A few days ago I received a call from a man from the community I grew up in, he apparently was only just hearing about my story, so he called, and in an attempt to fully grasp what happened because he knows my family well, he proceeded to ask very specific detail oriented questions about what took place. Usually I don’t entertain conversations that gets too personal, however, I did. One of the questions asked was so unexpectedly blatant, I immediately and very abruptly ended the call.
I haven’t been triggered to this extent in a few years. I was angry, irked, breathing heavy and felt a knot in my chest, I was livid. I realized the moment the question slipped from his lips, I had an instantaneous flashback. My reaction caught me off guard. I truly did not expect or could have imagined reacting the way I did. I felt an array of emotions, from rage, bitter hatred, anxiety, annoyance, fear, etc, in one single moment. With my heart racing, and with hands shaking, I called my sister. Thankfully, she had the time to listen, not only was she understanding but was able to help me bring some clarity back to the situation. I have been on this healing journey for a few years now and sometimes it seems as if I now have under control (or so it seems) the memories and all that comes with being sexually abused and raped as a child. While this proves true in some instances, I accept and understand that this journey is rather tedious. I like many others wish there was some magical or accelerated way to hasten the process along, but I/we know differently.
Survivor-hood is grueling and rather complex. There is no right or wrong way to go through the healing process, but it requires much patience, self-care, self-forgiveness, push, pull, ups, downs, failed attempts and countless retry’s or starting over. I don’t get triggered much anymore, most days I’m able to categorize and or dismiss the memories, I’m capable of pinpointing a reaction and use the needed tools to get myself back on track faster. So, after speaking to my sister, I called the young man back and expressed to him what his line of questions caused and suggested that he practice being more cognizant of the subject matter if and whenever he is in another situation like this, and to approach matters like these with sensitivity. He expressed his deep apologies and explained that it was his disbelief that caused him to ask, only because he knew that man (the abuser) well and just couldn’t wrap his mind around what he heard and he meant no harm by his question. Truth is, after talking it through I understood where he was coming from and wondered why I had even entertained his conversation, because though I understand his view point, the fact is, I spent that night on edge with images and memories of the abuse swirling in my head.
As previously mentioned, the healing journey, surviving sexual abuse and rape is a complex and grueling process. I know being triggered is a part of the process and can happen anywhere and at anytime, and you can never be prepared for this. However, oddly enough and as strange as it may sound, I am grateful, for this incident made me realize the fragility of the healing process, it also proved the strength, courage, the fight, it requires to get up everyday and choose self. When things happen beyond our control, it is ok to stop, feel, process, breath then deal. My lessons from a few days ago are a few, but one serves as a reminder that the process of healing is indeed a journey, a journey that is ongoing. The fact is that for many of us, healing may not have an end hence the reason we journey, but one thing is for sure, I am committed to this ride.
Journey with me as I/we journey 2 Free, from my heart to yours. Larissa.