Should we speak out or should we stay silent?
It took me a long time to speak out and I know it takes a long time for others as well. Some stay silent and never speak, but the silence kills them inside.
When you are a victim - Something terrible has happened to you and you have experienced something most others would classify as gruesome, terrifying, horrid, ghastly, etc. And then people wonder why you don't want to spread the news? Because it is so much easier to dig a hole in the core of yourself, bury whatever it is in the hole and then cover it up - forget about it - act like it never happened. There will be a time when you can be in denial - you may start questioning yourself whether or not that actually happened the way you remember it, did you forget something, did you imagine something, could your conscious have changed a detail here or there, was it all a dream? Once the denial and doubt are there it is that much harder to speak out. But, as time passes, whatever you buried in that hole starts to creep out, spread through you like a disease. It breaks your heart, your focus, your very soul. You cannot keep denying that you were once a victim of ... <- Fill in the blank.
Now you are a survivor - You have survived something terrible and you want/need to talk about it. But who will listen? Who will believe you? Who will even care? Will you be the bad person? Will it somehow be your fault? Why couldn't you just keep it to yourself and never speak out about it ever again? But your brain won't let you.
So you find someone you trust and love and you SPEAK!
They don't believe you. They can't imagine. They are in denial and don't want to believe so they just ignore it.
You are a victim - Not just of the initial incident, but now you are the victim of "the rug" as I like to call it. When you have dug something out of a hole, it's dirty, nasty, and ugly. Nobody wants to see it, hear it, or think about it - So they sweep it under the rug. They act like it didn't happen, you didn't tell them, they don't know and they move on. The problem is that most other people CAN move on because it didn't happen to them. They don't live with the nightmares and flashbacks that you do. Now here you are questioning yourself again - Did I do the right thing? Shouldn't I have just stayed silent? Why did I even go opening up my mouth. So you dig another hole, you bury it, and you try to forget about it again. Except this time it is that much more difficult.
This acts as a vicious cycle until you SILENCE yourself completely - or you start SPEAKING out until someone hears you. You have already unearthed it and it's like you are standing on sinking sand - there are so many holes now that you have nothing solid to stand on. So, now you have the option - you can either sink down into the dark abyss or you can start screaming and clawing your way out.
Which will it be?
You must speak - if you don't you will die. Maybe not die literally, but you sure as hell will die figuratively. When there is nothing but the shell of you left going through the motions because you cannot give a glimpse of any emotion without letting all the emotion in and out - you are stuck in this awful land of nothingness.
Ultimately, when you tell the truth it will hurt someone, but it won't hurt you because you are a SURVIVOR. You should not be silenced by the fear of what others will think of you, what they will make of you, or how they will treat you. You should not even be silenced by the fear of your friends or family. You sure as hell should not be silenced by the fear of the one who hurt you!
You can move on, but often times victims get stuck in this vicious cycle and cannot break free. The trick is not moving on, but it's moving on and moving forward. I know that may sound ridiculous, but it is true. You can say you are moving on, but you find yourself living in the past, focused on the past, or not able to look toward the future. You have to move on and move forward. You have to take a step toward the opportunities of the future. In order to do that you have to become a SURVIVOR, not a victim! A victim is someone who relishes in the incident, in the pain, in the past. A survivor is someone who is stronger, healthier, better.
Don't get me wrong - everything is always easier said than done, but can you imagine what the weight of the world feels like? Now, imagine no weight.
Speaking out does not mean that you have to tell a group of people, it doesn't mean you have to speak at a conference or share the news with strangers, it doesn't even mean you have to tell your BFF. What it does mean is that you have to talk to someone - whether that be a stranger, your BFF, a counselor, a doctor, a family member. Someone you can talk to that will have your back no matter what. They will only want to support you through your healing process and be there to see you out of that dirty nasty place.
Blank space .... Blank Slate .... Completely white ....
That is what you get when you are a survivor. A clean slate to start over again. A place where you don't have to worry about what has been or what will be and only focus on who you are going to be when you get healthy.
Nobody should ever make you feel like you shouldn't have shared your story. Nobody should ever make you feel less because something has happened to you. Nobody should ever make you feel like you should have stayed silent. But people will - because they are selfish and they don't want you to affect them. But that's what living in a community is all about - we affect each other.
No matter what - You should NEVER stay SILENT - You should ALWAYS SPEAK out. So what will you speak out about today?
I am a survivor.
We are all survivors.