A lot of us have deep, dark secrets – the things in the shadows of our minds that we don’t want anyone else to know. I used to hide those shadows from not just others, but also myself! I no longer do that.
There are survivors of cancer and other diseases, survivors of drug addiction, etc. I’m a survivor too. I am a two-time rape victim, drugged and gang rapped the first time and snatched off the street and raped the second time. And something, I don’t know what, but something happened to me when I was five.
I developed a very powerful phobia of being alone in any place when I was a teenager. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. I buried those feelings and that tremendous fear and continued on with my life. I had learned somehow that you don’t talk about pain, fear and things that bother you. Eventually, when I got my own apartment, the phobia became overwhelming and unbearable. I always had roommates just so I wouldn’t be alone.
My first marriage ended violently behind drugs and enabling. My childhood, though full of love, also had its issues.
I had two miscarriages – one where I lost a five month old son. My son Brandon died from crib death when he was 12-days-old. My son Gyasi was only a pound and a half when he was born and spent three months in the hospital as an infant.
All of these things were devastating when they happened. I am grateful to still be here and I am grateful to have overcome. I share these things because sometimes not so pleasant things happen in life but we have to embrace the experiences, acknowledge them, overcome them and learn the spiritual lessons behind them. I didn’t do it alone though. Several years ago the traumatic end of my marriage got me into therapy. I was fortunate to be able to work with Dr. David Russell. Session after session, we chiseled away at the painful memories and the not so healthy behavior and patterns that developed as a result of them. I also learned how to cry in those sessions. Prior to that, I maintained the mindset that there’s no such thing as emotional pain and would just “suck it up” and keep moving. I never cried.
My subconscious response to rape was to become a total control freak. I had no idea that’s who I was but – that’s who I was. I respect my ex-husband now that I look back at my behavior (which was in fact bizarre) for putting up with me for as long as he did (18 years!). Though he was not without sin, I know I did my share of damage to our relationship.
So the secrets are out and are no longer secrets. I won’t hold anything in anymore. I will tell on it, speak on it so that I can embrace it and let it go. The memories of my past contributed to who I am. I will share whenever appropriate to help another woman to move forward. I hope I will inspire her to share her pain so that she can also heal. When we are in the midst of a crisis, it seems unbearable. But, if we take advantage of time and use it to heal ourselves, we can emerge from those experiences healthier, happier and more whole.