A letter I wrote to myself for when I’m feeling down about being a survivor:
You have been through a lot. Three men had the nerve to disrespect you in the same way. Three men in three years have forgotten that your body is yours alone, and you make the rules. You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t scar you in some way.
There will be days when this doesn’t cross your mind. And there will be days when the memories can’t be held back. There will be days when a stray touch from a friend sends you spinning into a catatonic state because it feels like him. The fear is so intense that you can’t think, you can’t even think enough to remind yourself that you’re safe. Because your mind isn’t in the present, it’s living those moments again.
But please remember to count your blessings. These moments are fleeting and you will always have a friend nearby to hold you tight and remind you that no one will ever hurt you again. There will always be someone there to remind you that you are stronger than your memories, and they can only hurt you if you allow them to.
Please remember that you’re in control now. Remember that while his actions may always affect you in some way, you don’t have to hold onto the past. It’s just another part of you and deserves no extra attention. Remember that there is a big difference between visiting memories to learn from them and dwelling on them in a destructive way. You have better things to think about than wonder why he did what he did, what would happen if you saw him again or contemplating your latest trigger. You have better things to worry about than something so irrelevant. Let it be. Let the effects wax and wane. There are some things you can’t control, so don’t fret. Life goes on.
Please don’t hold onto anger. You were able to forgive the last two because they immediately showed remorse, but hating the first is only going to hold you back. I’m not asking you to forgive him, I’m asking you to be indifferent at the very least. Because that part of your life is over now. No man will ever hurt you again because you know how to draw your lines clearly and how to make sure others respect them.
You must accept that you may never get closure. Chances are he’ll never fully comprehend the magnitude of what he did to you. Even if you did confront him, it wouldn’t heal all the damage. It is a sad reality that he is capable of doing this again, but don’t put the responsibility on your shoulders.
Please remember that you have grown so much. Remember that even on the hard days, you’ve come far from where you were at the age of 18. You are self-aware and gently push yourself forward every single day. You are not so naïve anymore and you have learned to stand up for yourself. You are brave enough to tell your story. You are brave simply for facing your past continuously to try to learn from it and put it behind you.
Most of all I want you to remember that you can’t erase this experience. All we can do is move forward step by step and make the best of this.
Thank you for reading this article. You can find my backstory here.