucked into watching it. On the show was Shawn Hornbeck’s parents. If you don’t know who Shawn is, he was an eleven-year-old that was snatched from his bus stop in 2002 and was later discovered alive 4 years later in 2007 with a man that did horrific things to Shawn. His parents discussed on the show that in the aftermath after the story died down in the media Shawn shared things that happened but not everything. That he comes to his parents on his own when he is ready to share and they don’t pressure him to talk about anything that they wait until he is ready to talk and respect his boundaries. I think that is so important when dealing with those who have suffered trauma. Giving them the space and time to talk when they feel ready. Sometimes your ready to talk about certain events and details and the others come later. The best thing I feel when someone is sharing details of abuse is listening. Breaking their silence is the first step and being heard with respected boundaries is the next. People can get caught up in asking too many questions or saying things like “I understand”. Don’t tell a sexual abuse survivor you understand unless you are a survivor yourself. That would be like me listening to someone going through chemo and saying “I understand” when the truth is I don’t understand I have never gone through that.
There are other people out there that get caught up in the details and try prying into a survivor’s life. Give them the space and freedom to speak when they are ready. As I say unless you have gone through it you honestly don’t understand what reliving those details do to someone emotionally, mentally, and physically. It can often bring them back to reliving it all….believe me I know!!!
At 26 I never imagined in my life I would be doing what I am in my twenties. As I have traveled through this life I imagined for the longest time until I was about 17 years old that I would not go to college, I would be married by 20, have kids, and be a stay at home mom. I thought I would travel everywhere by car because I was terrified to fly until 16 years old, and I certainly would not be devoting my life traveling the country speaking about the most traumatic moments of my life and passing a law. This is certainly not how I envisioned the chapters of my life unfolding and leading to where I am today and other chapters in the works that I am keeping private. Can’t let those lurkers (you know who you are) in on some big important things to come.
One day I hope to say what puts a smile on my face is being a mother to a 2 year old like the one I was in the above video. I thought falling in love, getting married, and being a mother would be much easier then the path I have taken to being a published author, appearing on national television numerous times, getting my masters degree, and passing a law. I feel the path I have taken has been much easier then the one I hope one day happens but in this life I have lived I wouldn’t be surprised if I am having coffee with the President of the United States before being married.
It will be interesting to see what plays out in the years to come. I’ve been joking with my best friend for a few years now that this path I have taken will lead me to my future husband while traveling through an airport at the same time I joke that the title of my next book is “The 30 Year Old Virgin” I guess we will just have to wait and see which happens first.