It is never made up. Know that as you roll it around, try it on, create different adjuncts, scenes and scenarios that you play again and again and over and over to to prove how you caused it.
You didn’t cause it.
You have begun a pilgrimage. Discernment is your new best friend. Hold it tight, learn its ways, become its master so it can lead you to liberation.
Accidents happen often on pilgrimage: be sure to notice each. Many teach. With discernment honed sharp, you will distinguish the teachers from the lies. The road will be less tough as your discernment grows…but don’t think for a moment it won’t be tough, even tougher than what you have already faced.
Steel is forged.
You have made your choice. You have let D and even us in, a first step toward being free. I made that same choice long ago, to erase the pain alive instead of dead. Even today, I could not tell you why. But it was my choice.
There is always blood. Every time. Literally and figuratively. I learned that the literal blood wasn’t nearly as awful as the figurative. The blood stained everything inside of me and out: every relationship, every dream, everything thought, everything good and everything bad. I believe that’s why I began to desire to see it, taste it, to draw it from myself. That gave me a warped and ruined since of power: it was my blood, after all. In my nightmares I drew his, my rapist’s blood, in ways I thought I couldn’t, wouldn’t. Violence scared me more than him. Surely, I couldn’t own any. Bless me for I have sinned.
Now I own everything cuz I am who I am and it is the good and the bad of me that make me who I am.
Someone told me once that men don’t like to say that they were raped. Hey, neither do women, but I got the point. My advice, for which I know you haven’t asked? Call it what it is and do the same with everything. You will find your way to Santiago de Compostela much faster being unerringly, painfully honest with yourself.
I, too, remember everything, even now, so very many years later. Even now that I am healed. Even now that I love myself. Even now that I have forgiven myself for something I never even did. But there’s a difference: now remembering is rare and it doesn’t hurt or scare me. The memories are mine, parts of me. They or he do not own me: I am not triggered by your masterful work.
I am free to be amazed at your courage, awed by your intimacy, thrilled you are working to be liberated.
We share a horror, a beginning story but your pilgrimage will be your own. Uniqueness is beautiful and one of the very many reasons you are beautiful.
We don’t heal linearly or all at once.
Empty won’t fill overnight and often, at first and then less and less often, empty will fill and empty again, but you, my friend, if I may call you that, will heal and by that I mean you will stop thinking of it every moment and it will stop devouring you, stop owning you. You will stop wanting to die. The bitterness will begin to taste a little different and one day it will even taste sweet. And you will realize that you are smiling at nothing at all except that you love being alive. Shame will stop infecting your heart. Self-destruction will exit stage right. You will stop consciously and unconsciously destroying every relationship in which you engage.
You will even stop sabotaging you.
I ain’t no seer but I am a prophet: you will heal. The signs are there in your last paragraph. Read it often: it is a gem. There I see the warrior that I know it takes to liberate yourself from this Lucifer, demon, bogie, Old Nick, rougarou…I mean PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This will be the hardest work you have ever done.
Persevere. You are worth it.
It is all about liberation.
Innocence stolen results in PTSD. It is running your brain. It tells you lies. It is what made me ask myself what I did to deserve it and did I ask for it. Fuck no.
No one deserves it. Ever.
Discern first and always that PTSD is a liar. Learn what are its lies and what are your truths cuz it is a tricky little fellow who delights in switching faces and places and riffs so well that you’ll find yourself tapping your feet to its beat: stop it!
Here’s a secret you should know: PTSD feeds on shame. You know shame. I was a ball of it, maybe made of it and only it. I worked to keep it as secret as the rape and it bred big and bold in the dank dark place from which I thought my soul had been stolen: where I laid blame on myself.
It is about the healing, the liberation. You have been held in the dark, chained to this evil lie. Shame carried that blade we both held and that same sticky braided rope and the bottles of the pills I took with bourbon twice. Shame copulates with itself to create more of itself. It stained everything and everyone I touched. I wallowed in it.
It is about that fact that you can and will be liberated from running from the empty: I swear and I promise. It is a choice and the hardest work you’ve ever faced, looking in and deeper than most ever will, sleeping with your own shadow, admitting who you are, accepting it. The reward is a freedom most will never taste: I will toast you as you drink it down.
Nothing worthwhile come easy.
Hug that 5 year old who deserves everything good and every good thing. He always did and has and always will. He is as alive as ever. He believes his soul was stolen by by someone who didn’t even ask, who made a decision that he counted less than…than…you fill in the words cuz you know what you tell yourself.
Liberated you will be free to love yourself and then anyone and everyone fully, especially your daughter. You'll expect or want nothing in return. Love like that will allow her to grow into who she is: a gift to you both. You won’t need her love or anyone’s and she will learn from you that she is all she needs as she is.
You will save yourself.
You are not that act that happened on that awful night. You are not suicide. You are not PTSD. You are Joel, embarking on the most creative art you’ll ever construct: yourself.
You are Joel, whispered and shouted.
I’ve been where you were and where you are and where you will be probably sooner than I got here.
I am Colette. I am liberated. I am here, fearless, worn the fuck out, happy, reaching out and reaching in and being who I am: creating and full of light.
Along its way, the pilgrimage always offers sustenance from other pilgrims: I am one. I am here for you: ask for what you want from me.
The wound truly is where the light enters us.
Liberated, I now celebrate my wound.