It doesn’t matter how many times I get on stage and speak… there is a moment of truth between knowing I am meant to do this; this is my call… and the thought of, what on earth are they going to think of me? The voice of my childhood has always weighed heavily on me, in the sense that it always floats annoyingly in the back of my mind. It takes commitment to myself and absolute conviction in what I am doing to drown it out.
One of the I have found in myself- and in my own experience of people who have experienced childhood trauma is this: We have learnt to survive based on how people perceive us. Generally, we develop strategies which ensure self preservation, by keeping people in our circles happy and making sure that we are seen as “good.” You are a people pleaser- generally speaking, which in itself is not a bad thing however, we can tend to spend so much of our time trying to make others happy, to keep peace that we very quickly lose sight of our own being.
I firmly believe that this survival mechanism has been formed out of fear- fear of being found out, or the shame of ‘the secret’ being revealed. It is perpetuated by the predator, who plays on this fear as a silent manipulative means to keep you quiet and trapped in your childhood nightmare. “what will mum and dad think of you if they knew…?” So you hold on, and you maintain your image- after all, by keeping people happy, by making sure people like you and by swallowing your hurt and shame, no one will see all of that darkness and shame that you are so afraid to bring out into the open. No one can judge you and no one hurt you. Realistically, the only person who is really judging is yourself. We are always our worst critics, and in most cases the only one who has a negative perception of you, is you! As it turns out, you are like a treasure chest of unexplored strength and character. You are amazing!
I am still afraid, sometimes my strength fades into the dark recesses of my stomach and churns there. Then the prickling sweat of self consciousness rises up and tells me to run. I take a moment and I think about what I have to do and remind myself, people don’t talk about this stuff for a reason- so it is okay to be afraid, but I will not be defined by that fear. I acquit myself of that fear and remember those emotions are not my own, they belong to him, my perpetrator/predator… so I take a breath, I hold myself proud and I know that I will take up that baton no matter how it feels to me- I know it is temporary, and there is a much greater freedom I can give to someone else by being vulnerable.
It has taken me a long time to hold my own image and value, to let go of what I perceive other people will think- at the end of the day they were lies fed to me out of a predators own cowardice and fear. I am strong, I am valuable and I have a mission- No doubt, so do you. Don’t listen to the lies of you past, but hold on to the beautiful person you are, and the courage that is in your heart.
While I plan in the future to speak on many things, sharing the deeply personal journey through overcoming sexual abuse never feels like it is getting easier. When I do speak though, when I begin to bring this issue into the open I feel strength begin to rise, and I know there is no other way- I am doing what I am meant to do. While I am still relatively new to this, I feel like I am exposing my rawness time and time again. I also know that there are stories in every one of us that has the ability to transform the world. When I think of some of the things I have come across in my work as a Police Officer, I feel like my story is really only minor in comparison to what I have seen, heard or dealt. However, I understand the gifts that I have been given to achieve this task and what has happened is opening a door. It’s a heavy door, one that reeks of deception and old age…. It’s dusty, but now is the time to open door and allow light into this very dark place.
I have the ability to make this stand, and remind anyone who has experienced child trauma or sexual abuse that they are not alone, that there is someone who understands their pain, the anger, fear and shame. To bring something so dark out into the light and remind people that no matter where they have come from, or whatever their story that each of us is created uniquely, beautifully and with an absolute purpose in mind. To help men, women and children see their unique beauty and value and their Unscathed Beauty.
Furthermore, for those who have never felt or experienced anything like this, there is an awareness and understanding raised about an issue that generally causes people to run the other direction. Let’s stop running the other way on this stuff… we need to stand together people… we need to let victims who are true survivors know that they are not alone and can overcome their battles. They are valuable, loved and certainly not a shameful secret. It is time to unshackle the shame- to conquer our fears and unleash our #UnscathedBeauty