It’s Your Story

A few weeks ago Aaron over at Weapon-Blog asked me to write a guest post for his blog. 

Last night I got an email from a lady who read the post and wanted to share some thoughts with me.  She had a bad guy encounter.  A very bad guy encounter and while she had shared part of the story with people, she had not shared all of it.  She didn’t know why, but for some reason, she kept it to herself.  She said when people would ask her and she didn’t tell them everything she would feel guilty, like she was lying.  She said she felt comfort when she read my post because she realized there were parts of my story I hadn’t shared with people.  It was like it was OK for her to not tell everyone or anyone every detail.

I want to explain a little about my story.  Right after the indecent happened my thoughts were on protecting my daughter and staying calm.  I came home to just my son. He is a grown man, but I still felt a need to protect him and my daughter from the ugliness that happened. I was shaken, I had some scraps, but nothing that screamed I have been attacked.  Every ounce of my energy was on staying calm, so I didn’t scare my daughter.  I acted like nothing happened and only shared the bare minimum with my son.  Surviving and moving on were my goals, period. After a while, it just became my story.  I don’t think I consciously decided not to tell every detail, but looking back I can see that how I was raised, who I had become influenced my silence. Up until a few weeks ago, I really rarely, if ever thought about that day, but one night at dinner, my 8 year old started talking about the day.  She had seen way more than I had realized.  She saw mommy fall and she saw the bad guy hurt me.  I never knew.  She described him to a T and then she started to bring out pictures she had being drawing…monster like figures with the same blond hair and creepy eyes of that man.  The eyes were unbelievably accurate. I had without realizing it made her be silent.  I didn’t talk about it, so she didn’t.  She needed to talk about it and so we did, we do. The little break down a few weeks back, this was the catalyst(which I also didn’t share with anyone).  Her dinner revelation, her pictures, her words(which I will not share now and maybe never, that’s her story to tell or not), I had no choice, but to tell the rest of the story. Once I told the story, it wasn’t so bad, so I felt comfortable sharing on a grander scale.

It’s funny because my son would always say, at least he didn’t get you on the ground, you did good and each time, I wanted to say, but “he did”, but each time I said nothing.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know why.  I could probably psychoanalyze it, but here is what I have come to learn these past few months…it doesn’t matter why.

This is my story.  It happened to me.  It effected my family and my friends, for sure, yes, it did, and it hurt them to watch me hurt, but I had to do what I had to do to not let it beat me.

My brain is my my brain.  It helped me handle what I could handle when I could handle it.  I can look back over the past 11 months and say I would have changed this or that and I most certainly would do things so much differently, but here’s is the deal…I did what I could do and I it didn’t beat me.

I was able to use whatever coping skills I had along with the love and support of my family, friends, and this community, to survive and flourish. That’s a win.

So, here is my lesson to anyone who is trying to heal…IT’S YOUR STORY.  Tell whoever you want or no one at all.  Tell them as little or as much as you want. Just because you have a blog or a FaceBook or a friend, doesn’t mean you have to tell anything to anyone you don’t want to tell.

I read a quote on the Cornered Cat’s FaceBook page a while ago and I think applies not only to right after the attack, but to the healing part as well.

“Just so you know, there is no way you can feel about the event that will feel right or comfortable. If you are elated (the battle joy is very real) during or after, you will feel guilty and think there is something wrong with you. If you feel guilty, you will berate yourself for the stupidity of feeling guilty when you had no choice… If you feel nothing, you will wonder what kind of a monster you might be.  

“There is no right way to feel about an that wasn’t ‘right’ by any normal frame of reference…. Whatever you felt, that was the emotional trigger that got you out alive. You don’t need any more justification than that.” ~ Rory Miller in _Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected

Whatever you are feeling and however you choose to handle it, is the right way.  It’s your story to tell or not.

P.S. when I say “however you chose to handle it, is the right way”, I mean as long as you are not harming yourself or others. If you are not dealing or moving forward.  If the pain is to much to handle alone, then I would suggest reaching out and letting someone help you in your process.

11 thoughts on “It’s Your Story

  1. Sometimes… with many folks, especially women… I’ve encountered and had in my NRA and CCW courses… part of the healing really comes about… when they feel empowered to prevent the hurt or potential hurt in the future…

    I’ve had several women… who over the years have taken my courses or sought my training or advice… after adverse incidents in their lives… moving from sheep to sheepdog so as to bite the wolf in the future…

    Dann in Ohio

    (sorry, couldn’t spell in my first reply…duh)

  2. This is beautiful and important. – I’m having a hard time expressing this right. This is solid advice that all women that have gone through what you have should read. Everyone should read…

  3. Well said and IMPORTANT to get this advice out… Everyone handles things differently, and spelling that out helps.

  4. I have seen a cartoon drawing of the way women’s and men’s brains are different. Women are like spagetti – everything crosses and twist together. Mens are very compartmentalized. I think (from my own experiences)that we women sometimes need to compartmentalize things to deal with them in little chunks. There is nothing wrong with this as long as nothing is intentionally blocked out.
    Now that you have worked through the experience – your little girl will also be able to work through it and be a stronger person in the long run.
    You are a good person and a great mom, this experience has only made you better at both.

  5. This is so important and such a great thing to consider. Look at me, I thought I would be the one teaching you things and I’m all learning and stuff. Wow. It’s completely true that each persons’ story is their own to tell as much or as little as they want. I think it’s therapeutic to tell your story, but at the right time to the right person. Thanks for this one, too.

  6. I believe very strongly that it’s important to tell your story, but telling it at the wrong time can be traumatic. Everyone copes differently. For me, I had to deal with things in my head before I even knew how to tell anyone else. And I had to be in a place where it was safe and I felt I wouldn’t be hurt anymore.
    Telling your story can make you feel vulnerable so it is important to have trust and safety.
    And even still, it may come out in pieces. Maybe you only feel safe enough to tell this bit. Once that is okay, the next bit can come out. Maybe you only ever tell one person. Whatever. It’s your story, no one elses. Handle it however you see fit.

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