I am not sure how to begin writing. The perfectionist in me wants to ensure I sound eloquent, creative, interesting, and intelligent. The voice in my head is telling me that nothing I write will be good enough. It will not have any value so why even bother. The voice is telling me I will fail. The fear of failure is paralyzing. It keeps me stuck.
I cannot promise that my blog will be a work of art. However, I can promise it will be honest and authentic. I am writing this blog for myself. I am writing in order to process and heal from my trauma.
In the fall of 2009, I was a junior in college. I was obsessed with the idea of getting into medical school and becoming a physician. I needed more volunteer experiences to improve my chances of being accepted. At the time, I was volunteering at a suicide hotline, big brother big sister, a hospital, and with habitat for humanity. For me, the next logical volunteer experience was with the local YWCA as a sexual assault advocate.
The 40-hour training on sexual violence was filled with statistics, research, and information on sexual violence. Additionally, it provided training on how I, as a sexual assault advocate, could help individuals that had experienced sexual violence. As a volunteer sexual assault advocate, I answered a hotline for survivors of sexual violence and accompanied women to the hospital after an assault. I was passionate about the work I was doing to help these women and devastated that there was a need for this service.
The training and volunteer work opened my eyes to the horrors and detrimental effects of sexual violence. Consequently, it also brought back the deeply buried memories of my own abuse. During one of the classes we were given an assignment to depict a road map of our life. On a large poster board I mapped out significant events in my life both good and bad. This included the typical stuff such as birth, graduating high school, moving, and starting college. It also depicted a sexual assault I experienced at the age of 17. I stood up to present my poster board to the class. I had left significant amounts of my childhood blank and skimmed over it as I was presenting. As I looked at the blank section of my board that stood for ages 9ish through 11ish a heavy darkness came over me and I was briefly unable to speak. I quickly completed my presentation and returned to my seat. Once in my seat I began sobbing.
The memories came back in pieces. Along with this new realization that what he did was wrong. The pain, guilt, and shame consumed me. These memories and emotions that my brain kept hidden from me were being ripped from their deep hiding place and pulled into my conscious awareness. It was unbearable and I began spiraling into a deep depression.