(This post follows a similar format to “What I Do Know” and “Healing Started (Even Though It Didn’t Feel Like It)”. Read those, too, if you want, because they’re both incredible.)
I know how it started.
I remember being five years old in a basement. My friend told me to take my clothes off. His eyes darkened. It wasn’t a question. Discomfort and pressure: This was the climate of our relationship. I stood entirely still as I removed them slowly.
Footsteps. Intruder. The end.
I kept this to myself until months later when a different incident occurred. Sitting criss-cross applesauce in the grass, our mothers asked us whose idea it had been.
I know how it started. We made eye contact, and his eyes darkened again. I claimed his idea as mine. A spirit of self-blame entered me. A lie that had a spiral effect on my life. A lie I’ve regretted ever since.
I was only five.
I know how it started. I was anxious and afraid. Threatened by the world around me. Gnawing at my fingernails with my doors locked. Abusers, robbers, kidnappers. Slides hurting me, dogs eating me, buildings falling on top me. The whole world was all too much.
I know how it started. I was watching pornography in the single digit years old. Raised for purity but feeling the opposite. A mouth silenced by secrecy with a mind searching for answers. Curiosity for sin may not have killed me, but it sure did bind me tight.
I didn’t always connect these things.
My freshman year of high school, I volunteered for a service project at a clothing bank. Having sat down in a quieter room for a minute, one of the workers came over and sat on top of me. He grinded on me until another worker walked in and yelled at him for it. It was this situation that revealed to me something I had not known and did not like: I didn’t know how to speak up for myself.
I didn’t like what he was doing, but I hadn’t simply told him to stop, because I could not physically get out the word “Stop.”
That terrified me.
I wanted to be in control of myself — so I took control of myself.
I know how it started. It was in my tight handling of the reigns that I led myself down a path of destruction. Going from watching pornography to broadcasting pornography. Going from hooking up with friends to hooking up with complete strangers. Allowing others to use me as an object; but greater than that, truly thinking of myself as an object.
I was treating myself like trash, but I felt reasonably in control: Until I wasn’t again.
My freshman year of college, I was sexually assaulted. I refrain from sharing the details, because I’m simply not ready to. I took on blame that wasn’t mine at 5 years old, and I’ve recently learned I’ve been doing it ever since. The more I process and work toward healing, the more I find that I still haven’t quite made peace with and forgiven myself for ending up here. That’s not a happy, perfect, full-circle statement; but I think it’s an important thing to be honest with.
See, I know how it started, but I don’t know how to pick up the pieces. I intentionally lost my virginity to a stranger in a one-night stand believing it would make me whole. If I chose to give away what I had, I would achieve power over what had been taken. It made sense then.
And it worked, I felt great: Until I didn’t.
I thought I had found the shortcut to healing until I realized I had simply done more damage. Everything worked until it didn’t anymore. Everything was the fix until I needed more.
Satan doesn’t silence for long. Every time we attempt to push him away in our own strength, he may appear as gone for a short time, but he will always come back. Nothing will truly change until we cast Him out for good, pouring God’s Truth into those painful areas.
We cannot micromanage our brokenness into wholeness.
If I am trying to dictate every aspect of my healing, I am not truly healing. Healing is not a perfect sequence of events. Healing does not look how I want it to. Healing is messy, painful, raw, and vulnerable. Healing can only be grounded in Truth.
It is the broken part of me that grasps for the reigns of my life, not the healing part. I’m not in full control of my life, and I don’t need to be. Shame is not mine to bear. Sin will never be the answer.
God is so incredibly good, and He will bring me into true healing that honors Him as I choose to let go of the reigns.
And the same for you.