Updated: Dec 20, 2019
When I met Richard, I was 19 years old. It was less than a year and a half after my rape and I had not dealt with a single thing. I was still in turmoil. Still believing that I didn't need anyone to help me get through this. I was ready for my life to change but I wasn't coping with my trauma in any way. So, of course, I did the rational thing and moved out of my parents' house, into my own
apartment, and went back to school.
There were days I couldn't even get myself out of bed let alone attend my classes. I isolated myself. I wanted to be alone but yet I was so desperate for someone to be there, next to me, telling me that it was going to be alright. Richard became the hero of my story. He showed me what love was. Allowing him to love me, helped me to love who I was at that moment.
It wasn't until years later after we were married and had a couple of kids, that I was truly ready to begin the deep healing process that my body craved desperately. For years, I just pretended that everything in my life was okay. I mean why would it not be? I had 2 beautiful children and I was married 8 years at that point. On the outside, my life seemed great.
Over the years, the fractures inside were getting bigger and bigger. I would ignore them. Secretly hating myself in ways that the outside world couldn't see. Crying in the dark when everyone else was sleeping. Repeating awful words over and over again in my head, believing them to be true. I put a smile on my face and fought the truth inside. Truly believing that if I didn't acknowledge the pain, the darkness, or the cracks, they would disappear on their own.
Sharing my story was something I never talked about with Richard. It was a topic that we avoided. We never brought up my past. Our marriage was not perfect. Our relationship was not perfect. Going into a marriage broken isn't the easiest thing but over the years we have grown to love each other in a deep and meaningful way. I was still missing something. I had this feeling of lack in my life. That I was never going to be good enough. That the part of me that was destroyed was eating away at all the good parts of who I was. I was unrecognizable to myself. I didn't want that anymore.
So I decided to share my story. Decided that it was now or never and for my sanity and my kids' benefits, I really needed it to be now. I wanted to be a better mom, a better wife, and a better woman. I wanted to be happy and content with who I was because of my past.
There is a part of me that wonders if I should have asked his permission. Should I have talked to Richard first about opening up about my past? How much of my story is his?
He walked into my life knowing my past but no one else did. Was it fair for me to put him in that position? As I sit every night writing my book, I wonder the same things. Does he want me to share this painful part of my life? What are his thoughts? Will it affect him in any way as I go through this healing process?
Some of these questions I am sure can be answered but other ones it will take time to know what the answers truly are. The biggest question that comes to mind though is, would I have not told my story if he wasn't ready?
This I am not sure of.
I do know that my life was saved because I told my story. I gave myself permission to be messy, complicated, and broken. I embraced myself as a whole. My words healed my and other women as the years went on. My story became a part of me that was visible instead of hiding in the shadows as if it was wrong. My story is who I am and despite not knowing how much of my story is his, I know that my story belongs to me and deserves to be shared.