I’ve been following the R-Kelly and Michael Jackson story. It is heart and soul breaking to see what young women and men went/still go through. I have a story of my own.
I went through abuse when I was younger. I was 12 years old and he was in his late 20’s. Now, I will not share details of the abuse however I will share the aftermath.
I was robbed of my confidence. I will never forget him, his name, his face, his scent and his voice. I felt shame for the longest time. I felt shame for everything I did and most importantly who I was. Of course I dressed differently, hiding my body because for some reason I felt showing parts of my body was the problem. I was a child. My self-esteem was nonexistence. I remember being involved in music and school plays as a child but that died the minute I felt worthless. When you attract an older man when you are younger, it makes you feel less than enough for your peers. I had a crippling fear of older men. Sometimes I still do. I avoid sitting next to older men in buses, restaurants and everywhere else. When I was a teenager older men would always try to shoot their shot as people say however the crippling fear wouldn’t allow me to entertain it.
The abuse was a starting point of a spiral that led into a deep dark hole. Along the way I hurt people because I was hurt. It was close to impossible to have a relationship with me. I was nice because I needed to be nice. I wasn’t honest. I lied to myself and most people around me. I was lost for the longest time and I wore this mask that gave people a perception of who I was.
Anxiety. This is something I still battle with. I remember feeling anxious when he was around. I was living with constant anxiety even after. I get anxious being around people. I get anxious performing or hosting an event. Now, I’m not talking about normal butterflies. I’m talking about full blown anxiety that causes headaches, vertigo, loss of breath and constant panic. I am still dealing with this to date. That was one of the few experiences that made me anxious.
We can’t control what happens to us however we can control how we respond to it. When you go through abuse as a child it doesn’t register as abuse. Your first reaction is fear. I was afraid for the longest time. Now that I am older I understand that he was a lost soul who violated me. Maybe he was violated as a child? Either way, I had to go through the painful process of forgiveness. I had to forgive him, myself and the people around me for not recognizing what was happening. I wrote letters to him and burnt them. It was my form of therapy. I had to allow myself to grieve the person I was because living a life with low self-esteem is a life of pure loneliness. The minute you hate yourself every emotion others have for you, to you, will translate as hate. I had to forgive myself for hating on me for years, putting myself down and not giving myself the chance to be who I was meant to be.
Years later I discovered my alter ego. She is someone who I had to seek and find. I call her Phoenix. Why? I felt like I had died but I found a way to come back from my lowest experience. Phoenix is strong, sexy, loved, beautiful and freaking amazing!! She knows what she wants and goes for it! Phoenix is blessed and she loves herself to bits. She consumes me every day because I allow it. I have days I feel less than I’m supposed to but Phoenix rises. The lower she goes the higher she flies. I don’t have it all figured out but I am safe as long as I love myself enough to not allow that experience to define me.
To all my sister and brother who have gone through abuse, I see you, I hear you and i feel you. Everyone has a Phoenix in them. Rise in your own way.
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