Lakota, German, Muslim-our pain is the same.

You are here, reading my blog.  I hope you are able to open some conversations, because of it!  Whether you are a survivor of any kind of abuse, or someone who cares about us; welcome and thank you for being here.  Let’s make it better for our sons, daughters, neighbors children, grandchildren; let’s talk…..

I was searching for articles on forgiveness, insight I could share with you and I found this Native American Legend.  It is incredibly powerful and describes this young woman’s feelings of guilt and how she comes to forgiveness.  I found the legend on several sites, so feel comfortable sharing it with you.

We have shared stories.  Your story and my story may be very different, yet they are the same.  The emotions and even consequences to everyone are the same.  I forget that sometimes, so I have to remind myself..

I hope relating to Black Corn helps your journey as you find empathy with hers.

BLACK CORN
A Lakota Legend
There once was a woman called Black Corn. She lived in a village surrounded by incredible beauty. There was beauty in the forest, in the plains, in the sky above and the earth below. Black Corn was very tall, taller than all of the other women of her village, indeed, taller than most of the men as well. Strong of limb she was and fair to see. Yet deep within were hidden deeper waters, roiling with discontent and….. Well, no one really knew what else, not even she.

Black Corn was very unhappy, she had so much love to give, yet could not seem to find the one to give it to. All she wanted to do is love someone and have someone love her. She loved her People dearly and did all she could for them, even to the point of sacrificing her own wants to help her People.

Many Gifts she had been given by Wakan Tanka, but could not seem to find them when she needed them the most. She was taunted by many for things she could not understand, she began believing, at first resistantly, then willingly that the lies and the actions were deserved. When she would gaze upon her image in the still waters of the pond, she would think “you are too direct, too tall, too strong, too much… well, too much everything! You have too much passion, too much love, too much… well, too much everything, and no one wants what you have to give!”

Yet the love she held inside for all the People was full to bursting within her breast and all she wanted was someone who would accept her love. All she wanted was for the People to accept her love and what she could give them. Down and down she went with no one to love, no People who wanted her love, or so she thought.

Then, one day, after a particularly difficult incident, she awakened as if from a dream and thought to herself “Why is it this way? What did I do that was so awful that I should be treated in this manner?” Deep inside herself she looked for an answer to these questions. Deeply, beyond all of the hurt, all of the pain that had been put upon her, behind the men who had used her without her consent, and eventually, as her self-respect dwindled, with her consent. So many judgments had been passed on her but none so harsh as what she had passed upon herself.

The deeper she looked, the uglier it became, and the faster the anger rose until it was full-blown rage. White hot the rage burned and coursed through her body. Blindingly it raged, but this too was another illusion. Yes, the rage was a deception, a shield to protect her from what laid beneath.

Finally she could hide no longer behind the rage and the sorrow that she had desperately tried to hide over the years. It came at her like a tidal wave and she stood defenseless in its path. She no longer had the strength to fight; nothing left to stem the flood, so she stood helpless in its path, no shield to protect her any longer.

Out she ran into the forest, hearing the tiny voice inside screaming in agony, dying, dying, dying, screaming NNNNNOOOOOOOOoooooooo… and she just knew that all she had ever thought that she was slowly dying a painful death. Finally, she could help herself no more and cried out in anguish, clutching at the pain in her breast, feeling herself slipping away. She cried out, in full voice, which held all of the pain and agony, begging, at her most pitiful for Wakan Tanka to take her away from this pain.

“Please, please Wakan Tanka, Tunkasila, I can bear this life, this pain, no more, it is too much, Please, please, take me home, please let me have peace!” And when she had finished crying out these words and prayers, and all of the ugliness that was inside her had been given voice, the sound so awful to hear that not even the animals or birds made a sound out of respect for her pain, she lay herself down on the damp sweet smelling forest floor. Her soul ripped open and flayed a bloody mess before her and before the Creator, she finally saw the truth.

It began when she was 7 summers old; she would go into the forest to play. One day a strange man came upon her and began to speak with her. His words were intriguing and he spoke of grown-up things that she liked to hear about. Eventually this stranger seduced her as a child, and as a child, not knowing any better, had allowed it. Many years would pass before Black Corn realized what had been done to her, and when she did realize, she issued a judgment so severe upon herself that she began to believe that she was unworthy of love. She lost all respect for herself and, indeed, this is what she projected unknowingly to everyone she came into contact with. The voices of the others that would taunt her were really reflections of her own voice within that she could not, until now, listen to.

In that moment of her defeat, laying on the forest floor, she began to see with clarity what was that made the People treat her as they were, and with that knowing, she began to cry, great heart wrenching cries that tore at the very fabric of her soul and thus began the cleansing process from within. She found that while she had forgiven that strange man his trespass against her, she had never forgiven herself for her part in it, she had never taken responsibility for it either, preferring to live in a fantasy in her mind that she had been the victim, all the while feeling the guilt of the participant. There had been one other who had used her in this fashion, a relative, who did not know of the first stranger. But by then, the damage to her soul had been done and, while not realizing why it was so, she allowed herself to be degraded even more by this second man.

After that, there was no room for self-respect or self love, feeling as she did that she was unworthy for the things she had done.

After the sobbing had subsided, Black Corn began to feel differently, having accepted everything that was ugly inside of her, she began to heal. Finally, after all of these years. It took a long time, but finally she was able to forgive herself as well as forgive those who took her unfairly and in bad faith, took her innocence and made something ugly out of it, all the while accepting her own responsibility in it as well. Finally she was able to forgive herself. With that forgiving, there was now room for love; all of the love she wanted to give the People was the love that she had been denying herself. Once she could learn to love herself and accept herself, she could also love the People much more than she ever thought possible, and the People rejoiced!

You see, they had always loved Black Corn, but because she did not love herself, she could not see this, she would not ever have seen it if she had not asked herself “why am I being treated this way”. The answer was within her all the time…. This was Wakan Tanka’s answer to her prayers; this was his gift to her.

Peace.

I should have…..

I watched the TV show Mom the other night.  Her daughter, in her drug and alcohol days, had been raped.  She went to an AA meeting, only to see her attacker there, which brought everything back, including guilt.  She apologizes to all women for not telling.  Thinking about it had me considering what my options could have been, should have been..

There is always guilt in our life isn’t there?  That moral compass that keeps us, at least, trying to head in the right direction.  You hear the stereotypes about the Jewish mother or Catholic mother guilting their children into behaving well.  I was a Lutheran and tried it as well!  OY!  It doesn’t work!, so why do we allow it to work on us.  We apply the guilt….I should have said no, I should have fought harder, I should have told more people, I should have…I should have….

In researching forgiving ourselves, I have found there are some wonderful blogs and websites to help you with some answers.  Dr. Wayne Dyer’s books helped me through some dark times, and he is still relevant today.  His website is drwaynedyer.com  If forgiving yourself is something that is plaguing you, take a look at his writings.  He is pretty commercial, but his wisdom may help.  Mindbodygreen.com also has an article entitled, “10 Ways To Forgive Yourself & Let Go Of The Past”.  Number four from the article hit me the strongest, “Realize you did the best you could at the time.”

For whatever reason; age, mental condition, physical condition, family dependencies, faith justifications,…….we did the best we could at the time.  Would we change some things now, do some things differently?  Probably..but we are different people now than we were.  We are STRONGER!

The article also talks about cutting yourself some slack.  My partner, who happens to be my husband, gives me a hard time about not being able to take the day off.  Do nothing!  I feel guilty!  My mom used to write me letters filled with all of the things she was doing on a daily basis…She could get stuff done.. I have a sister who works at the same energy level..I am amazed at what they can get done, and fill guilty that I get half as much done in a day…. Why?

Think about what you contribute, to the world, your family, your job.  It’s not the same as what someone else does; it may be more, it may be less, but it’s you.  You in all of your gloriousness.  It’s you..  No more should’ve.  No more guilt.  You, me, we; we all did the best, and continue to do the best we could and we can…

Peace

It’s not your fault

A secret, we all keep it a secret; to protect a family, to protect ourselves, to hide our shame.  I remember telling one person when I was six.  We had got wet from the snow, in the school yard and we were sent in to the classroom, to put on the dry clothes the teacher kept for just this occasion.  I don’t remember exactly what I said to her, my play ground friend, but I will forever remember the look on her face.  I didn’t tell anyone else for twelve more years.

My abuser was eventually arrested.  He decided to come clean to a counselor, which is the bit of credit I give him and probably the only reason I can teeter totter back and forth with forgiveness (I know! that word again!!).  When the arrest occurred I very slowly began to come out more and more, with the facts of my abuse.

Talking about “it” was and is still interesting, rape, molestation, pedophilia….. Let’s sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk about those subjects! It’s a little different than sharing golf scores or recipes! 🙂  The positives were that several times when I talked about “it”, someone would say to me, “Something similar happened to me too.”  It was eye opening.  It’s not just me!  It’s not just my family affected! You can google statistics and probably already have; It’s not just you, it’s us..

I need to share this story with you because some of you may identify with it.  I was in a Homemakers group sponsored by an Extension Office.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are, or at least were popular in rural areas, I think as a resource for wives to exchange ideas and have a chance for a social life.  We often had speakers who showed us a craft idea, how to bake something, or to maybe speak about growing a garden or planning a flower bed.  I was the youngest in the group, with many of the members, in their fifties.  One day we were discussing possible subjects for the coming year, speakers we could invite, and/or talents we could share.  I suggested we have a speaker talk to us about the affect and statistics of sexual abuse.  I laugh now, because you could of heard a pin drop.  I looked at them and the subject was changed, and the conversation went on.  Looking back, I recall the look on their faces; some had the “what in the heck are you thinking look”, but there were a couple whose eyes showed fear.  I was not going to open the lid on that box.  I won’t open the lid on your box, it’s yours….but it’s not your fault.

Peace

Catharsis

There is a book I would like to recommend to you.  The title is “The Courage to Heal.” There is a workbook as well, but I read the book and feel like it was very beneficial.  One of the methods they suggested was writing about your abuse.  It’s a tough challenge and one you have to kind of prepare yourself for.  I don’t know if you are like me, but I tend to let things roll around in my head, tormenting me until I can be rid of them one way or another.  I use meditation and prayer to help, also talking about things helps, although it took me a long time to be willing to do that.  🙂

I remember, distinctly remember, the night I wrote in my navy blue journal, with the pink and white flowers.  The children were with their Dad, and that night was the night I had set aside.  It was about 10:00, when I finally sat down in the orange rocking chair, that I had nursed all three children in, my safe chair.  I opened the journal and begin to write.  The tears ran down my cheeks so freely, I couldn’t have stopped them as they dripped on the pages.  Words smeared as I wrote.  I tear up now remembering.  I wrote about four pages, closed the book and sighed.  I was better.  It sounds bizarre and simplistic, but I was better.  It was my beginning.

Catharsis (according to Wikipedia):  “is the purification and purgation of emotions-especially pity and fear-through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration.

Through out the years I have used and suggested similar exercises.  I taught a middle school writing course and one of our activities was a type of catharsis.  We wrote down things we had done wrong, or things that were done to us, and burned them in a coffee can, behind the school.  No one, not even me!, knew what was written.  We stood around the can and watched the paper turn to ash, poured water on it, and went inside and celebrated with S’mores made in the microwave.

I had a very good friend who witnessed the end result of his mother’s death.  He was plagued with the memory and pictures he couldn’t get out of his head.  I suggested catharsis to him.  He told me a couple of years later, that he had found the pictures he had drawn in the back of his closet.  He seemed to think it helped.

I have my journal; it’s in a box, in a closet.  If for some reason, I need to recount something, I could find it and read it, but if that never happens I am allowed to let it fade into something that doesn’t haunt me as much and I move forward in the renewal and restoration of my soul.  🙂

Peace

Enjoy the Road

I have long identified with this poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sometimes we were given a choice which road to take and sometimes we were encouraged or darn right pushed down a road, so what do we do now?  We can survive and thrive begrudgingly, or with joy.  Regardless of the road we are traveling it helps to breathe the air, look at the stones, the leaves, hear the birds and the other sounds of life.  Enjoy your road; it’s your choice, and it’s now your road, regardless of how you got here.

Peace

Forgiveness; slow but sure

I know right?  Hit you with this?  I had just separated from my children’s father, when a church brochure came in the mail.  The Bible verse was Mathew 6:14.  There are many versions of Bible interpretations, but the gist of it is this, “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”   I stared at it for minutes… I thought, ” Why am I getting this reminder now, and how will I ever be able to forgive?  How?”   I knew, however, that I have my own sin; I have had to ask for forgiveness and when you are in that position you hope you are forgiven.  Selfishly I knew I had to try, for my own sake, so that I could be forgiven.

If you are familiar with Budha at all, there is a story where Budha asks, “What’s next.”  It is a story about forgiveness, so I am asking you, “What’s next?”

Here’s what I want you to know: forgiveness isn’t for the abuser, it’s for the survivor.  Forgiveness takes a piece of dark energy away from you; it helps you.

My forgiveness has been a process, for years it was something I thought about.  No, I didn’t just jump on the forgiveness bandwagon, I didn’t think I could and even today I feel like I have, but there are days when I fall back.  The reason I’m bringing it up now, at the beginning of our blog relationship, is so you have time to think about it, to let your soul speak to you, but you hopefully understand that this is your journey.  Yours…..

Peace

 

Why you? Why me?

This is the post excerpt.

Most of my life I have wondered why I was molested as a child.  As I have grown older, there is an acceptance that I will never know or understand, but I do know and understand this:  I have survived and I can support you in your growth and survival as well.  I want you to know that if you have been sexually assaulted in any way, by anyone, and if you are a survivor, you have found a home on this page.  If you are male, female, African American, Native American, Norwegian, gay, straight, Catholic or Muslim and have been sexually assaulted, you have found a home on this page.  Welcome fellow Survivor!!

It’s important for you to know that I’m not a victim.  I don’t have a big chip on my shoulder and I do my darndest to make sure I don’t treat anyone else as a victim or victimize others by bullying, judging etc.  I will not become my abuser.  I will not….  This blog is not for judgement.  I think those things are left to a higher power, who I call God.  I understand that your higher power may have another name, or maybe your life experiences have led you to believe you don’t have a named higher power; it’s ok for us to be different, to embrace our differences!  You have a home on this site.

I’m not perfect; I will make writing errors, I will have opinions different than yours, and I may say something inadvertently that is hurtful.  Always come back to this statement, “I only want to support the survivor in you.”  Anyone not supporting each other as a survivor will not be allowed on the site.  The plan is to provide research and insight into ways to grow stronger!

Peace..

 

 

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