Lessons I Learned (or Remembered) in 2014

Today is my 35th birthday and for the first time in a long time, I’m both humbled and grateful for my life. Nine months ago I made the difficult decision to tear my life apart, which is by far one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do. In the last nine months, as I’ve worked to rebuild my life from the ground up, I’ve had moments of doubt, fear and pain that brought me to my knees. But it has also helped me to learn and remember some wisdom, which I’m going to share with you now.

Fight with All Your Might For What You Believe In

In this difficult world, it can be hard to know what to believe in. I have learned to believe in myself, to believe in love and friendship, the innocence of children, and the future. Why? Because I will never let myself down, love and friendship heals all hurts in the most miraculous ways, children have a way of looking at the world with fresh eyes, and the future is always unknown and full of hope, even if the present and the past are dreary and filled with pain.

You May Have to Give up What You Thought You Believed In

We all make mistakes. We fall in love for the wrong reasons, trust when we shouldn’t, make mistakes and poor choices. It’s part of being human. And sometimes we have to step back and realize that in order to move forward.

Pain of Growing and Overcoming Is Always Worth it

I have worked so hard in the last nine months. There were times where the pain seemed overwhelming and insurmountable but everyday I grow stronger and better as a result. If you’re faced with making a truly difficult, life-altering change, know that it will be worth it in the end.

Angry at Perpetrators, Enablers, and Ignorance in General

I’ve had trouble logging into my WordPress site lately. I have a couple different sites and this seems to create a conflict with multiple logins. I almost published a post on my writer blog via my iPad that was meant for this blog (eek!) and that would not have been good. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before I published it. I’ll migrate it over once I can get the logins straightened out a little more clearly. It doesn’t help that I’m in the midst of my annual password change.

Anyway, I’m really angry at perpetrators lately. One perpetrator in particular, as well as the many enablers in our society, that are allowing his behavior to continue in the public eye without repercussions. When they should be boycotting and booing him from the stage, they are giving him standing ovations. All in the name of “innocent until proven guilty”. When did we abandon ALL common sense in this country? Did I miss the memo?

Can you guess who I’m referring to? If you immediately thought of Bill Cosby, give yourself a pat on the back. This man is a real piece of work, let me tell you. And it’s starting to get my goat. Because people are supporting him! It’s unbelievable.

For those who may not be aware or don’t have all the latest information, almost 30 women have publicly proclaimed that he assaulted them in one way or another. Many have done so anonymously and with really good damn reason. Those who have publicly revealed themselves as victims in an effort to bring some kind of justice or consequences against this man have faced a public backlash not seen since the Monica Lewinsky debacle played out on the global stage.

There are some differences, don’t get me wrong (Monica was certainly no victim but a willing participant, who was nonetheless crucified by the media instead of the responsible party, Bill Clinton, but that’s a topic for another day). Even so, the same media circus is in full display right now, with people castrating these women for waiting so long, for doing so anonymously, for having no evidence.

Have we forgotten what it means to be the victim of a crime? The perpetrator does their utmost NOT TO GET CAUGHT. This means covering up evidence, destroying evidence, manipulating the victim if necessary, and even intimidating or harassing the victim into submission.

That doesn’t even begin to deal with the emotional, physical, and mental toll being sexual assaulted takes on a woman in the first place. It’s a trauma! It’s a violation! It’s a shock! It doesn’t matter who you are, how strong you are or how well prepared you might be. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve been a victim previously. NOTHING can ever prepare you for being assaulted.

Women respond in different ways, some better than others. Some never recover, some are incapable of even acknowledging they were assaulted because it’s too horrific for them to mentally accept.

It took me 25 years to admit that I was sexually molested by my father. 25 years! When I finally acknowledged the possibility, the blow to my self-confidence and self-esteem had me in therapy multiple times that week. It wrecked my entire perspective of myself internally. I called friends and family in tears, asking them if they could still love me as the same person if they knew that my father had done that to me. I was so ashamed I called them begging for them to accept what had be done to me!

My father was already someone I believed to be a monster, who had physically and emotionally abused and neglected me my whole life. Now imagine for a moment what it would be like to be molested by someone you respect, admire and look up to? Many of these women idolized Bill Cosby, just as much as all of America did. He was the perfect gentleman, and a role model for America.

What our country and the world has forgotten is that Bill Cosby played a role in a television show, and did so admirably, but that is NOT who he really is. It’s a character he pretended to be. He played the part so very well and was so relatable, that the world began to mistakenly assume Huxtable was who Cosby really was and Cosby was Huxtable. It’s not. In fact, the reality might just be much more sinister and dark than the world can possibly accept.

So what have we done as a collective and as individuals? We denied, rejected, and placed blame on these poor women who were and are, first and foremost, victims of a terrible crime! It makes me so angry I could just gnash my teeth and scream! As a survivor, of multiple abuses and assaults, it’s what I’ve dealt with my whole life and it shows, unequivocally, just how far we have to go toward being able to understand and empathize with victims of abuse. We don’t want to admit that we could be fooled so thoroughly or that such horrible darkness can exist within those we consider to be infallible heroes.

My heart breaks for those poor women. I cannot imagine how hard this must be for them. The powerlessness, the hopelessness, and the pure injustice of it all. Some of these women are married, with children and rightfully don’t want to subject their families to this pain. What a heavy burden to bear! These women aren’t getting rewarded, they’re suffering. Many of them are just trying to do the right thing, and prevent more victims.

I, for one, applaud their courage. I’m not sure I would be able to have the strength to do it myself. Even now, almost twenty years later, I still generally use euphemisms and vague terms to describe my abuse. I prefer the term survivor rather than victim as it puts the power in my hands, instead of the perpetrator’s. But as a society, we have got to stop blaming the victims and starting putting the blame where it belongs! And if Cosby is a criminal, then that’s where the blame belongs.