A few years ago I went through a series of really traumatizing incidents. My sister gave me her car and the first day I was in DC with it, I went to a friend’s house and it was stolen with my new laptop inside. It was found a few days later, completely destroyed. A few months later someone tried to kidnap me while I was walking to work at 5 am on a quiet residential street in Maryland. Then a few months after that incident, a child (14-16 year old) jumped into my car at a gas station in Maryland and stole my brand new car. It was also found days later but I had already bought a new car.
Through this very tough time, I thought I was processing it all mostly because I talked about it frequently with friends and family, I kept pushing through the process and I had a positive outlook on the entire situation despite the judgment I received. People were telling me I was cursed, that I should quit school and move back home or that I needed to atone for some unknown sin.
These are some really scary incidents that some people may deal with individually at some point in their life but together and back to back, it became exceptionally difficult to feel safe. Who is my protector? I am pushing through the pain, proclaiming I am still blessed, and staying prayed up yet I am subject to these attacks. Even my own father told me that I deserved all that I was getting because I did not listen to him and decided to finish high school and go to college instead of following his plan, which is still unknown.
I had to withdraw from the noise and stop allowing people to one, blame me and two, shame me. People will tell you that you deserved things that were clearly out of your control. They will steal the victim card from you and make you out to be a villain. If you internalize these things, your mind will begin to blame and shame yourself for the actions of others. Yes, I had an older car and should have had a club steering wheel lock on. Yes, I should not have gone to a gas station so late with my roommate. Yes, I should have tried to take a safer route to work even if it took more time. But even if I had done all of those things, life still would have happened. Anything could have happened.
So many of us have dealt with or are currently dealing with some form of trauma: sexual abuse or assault, physical abuse or assault, mental abuse, sudden deaths in our families, personal illnesses or illness amongst close family members or friends, thoughts of suicide, drug abuse. Do not take responsibility for things that are out of your control. I blamed myself for being my father’s child, for deciding to move with him after growing up with my grandparents, and after staying when I should have ran away. I blamed myself for being poor and deciding to go to college, for never being able to fully enjoy my experience, for not making wise financial decisions when I took out my loans. I blamed myself for every attack that I went through during that period of time. I replayed it in my head on how I could have done things differently, what I should have done differently, why I didn’t do things differently. I blamed me and not the actual perpetrators who should have known better and who only targeted me because of my vulnerabilities.
Many of the traumas that we experience in life are inflicted onto us by others. Some of us do not even realize the extent of the trauma and endured it, or suppressed it and many of us have never even healed from it. The lack of healing causes us to drag much of the wrongly placed guilt and shame on ourselves into the future. Although we may not be able to prevent every traumatic incident, we can take control and get help. Seek professional counseling, avoid those who attempt to blame you, and release the guilt that comes with self-blaming. We are powerful and resilient. Our bodies continuously regenerate new cells that replace those old cells that help us to heal internally and externally. Although the scar remains and the memory exists, the pain and past does not have to control our present or our future.
I share my story to let you now that the road is never easy. We all go through somethings as we walk through this life’s journey but through it all you have to remain steadfast and unmovable because YOU WIN when you don’t give up. I won. She, Me, Her WON. Get help. Start to heal. Be blessed. Be you. Do you. Live in your truth. Tell your story. On your own terms.