I’m sitting in a Starbucks on Thanksgiving afternoon. I’m contemplating the past several weeks, months, and year of my life. It’s amazing how much has changed.
One year ago, I had to wear long sleeves to cover up the fresh cuts on my arm. One year ago, I was losing a grip on myself. I feared who I was and that I wouldn’t be alive much longer.
Nine months ago, I went on my first date in twelve years. I remember it being warm in the coffee shop and wanting to push up my sleeves but afraid that she’d see the scars and run away. Nine months ago I started a new stage in the process of learning how to be real.
Four months ago, I decided to lay out the good, bad, and ugly in one fell swoop. I would be truthful about who I am, who I was, where I’ve been, and all of my baggage. It hasn’t always been an easy decision, but it’s been a great one.
Last week I almost had a real conversation with my mom. She brought up the past… in a way that makes me wonder if she actually knows about the abuse that I tried so hard to shelter her from. I considered admitting it. Instead, I changed the conversation and then hung up the phone.
Why, after so many years would I tell her?
My therapist, Kim, keeps alluding to the need to tell her in order to heal and get rid of these flashbacks. I constantly spout off logical reasons as to why that’s ridiculous. Granted… she went to school to know about this kind of thing… and I went to school to know about cars… but still… we both fix things, so I’d say that our opinions have equal weight in this subject. But still… I never would have even considered telling her before hand… maybe Kim is on to something.
As I type this, my sleeves are pushed up and I can still see stripes across my arms from a year ago, but I’m not ashamed of them. They remind me of how far I’ve come. They remind me that there is Grace. There is Hope. They remind me that God has a plan for me. They remind me that I can make it through anything. I can make it through three years of abuse. I can make it through. I can make it through. No. I won’t just make it through, I won’t just survive. I will thrive. I will grow. I will evolve. I will change. I will be happy. I will find joy – even in the pain.