He is right, but even after we die, memories of us live on such as those of his “Braveheart” character, William Wallace. Memories are powerful thought energies that hold our essence and spirit- hence the phrase about someone who was absent “She/ he was there in spirit.” Looking at new pictures of myself from a recent outing, smiling and having fun with friends, I was amazed to acknowledge that in them was the same person who experienced rape and abuse. People always say to me that they had no idea and that they never would’ve guessed those things happened to me probably because of my attitude.
I understand why I am sometimes perceived this way. I guess you would expect a rape victim or survivor to be despondent as opposed to thriving. Yes I was there for ten years on and off but see no need to be depressed over it anymore. For a large chunk of my life when I was out with friends, I was not really present; caught up in my own head as unhappy thoughts played over and over on loop. That is why the pictures of me today create such a sharp contrast to the me that existed years ago.
The rapists took a piece of me away that I would never get back, like thieves in the night, I had no idea what was happening until long after they were gone. They drugged me and left me on my front lawn like garbage, some friends. Ten years it ruined me. I used to wonder what I would’ve been like had being a rape-victim not been an experience on my life path. Maybe I would’ve gone to Harvard or become a doctor. Well probably not, we kind of end up where we’re meant to be because of the things we experience.
They stole something from me but what was even worse was the fact that they almost took my life: because I almost gave it to them. If I continued to mourn the loss of what they took forever, they might’ve killed me as well. When a person causes you a lot of anguish and you let it eat you up for years you are essentially giving them your power and still very much letting them create havoc in your life. Whether they know it or not, they have exerted a long lasting control over you and it has paralyzed your progress as a person. This can be the case in several instances, bullying, abuse, and many other things besides rape can leave a person feeling powerless.
The most difficult part is climbing out of this mental state because most people doesn’t even realize they’re in it. They have spent years feeling horrible about themselves as the incident or hurtful words plays over and over again in the backdrop of their minds.
Trauma can be so horrific that it often transforms a person into a ghost; unable to leave the scene of the crime, their spirit haunts the event for years as it continues to play it over and over again in their mind. Their self-esteem suffers and they unconsciously let this experience define them as unworthy of love or anything positive. They cling to this identity of worthlessness and continue to meander through life as a shell of a human being with a sputtering dimly lit spirit. It becomes a habit of sorts but we don’t think of attitudes as habits. We think of more tangible things like smoking or biting fingernails as so. Therefore it makes this negative mental state even more elusive; so elusive that few realize it’s a solvable problem.
Once you are out of this mental state, it as if you have broken an evil witch’s spell and are awoken from a very deep sleep. Wake up Snow White, you have lot’s of living to do. The only way to move on with your life after a traumatic experience is to reach this point of self awareness, acknowledge it, and deal with it accordingly. It may not seem like a vital decision but to awake from this state is truly a choice between life or death. If you continue to remain in this fog, it is as if you are a flower that has been removed from the sunlight. Slowly you will wilt until you fade away.
It is important to not only have the self actualization and awareness to realize this but also the strength to work your way backwards out of this emotional void. It is not easy but it is worth it. Remaining in a state of numbness because of life’s circumstances -circumstances that were very much out of your control- is a slow death. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life living in the past?
Whether you were bullied, raped, or abused, you did not ask to be victimized. Another person chose to do this to you and it was out of your control. However, if you continue to let an incident that occurred in the past affect your mind and spirit, you are allowing an incident from your history to residually effect today and tomorrow. Furthermore, by allowing this trauma to affect your mind in the present, you are allowing your tormentor to continue their torment. In fact, you are doing their work for them by prolonging the negative effects of their abuse.
No one can kill your spirit without your permission. Don’t let your spirit die when there’s so much living out there to do! I know you can get out of it and move on.