You can grow a lot in a year.
This time one year ago, I was an emotional wreck. To be fair, I'm always an emotional person, but this was different. Three weeks earlier I had uncovered memories I had repressed of being sexually abused for a period of six months when I was 8/9. It left me feeling confused.
On one hand, I had struggled with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, and quite frankly, had an unhealthy relationship towards intimacy. I had this strong feeling that there was a piece of myself I was missing when I looked back at my life experiences it was as if there were these black holes in my timeline. So, when the memories came flooding into my consciousness, it filled in the blanks that I desperately wanted to find.
But, on the other hand, it triggered an emotional warfare that was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression and fending off flashbacks was a daily occurrence.
I felt whole but violated. I wanted to feel safe and protected as my rational self knew I was, but all I felt was exposed and vulnerable. I felt disgusting, useless, worthless, and broken.
But you see, I wasn't broken. For the first time in 15 years, my psyche was intact. There were no hidden memories, no stifled feelings, no jumbled realities, there was just the truth. And if it weren't for my faith, I shudder thinking what would have become of me. It's an unexplainable feeling, being confronted with the reality of your trauma that you've kept buried for so long. But knowing God is ALWAYS with me, supporting me and seeing me along this journey, is why I was able to get up and keep going every single day... Even though there were countless days where I felt completely empty.
Flash forward a year and my abuser finally has a court date. Although my case missed the statute of limitations by three months, the brave young man who came forward in 2017 will get her sent away for 10-15 years. She pled guilty in court yesterday to raping a person under 13 years of age while she was over 18. Although some media outlets decided to describe the period of rape as a "relationship," the sane people of this world know a nearly 40-year-old woman forcing herself on a 12-year-old boy is not a "relationship." No. That is rape.
I did not attend the court appearance. It was my first full day covering the news at the radio station I work at, and I had no interest in skipping a full day of reporting to watch her feign remorse. My parents, however, did attend. And she had the audacity to say "hello" to my mother, and although the courtroom was completely empty, decided to plop herself down right in front of my parents.
The morning of her appearance, I had completely forgotten that it was happening. I already knew I wasn't going, and as I so easily do with things relating to my abuse, I just shoved it aside. That morning, my Dad texted wishing me good luck for the day and that he loved me, and then I remembered she was in court that morning. But my first three newscasts were due, so I focused, wrote, voiced, and sent them out.
My mom called after it ended to let me know what happened. For the next half hour, I was pretty shaky and nauseous. But, I had a lot of work ahead of me, so I asked God for strength and pushed through.
And you know what? I crushed those newscasts, I didn't cry, I didn't throw up, I persevered. When I got home, I admittedly felt off. But when I came home, I belted my heart out to random songs, turned to my online support network of true crime loving survivors, and had a wonderfully relaxing evening with my husband.
In two months, my monster will be abolished from my closet. She will be sent and locked away for a good chunk of time, allowing me to grow stronger with each passing day. So when she eventually comes out from the shadows, it will have no effect on me.
I'm glad I was working the day she pled. I knew that it would do nothing for me to watch her stroll into court, and then march right back out. No, what is important to me is getting to see her shackled in handcuffs, and lead off to prison.
I have no doubt that deep down she knows why my parents were there. Whether she's a complete sociopath who knows what she did and doesn't give a crap one way or the other about it, or she's in complete denial of the atrocities she's committed and in her sick mind believed she did nothing wrong, she knows what she did to me. So saying "hello" to my mother, who was most likely shooting fireballs with her eyes, was a big "screw you."
Even though these last 48 hours have been a lot emotionally, I'm doing really well. I just celebrated two years of marriage, I'm loving my two new jobs, and my abuser is only free for two more months. I have my whole life ahead of me, and as I look back over the past year I'm proud of the progress I've made.
So thank you, Jesus, for this year of growth.
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