This is what I wanted to say to other survivors, if I only had one post, one important message to impart, it would be, keep moving forward.
Over twelve years ago now I had made a decision to work on healing full-time. Previous to that there had been periods when I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed to push it all away, as though a survivor can become a non-survivor, as though you can ignore your past by ignoring healing, but amazingly survivors can do that for a time, at a certain point in their life, for a certain amount of time, and then it starts catching up to you again.
The last time I did that was when I was in college. It caught up with me a couple of years before I finished college. I had to take a year off college just to manage when it did catch up with me. That was when I decided that I would do healing full-time, all the time. That was when I decided to make my life about healing; to breathe it in and to breathe it out.
Another part of that commitment to healing was to extend myself to other survivors, to share my personal philosophy of healing and to continue to work on healing in community, in cooperation, in healing with other survivors of child sexual abuse.
A beloved blogger friend once told me his personal belief system, based on his observations and conclusions in his own life. It was to keep reaching out and that those who keep reaching out get what they are reaching for. I so much needed to hear that last January. And I so much clung to that hope and have kept reaching out to others, because it was others that I wanted so desperately and so much in my life, and always have.
So I will share with you my personal belief system, or philosophy of life; keep moving forward. As a survivor I know that healing is important, as important as breath and food and water and safety and health and life. I also know that breath and food and water and safety and health and life are also all about healing.
I’ve learned that others misjudge us, and badly, and hatefully. And that their opinions don’t matter, not one little bit. Of course I want to be loved, understood, liked even. Of course, we all do. But I’ve also learned that those who are cruel are not worthy to judge me. And each day I, little by little, put those judgements and hatreds aside and say “fuck them.” I’ve learned how to really understand what a failure is and what a success is, when it comes to healing. As my brother has told me over and over, “when you have learned something from the incident, it’s not a failure anymore.”
I’ve learned that judgements about myself have always been wrong, negative and hateful, and I have learned how to remind myself of that now; that I have an inaccurate and skewed sense of self and self-esteem due to the lies I have been taught. I have learned how to be kinder and gentler and lighter with myself and that path continues.
I’ve learned that we all get down on ourselves and don’t see all our progress, all our healing, all our hard work, all our courage, all our fortitude, all our kindness and gentleness and bravery. I learned that it is all hidden behind all the lies. I know that all the work that we do still accumulates and still means a great deal, even though we may not be aware of it. I’ve learned that it is a good idea to put all that aside and just show up for the day, to just be, to just try, to just be gentle and loving and good and kind to myself and to learn how to do it better.
I’ve learned that just showing up matters. That it is healing. That it is walking the healing path. And that it is important to keep moving forward. It may not always look like forward progress, but it is. Show up, live your life, work on healing, the successes will start to show, you will start to see them, and recognize them for what they are, and recognize yourself for what you are; a survivor, an incredible human being, a courageous person.
What I’ve always known is that I will continue to be around other survivors and supporters and friends of survivors. I hope that helps someone else. But more importantly I know it helps me, it helps us, it makes my life better, my moment by moment life and that it helps me to keep moving forward, incrementally. I keep moving forward, even when it is too small to see or recognize, I am making healing progress, and so are you.